Sunday, September 7, 2014

peacemaking and all of us animals


Hal Pepinsky,, “pepinsky” at

September 7, 2014


                Two segments of last week’s September 5 broadcast of the Ted Radio Hour on “Animals and Us,” at , confirm that two fundamental principles of making peace with fear- and anger-driven violence apply not only to human relations, but to all of us animals.  In one segment on “We’re training dogs all wrong,” veterinarian-turned-dog trainer Ian Dunbar tells us that he found he could apply the same techniques he has with dogs to have raised his own son by keeping his cool, never punishing, never arguing--a standard of perfection I never achieved, but a truth that I accept: that punishment is never practical nor morally justified.  In another segment on “Do animals have morals?,” anthropologist and animal behaviorist Franz de Waal gives the lie to Konrad Lorenz’s theory that violence is the overwhelming Darwinian instinct governing chimpanzees and humans.  Time and again, De Waal finds chimpanzees sharing and altruistically caring for one another, and speaks of the difference between competition and cooperation as a spectrum, just as I conceive the problem of violence and peacemaking as a matter of balance between being substantively goal-driven, and accommodation to interests and concerns of others.  Other words, other paths, same conclusions.  I heartily recommend this Ted program to all of us who try to change each other.  In the face of violence, difference, disagreement, as I once wrote (see A Criminologist’s Quest for Peace, 2001, at ), empathy works, obedience doesn’t.  love and peace, hal

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