Violence has become a crucial portion of urban society. Violence has a tendency to be everywhere, even if we don’t exactly notice it. If you’ve ever seen it on the television, taken out “tangoes” on “Call of Duty” or subtly threatened your friend for having those embarrassing photos of you (seriously, that was not okay), you know just what I’m talking about.
Our innate need for angst and anguish is not uncommon, so you don’t need to feel like a bad person. I am also guilty of little occasional threats like everyone else. We use it because it is empowering, and at the same time, demeaning to the opposing party. But it’s obvious that we wouldn’t actually execute any of our harmful – and sometimes shockingly specific – threats, and a huge reason for why it’s become okay to say such things is because of violence’s diminishing impact on us through “modernity.”
A sociologist at the Lancaster University, Sylvia Walby, explains modernity in violence through her application of the 1994 “Elias theory.” In a September 25, 2012, issue of the Current Sociology Journal she informed readers on the Elias theory indicated, which is, “…civilizing effects of modernity occur through the increase in self-control, including control over the expression of violent urges.”
Hooray! We don’t have the primal urge to blatantly kill each other! Okay, excluding that one guy at Sidetrack who got his food before I did. Seriously, I was there first.
Put simply, modern violence occurs because it is a basic premise of modernized human nature. By seeing the images, playing the games and throwing out a warning to our buddies every now and again, we blow off some steam, and as a result of the amalgamation of violence and modernity, we as the human race have become less vicious by a hefty amount.
Some individuals argue that the world has actually become a more dangerous and savage place. One person who believes this is author Stella Dawson, who claimed on June 12, 2013 on Trust.org,
“The world has grown more violent over the past six years, driven by political instability, a rising murder rate…and higher levels of military spending.”
Such a bold claim makes it hard to believe in declining rates of violence. But Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker penned in his book, “The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined,” that “…reality is not painted in bloody anecdotes, but demonstrated in the black and white…They tell a story of a world moving away from violence.” Pinker goes on to provide statistics of lowered crime and death rates over the past 70 years.
Times have changed, and though we are so very enthralled by violence, it’s only because the idea is so fascinating. We can’t always reenact what we see. Of course, there are people who still indulge in dangerous behavior – I’m not trying to tell you the world is a completely safe place. Facts are facts, though, and the facts say that this big blue marble isn’t so bad after all. In fact, it’s getting a lot better, and that’s something to be proud of.
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