Believe it or not, violence has been in decline over long stretches of time, and we may be living in the most peaceful time in our species’ existence. Violence has decreased by dramatic degrees all over the world in many spheres of behavior: genocide, war, torture, slavery, and the treatment of racial minorities, women, children, and animals.
Today, human nature comprises inclinations toward violence and inclinations that counteract them — what Abraham Lincoln called the “better angels of our nature.”
Harvard psychology professor Steven Pinker presents data supporting this surprising conclusion, and explains how changing historical circumstances have stirred these angels of human nature including self-control, empathy, and reason.
Tune in to watch The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, a UC Berkeley Graduate Council Lecture.