Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
30 Aug

Violence: An Introduction to a Primal Instinct

For a guy that people don’t usually reference when talking about the ancestral health community, Tucker Max gave a fantastic talk on the importance of violence a couple weeks ago at the symposium. It was on the importance of violence in human evolution, and it centered on what he’d learned about himself since joining a mixed martial arts (MMA) gym several years back. His slides are now available, so I’d recommend taking a quick glance at them. The real meat was in the talk itself, though. Check out the video (and stick around for Seth’s talk, too). Hat tip to Tucker for stoking my thoughts on this topic.

We have a weird relationship with violence, especially in the 21st century. For the most part, we live in a time of unprecedented peace. Although with civilization and government come new challenges to personal freedom, most of us aren’t in immediate danger of being robbed, raped, assaulted, murdered, or dragged into war. Physical violence is easily avoided, and yet we are drawn to it. It fascinates us even as it horrifies us. We condemn those who engage in it while sneaking peeks and wondering what it would be like to fight.

But here’s where we run into trouble: violence is bad, right? Torture, rape, murder, serial killers, genocide, war… these are not nice things, and they’re all examples of violence. Anyone and (mostly) everyone will agree that these are absolute negatives. Laws against murder are universal (if selectively applied), and any reasonable culture considers rape to be a monumental crime. War is sometimes necessary, but it’s not a pleasant endeavor for anyone, neither victor nor loser. “War is hell,” remember. Torture is craven (and from what I’ve read, ineffective) and cruel, while genocide is the ultimate evil (even if some people somewhere support it).

If violence is bad, why are we drawn to it? You say you’re not? Okay – what happens to you when you see two people duking it out on the street, or preparing to do so amidst tough talk? Two things, if you’re like most people. You think “someone should break this up,” and you might even try to break it up yourself. Fighting’s wrong, talking is better, call the cops, etc. At the same time, though, you can’t look away. You might crowd around and crane your neck to get a better look. When the first punch is thrown, a thrill passes through you. You don’t mean to feel it, you might even feel ashamed, but you can’t ignore the excitement. It’s “wrong,” someone is probably going to get hurt, but just the same, something feels very “right” about this. I remember as a kid in elementary school, any time a fight or scuffle jumped off at recess, kids would come running from all corners of the playground as if they could sense it (the kids yelling “fight, fight, fight!” didn’t exactly keep it secret, either). I was right there with them. This was before ultra-violent video games, television, movies, and music were around to get the blame. Nope – this was interest in violence for violence’s sake. No outside influences.

Longtime readers will know that inherent human traits or behaviors pique my interest. When people seem instinctually drawn to something – playing with dirt, sunbathing, delicious animal flesh – I go looking for an explanation, because more often than not, there’s evidence of a benefit to the activity. There’s usually some deep-seated “reason” couched in our evolution as animals. Kids eating dirt introduces novel bacteria to young immune systems, sunbathing provides vitamin D, animals give us fat, protein, vitamins, and minerals. What does violence give us? Broken bones, black eyes, and bruised egos aside, I can’t help but wonder if fighting is somehow good, or even necessary for us. At the very least, our apparently instinctual proclivity to violence suggests that violence isn’t a product of civilization, but that it’s much, much older. That there is an evolutionary adaptation to violence. That the potential for it exists in all of us as a holdover from our prehistory.

If you examine our history, it’s obvious that early man knew violence. I won’t say “he was violent” or ascribe a degree of violence, because we just don’t know enough. What we do know is that evidence of human-to-human violence exists in the fossil records and confirms that life in the paleolithic wasn’t auroch milk ice cream and rainbows all the time. Skeletons with stone arrows embedded in chest plates, bones with blunt trauma fractures… it wasn’t necessarily a regular occurrence, but violent death certainly occurred.

It may have even been rare; as one recent article suggests, inter-group conflict most likely occurred due to resource scarcity and territorial infringement (that’s usually why conflicts arise between groups of chimps and there’s plenty of evidence suggesting the same for preagricultural humans) and given the low human population densities of the paleolithic, regular full-scale war didn’t really make sense. The authors do note that the potential for violence probably always existed in hominids. There’s even evidence (PDF) that moderate aggression, which might be described as the potential for violence, was a selective adaptation, since the aggressor would have a better chance of procuring resources and, thus, mates to bear his offspring.

