Friday, December 2, 2011



The Psychological Roots of War  (An extract from  Peace Within Our Grasp By Crandall R. Kline Jr.)

...we know that in order for people to live together peacefully, in a civilized manner, many rules are necessary.

Man's loose interpretation of the meaning of "freedom" has contributed to his discontent. People tend to think of freedom in an absolute sense. The ultimate freedom is living on a deserted island where one has no need to be concerned about neighbors or what neighbors think. This is of course an impossible ideal in a crowded world, so we need to define freedom as it applies to living in a democracy, and this we have done (in Chapter 17). When people understand the limitations of freedom, they will not be misled by unrealistic expectations and will be more satisfied, less discontent, with all the rules of civilization.

Another crucial area where men have exaggerated ideas of liberty occurs in our understanding of sovereignty.

Accepting that other nations have equal rights is a hard pill to swallow.

People need to adopt a set of rules that they are willing to live by regardless of the nationality of the judge and jury.

To attain world peace, we need more people who are dedicated to promoting the unselfish political policies such as providing reasonable subsistence for all people.

A pleasant and orderly civilization depends on the use of force to control people in the criminal fringe who break the laws.

...firmness in guiding the child to act socially acceptable is important, but the firmness should be flexible and democratic, rather than authoritarian. Parents should also teach children to be generous and helpful. These practices lead to good self-esteem and social skills.

The urge to feel superior is so strong that people will always (almost) look for inferiors so that they can feel superior to them.

... ego's wishes for omnipotence.

Here is a list of near-absolutes which are close enough to being absolutes that they should be treated as such:
1. All men (and women) are created equal (in a political sense).
2. The basic physical needs of all people are essentially the same: continuous sources of air, water, food, shelter, space, heat and light.
3. The basic social and mental needs of all people are: being treated with respect, privacy, social communication, education, and understanding of life.
4. The moral rules for coexistence: harm no one, cooperate, help each other, and respect the laws.
5. Some crimes are more serious than others. There is a hierarchy of laws. Wisdom consists of knowing which law is superior.
6. The majority has the right to make the rules as long as the rules are not harmful to the minority.

Given these conditions, we can say unequivocally that the basic rules for peaceful coexistence are universal.

The U.N.'s Universal Declaration of Human Rights are a good description of and a good prescription for the essentials for peaceful coexistence and even universal happiness. These rights are near absolutes and should be treated as reliable aims for all cultures.

Whether we have war or peace depend on the choices made by the control or reasoning centers of the public's brains.

Desiring to help everyone in the world, believing that everyone should seek to be a "citizen of the world", is not widespread, and herein lies an impediment to creating support for the United Nations. "Citizens of the world" is not a natural, built-in emotion; it is a decision of the logic of the upper brain. For world peace, the upper brain must be in control. order is held together by mutual concerns and rational self-interest.

...criminals think differently than normal people and proposes a cure that consists of a long program of teaching the criminal to think like a normal person.

It is heartening to find that changing people's thinking and choice of action is possible.

Kids are not enticed into crime by peers; they choose the bad crowd to run with.

Addiction to crime is difficult to reject and the process is similar to that of Alcoholics Anonymous. ... "A person either shuts the door completely on crime or he does not. No middle ground exists. ..."

The criminal is completely selfish. He is the ultimate chauvinist; his wife is an object, not a partner.

For the criminal, learning how to control anger is an important part of the cure. Anger is a malignancy that must be removed. is essential for people in the diplomatic services of the government to be able to not show anger.

"In short, the change process calls for criminals to acquire moral values that enabled civilization to survive. The object is to teach them to live without injuring others."

In times of stress, nations look for the cause of their suffering. It is human nature to not blame one's self but to find a scapegoat. ... protect their self image ... the denial of reality...

... ethnocentrism, segregation of "us" and "them", is common to all human beings. People with low self esteem need someone to look down on to raise their own self worth.

Other nations are often passive, even though attempts to exert influence may require little courage or real sacrifice from them.

...people who are well adjusted and in comfortable circumstances are more likely to accept pluralism and international equality.

...the 90% who are not cohomicidal need to be active. ... "Bystanders can exert powerful influence. Bystanders... help shape society by their actions. their passivity or participation in the system they can affirm the perpetrators."

We need to promote an ethic for helping others in distress.

Connectedness that extends beyond one's groups to all human beings is an important building block of a peaceful world.

"Social change requires highly committed citizens guided by ideals. We need a vision of long-term change and specific small ways in which people can contribute."

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