War and Society: Is War a Cultural or Biological Phenomenon? Essay

War and Society: Is War a Cultural or Biological Phenomenon? Essay

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War is strongly ingrained into our world today whether we like it or not and while it may seem more prevalent and worse lately considering the advances in technology and the increase in hysteria over security, war is not a recent adjunct to society. That poses the question, where does war come from? As human beings, are we hard-wired biologically to fight each other or is it a behaviour influenced by peers and morals?
What is war? According to the thefreedictionary.com online dictionary, war is described as:
1. a. A state of open, armed, often prolonged conflict carried on between nations, states, or parties.
b. The period of such conflict.
c. The techniques and procedures of war; military science.
2. a. A condition of active antagonism or contention: a war of words; a price war.
b. A concerted effort or campaign to combat or put an end to something considered injurious: the war against acid rain.
The etymology of the word “war” can be traced back to the Old High German language word “werra” meaning strife; akin to Old High German “werran” to confuse. These words were used sometime in the 12th century. Marcus Tullius Cicero, a Roman philosopher, once defined war as "a contention by force" and the working definition of war for the purpose of this essay will be Cicero's definition.
Our society is constantly at war. Companies wage war against other companies with weapons of advertising, marketing, and monopoly to attract business and ultimately net higher profits. Politicians fight battles with words and propaganda in their attempts to climb the political ladder. People, on an individual level, attack each other in efforts to raise their socioeconomic status. And this isn't including the wars our countries wage on...


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...mbers of the species occurs, other originally neutral members will take sides to defend the creature that is favoured. This happens in the interest of self preservation and the side that they choose is dependent on what is ultimately beneficial to them. This shows us that biologically comparable animals do decide to chose sides in disputes over opposing actions even by supporting non-violently which raises the question: is this war? According to Cicero, it is.
Conflict and the survival of the fittest is biological. Darwin's theory of evolution discusses how evolutionary traits are intended to be beneficial and give the evolved offspring some useful function that will be advantageous. I believe that fighting and conflict is biological but the act of making war on another party has become a cultural phenomenon resulting from the desire to be the dominant species.

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