So while most modern humans are largely divorced from violence (at least in any physical, active way), we are drawn to it, and it was a contextual feature of human evolution. Tomorrow, we’ll explore whether we should banish violence outright, or whether we ignore it to our peril. For now, though, I want to hear your thoughts on violence. Have you been in a fight? How do you see violence – is it an absolute negative or is there possible good in it, too?

Thanks for reading, and be sure to leave a comment.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Love the timing of this article. I’m starting a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class tomorrow and am looking forward to the physical aspect of fighting, defense, etc.

    Abigail wrote on August 30th, 2011
    • Enjoy it! BJJ is like someone sat down and thought of a way to combine street fighting and chess. Genius!

      Joe Brancaleone wrote on August 30th, 2011
  2. You lost me at “Tucker Max.” What a complete DB that guy is. If he is held up as and example of what it means to be “Primal”… then I’m finding a different adjective to describe this new lifestyle of mine.

    Peter wrote on August 30th, 2011
    • Those were exactly my thoughts! But I watched his talk, and it’s almost scary how different he sounds from the person he portrays himself as in his books. I never thought I’d hear this guy PRAISE things other than himself, and yet here he is… Like yes, he’s an idol to douchebags everywhere, and clearly he thinks of himself as the best. But the fact that he picked up MMA and the primal lifestyle to reinforce that notion says a lot about “primal”. It’s essentially about self-improvement. And maybe I’m getting fooled by his facade, but I think it’s humbled him a bit as well.

      Reiko wrote on August 30th, 2011
      • Just keep in mind, sociopaths are experts at mimicking real emotions, manipulating and charming others to get what they want, playing the sympathy card, etc…

        Paleo Spirit wrote on August 30th, 2011
        • Agreed. And he is a sociopath. And, inevitably, his schtick of heavily fabricated stories lost its cachet as he has gotten older, so he needs a new schtick. I didn’t watch his speech, nor will I.

          Peter wrote on August 30th, 2011
        • Of course I kept that in mind, hence my last sentence 😉

          Reiko wrote on August 30th, 2011
    • My sentiments exactly.

      Paleo Spirit wrote on August 30th, 2011
    • Ha ha, Peter. My husband said the exact same thing about “fabricated stories”. LMAO

      Paleo Spirit wrote on August 30th, 2011
      • There is a lot of info out there on the interwebs about the validity of most of his stories. No question there are kernels of truth to his abhorrent (no folks, NOT alpha) behavior, but way overblown. And the reality is, he has become the guy that is still living in his past, and those around him are wondering when he will move on from it. It is unfortunate that there are women who, for whatever reason, considered it a badge of honor, or a good story, or whatever, to give themselves to him, but as they have matured, I’m sure they are more and more regretful. I can’t believe anybody would buy his book(s)…he’s trying desperately to hang on with more stories in new books…nor admire him. The worst example of a “man” out there. And obviously fraught with deep issues, if you find some independent accounts about him, not those created by himself.

        Peter wrote on August 30th, 2011
  3. Not all violence is created equal…

    Just as farming manifested from eating, war has manifested from scuffles involving a couple of bare handed people. Technology has given it wings and our ability to inflict violence has expanded exponentially…much like our ability to do everything else (eat, drink, offend, pollute).

    Violence has its place. If it did not, there would be no leadership in pack animals. How is dominance asserted? Through violence. We are offended so easily by horrific pictures on the 6 o’clock news, but watching a nature show about the African Savannah is interesting and compelling. It’s “The Circle of Life”. They are 2 different extremes of the same violence.

    Longevity aside, what good is all this physical prowess? It gives us a physical edge over our peers. It helps us rise against adversity (violence), or it would have 10,000 years ago.

    Violence is not a problem. It’s what humans do with it that is the problem.

    Spence wrote on August 30th, 2011
    • I totally agree.
      Also, most people think women were 2nd class citizens, they weren’t.
      The leaders female ate second in line before the rest of the males.

      There is a reason why man kind gets and lived along side wolves for thousand of years. They have the exact same pecking order. Alpha dog first, then his female, then whoever next.

