The common rebuttal thrown back at the left is that socialist ideologies are unrealistic and that they do not fit into the parameters of human nature, that we are all innately selfish, that peace is unattainable, and that collectivist societies are an impossible goal and merely a “leftist pipe dream.” The common misconception is that violent societies are engrained into the human species, and therefore we will always be creatures of hate. We assume that because we have impulses like greed and anger that it is a precursor to our human equation. We then have duped ourselves into assuming that war and conflict is hence forth a natural occurrence within our societies and have irrationally come to the conclusion that it is an inevitable side effect of the human condition.
The fallacy is often to equate our origins with “the cave man” a popular stock character based on Neanderthals and other early Hominid and Hominin. We depict early man as the brute, the violent hunter…This is a myth. Although aggression exists within ourselves and our primate brethren, it is not a single trait or an easily described behavioural system. Despite chimpanzees being commonly aggressive, their sister species bonobos, who we share evolutionary ancestry with rarely are. Anthropologists, biologists and psychologists have recognised different behaviours and patterns of “aggression”. For example, defending yourself versus planning an attack, from mothers defending their infants, from predators chasing prey or even fear-induced aggression. There is no consistent pattern and evidence suggests that there is no real evolutionary benefit for humans today. Even when fighting, aggression plays no role in success, in fact, it would seem that the polar opposite is far more beneficial. Professionals such as boxers and mix martial artists are good because of their ability to strategically constrain their aggression in fights. Obviously we are capable of violence and aggression, but anthropologically, it is not a default within our biology. A majority of neuroscientists points to human beings as being natural empaths. In a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience in 2013 by the researcher Max Planck, he identified that although the tendency to be egocentric is inherent for human beings – part of your brain recognizes this lack of empathy and will auto correct itself. This specific part of your brain is called the right supramarginal gyrus which is located in the parietal lobe, which is one of four of our major cerebral cortexes. This idea of us naturally caring is supported widely by sociologists and anthropologists across the board. This is also backed by historical evidence as shown by the way we used to live in common, healing the wounded, “disabled” or ill members of the prehistoric communities.
In the enlightening article by Marylen Patou-Mathis, research director at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (Paris), published by Le Monde diplomatique in July 2015 titled Non Les hommes n’ont pas toujours fait la guerre (No, men do not always have war), we delve deeper into the origins of conflict within our species. The writing looks at two key periods in history. The Neolithic period (often known as the stone age) and Palaeolithic period (often known as the Ice age). The article states that war was a result of the change in productive structures as we began to accumulate resources and give birth to productive based economies. Violence started with the change of production and with the development of an agricultural economy. With this change came the birth of the class systems and our first appearance of an elite. It was these economic origins that arguably created the division between man we are all too aware of today. The domestication of animals and the new farming economies objective was to build a surplus and in turn create trade (profit). This meant a division of labour (class division) and therefore there was now a demand on the workforce. We then progressed into the Protodynastic period (Bronze age) and began shaping precious metals that added value to the warrior, creating a new caste into human society, and due to both commodity of the soldier, war began to become institutionalised and with it came the first forms of human slavery. Prisoners of war were taken and then if not killed in conflict were forced to toil in the victors’ fields to stimulate their new founded economies. In contrast during the Palaeolithic period these socio-economic inequalities and class hierarchies did not exist and were purely a result for resource surplus.
It seems clear that our conflict is built out of social parameters rather than biological ones which concludes that that it is not in “our nature” but rather in our systems and constructs we create.