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Struggles against warfare are fighting symptoms. They lead to disappointment if the deeper lying forces that create wars are not considered. Those forces are conflicts about territory and wealth.

Social hierarchies further contribute to warfare. Moreover, inborn features or undigested childhood damages in leaders can also inflate conflicts.


When in the old days, small bands of humans found their territory depleting, they engaged in skirmishes about territory with neighboring bands, which intensified a slumbering sense of violence. Or the bands moved to greener pastures. But when the planet proved limited and free migration got more difficult, skirmishes intensified.

With the rise of farming, from about 12,000 years ago, fights got more than only about natural resources. Bands became sedentary, grew in size and organized themselves hierarchically, with cultures of command and obedience.

Those who knew how to control larger populations got the taste of controlling other populations as well. Competition between leaders of neighboring populations produced the social pattern of mass warfare.

The rise of hierarchy facilitated the learning of how to grab power by particular kinds of persons.

First, it was accepted as for the good of society. But the new opportunities to gain social power also inflated undigested childhood fantasies of personal grandiosity and power, at the cost of society.

The new type of leaders used their skills and the culture of hierarchy to organize hierarchical armies and drive masses of soldiers to the battlefields. And it became too late for society to turn back the wheels of time.

@ Peter van der Werff

Photo: Assyrian king

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