Social Question

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Why violence?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (35235points) January 12th, 2011

Violence is not limited to one country. Skinheads exist all across North America and Europe.

It’s not limited to guns. A look at hooliganism can convince a person of that.

It’s not new. Tales in hieroglyphs from ancient Egypt depict wars, too.

Why do humans use violence?

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24 Answers

28lorelei's avatar

People use it to try to solve their conflicts, or so I think. Take a look at wars, for example.
People feel they are the best and feel the need to be better than everyone else, which is why we get into wars and holocaust-like genocides.

thorninmud's avatar

In many cases, it comes down to a need to feel powerful, to assert one’s will over others. If one doesn’t have the intellectual or social skills to do this in a non-violent way, then violence starts to look appealing.

Winters's avatar

Well, I would think that the age old answer to this would be something along the lines of:
I want your resources or something you have that I don’t have/have limited supply of. Sharing just won’t cut it and you’d probably not be willing to share that much if at all anyways. Thus I attack you. Or even more simply put, I’m hungry and you’re food. However, this is seen in many, if not all species.

However, being humans, we have also developed the ability to inflict harm upon each other just because we simply do not like each other, for revenge, or even for the sake of amusement.

marinelife's avatar

In a bid for power.

thorninmud's avatar

I’m reminded of this passage from Orwell’s ”1984”:

“How does one man assert his power over another, Winston?”

Winston thought. “By making him suffer,” he said.

“Exactly. By making him suffer. Obedience is not enough. Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation.”

CaptainHarley's avatar

Why violence? Because we can. ( Think about it )

Austinlad's avatar

Agree with reasons above. I think it’s also because people who use violence simply know no positive ways to express themselves, either because of poor negative influences or their own mis-wiring.

CaptainHarley's avatar


But violence is a type of self-expression… the least articulate type, but a type nevertheless.

josie's avatar

If people are unable to accept or formulate a reasonable argument, they can only apply force in order to get their way. Some forms of force are merely irresistable coercion, as used by, say, the IRS.
Some forms of force are violent, like shooting or beating.
All force is an attempt to exert one’s will in the absence of reasonable argument.

CaptainHarley's avatar


Well done! : ))

sahuleka546's avatar

Because words can’t solve everything. When a man’s made up his mind, words won’t
do crap.

CaptainHarley's avatar


True, sad but true.

TexasDude's avatar

Because it’s easy.

flutherother's avatar

I think most violence comes from fear whether reasonable or not. Fear alters our perception and makes us capable of almost anything.

tinyfaery's avatar

Testosterone poisoning.

CaptainHarley's avatar


Also true, but we don’t dare take it all away.

Nullo's avatar

Violence is a specific example of applied force solving problems. It is by no means the solution to all problems, but it has its place.
I had a co-worker once who made a game out of harassing me. It was the sort of environment where talking to the offender wouldn’t work and complaining to a manager would only reduce my standing in the sub-managerial pecking order. When one day I’d had enough, I stabbed the guy good and hard in the gut with a vacuum cleaner nozzle, and that was the end of it.

CaptainHarley's avatar

LOL! @Nullo

You sound a bit like me. Only problem with my doing that sort of thing is that if I really hurt him ( something entirely posssible ) the law would hold me accountable for using “excessive force,” especially after they found out about my military background.

incendiary_dan's avatar

People use violence because unfortunately, it works. Really well.

I can get more specific about why certain cultures are more violent than others, but I’ll refrain unless people are interested.

Nullo's avatar

@incendiary_dan There was a King Louis of France (XI, I think) who said that the easiest way to win at debate is to stick a sword into your opponent.
I’ve been looking for the exact quote for over a year now. The professor that originally aired it cannot remember having done so.

mattbrowne's avatar

Because all homo species who lived between 2,300,000 BCE and 8,000 BCE have been subjected to violent environments. Flight or fight. When flight is not an option facing a saber-toothed tiger, fight is all you got left. The best fighters had kids. The others didn’t. Fight became an integral part of the human genome. But so did altruism.

Nullo's avatar

@mattbrowne I had a professor once who made the claim – rather convincingly – that people engage in altruistic behavior for a psychological payoff. I haven’t been able to come up with a sufficiently solid counter-argument.

@CaptainHarley I was banking on the supposition that wounded pride and the same forces that prevented me from complaining to the manager would also prevent him from saying anything.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Nullo – Yes, but besides psychological payoff, I think there are other reasons as well like increasing the survival chances of a whole group in times of great danger.

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