      Arty wrote on August 30th, 2011
      • That’s true, I observe this with my pack of dogs every day at feeding time.
        If a new female dog is introduced, the alpha dog has the first chance to win her over and make her part of his new female pack. If he shows no interest, another male will claim her and she won’t eat first together with the alpha dog. She will be in line with the rest, however the pecking order goes.

        Of course, I make sure everyone has lots to eat and gets some of the important parts like liver or brain. They’re all on a primal diet :-)

        Primalnut wrote on August 30th, 2011
  4. “inter-group conflict most likely occurred due to resource scarcity and territorial infringement”

    You can apply similar modeling to modern warfare. It helps if you imagine humans as inherently competitive.

    Damon wrote on August 30th, 2011
  5. Humans need violence. Society now is way too soft.

    James wrote on August 30th, 2011
  6. Another thought; I’m sure if there was more violence obesity would no longer be a problem. People would have a REAL incentive to be fit, healthy, eat well etc.

    James wrote on August 30th, 2011
  7. This might explain why I love competative sports. I’ve always loved wrestling and jiu-jitsu. Now I just battle in the paint on the basketball court.

    Michal Palczewski wrote on August 30th, 2011
  8. This reminds me of a book I read a while back called Ecotopia. It was a pretty cheesey read, actually, but described a utopian nation formed from what was formerly California. The citizens lived in close harmony with nature. But, the men also had organized tribal ‘wars’ with spears, war paint, the whole bit. It was intended as a way to vent the human (specifically male, I think) instinct for violence and action, and in the long run to improve the mental and physical health of the citizens by providing that outlet. Again, fairly cheesey and out-there. However, maybe we are seeing “safe” real-life parallels to this in the hardcore action/adventure races like Tough Mudder and Spartan Race?

    Ethan wrote on August 30th, 2011
    • I was going to mention Ecotopia as well. It is written from the fictional perspective of a typical 1970s reporter, so it is kind of outdated and sexist, despite the equality women have in that society. The fighting was highly ritualized and women could participate if they wanted, but mostly the women’s role was to tell the men how brave they had been and tend their wounds. Though I’m not super into the “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” thing, it seems like there might be a biological need in some folks for this kind of activity. See also “Endemic warfare” on Wikipedia. Forgive me if it’s been mentioned before.

      Shebeeste wrote on August 31st, 2011
  9. It’s interesting you posted this today since last night my fiance was watching random fights on YouTube last night. I agree with the first commenter, as a woman I am not fascinated by physical violence. In fact, it usually makes me uncomfortable (perhaps as being more of a nurturer?). I guess what I get uncomfortable about is excessive violence (continually hitting someone when they’re down) or violence for no reason at all. Violence for self defense is one thing, unnecessary or excessive violence is certainly another.

    I mean, when angry, most people WANT to do harm on SOMETHING, be it inanimate object or the other person making us mad. Violence does seem to be something instinctual.

    Rachel wrote on August 30th, 2011
  10. Maybe one could say violence, at its best, is a tool for returning to “homeostasis” at an interpersonal or social level. It should never be just about what someone needs to get out of their system. A worthy and valid goal should be in sight. Otherwise you’d be perpetuating chaos to satisfy your own hormonal surge.

    Joe Brancaleone wrote on August 30th, 2011
  11. Weston A Price states that people with deformed facial bones and dental arches also have suffered prenatal injuries in the brain. Behavior is therefor defective and results in high amount of violence.
    Chapter 19: Physical, Mental and Moral Deterioration.

    I had a high amount of anger and a raging temper my entire life. This all went away when I started eating PRIMAL and started undergoing a slow palatal expansion to fix my dental arch. My hearing and sense of smell has increased as a result of my palatal expansion.

    If you’re eating primal, and are still suffering from rage and temper tantrums, then look a little deeper.
    Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston Price sure is an interesting read, and explains in details why usually the more deformed looking people are the most violent ones.

    Also, most house dogs (not to mention they never get out) turn aggressive when fed a diet of kibble (grains, starches and canola oil).

    Looks like bad nutrition goes hand in hand with bad behavior.

    Arty wrote on August 30th, 2011
    • “Looks like bad nutrition goes hand in hand with bad behavior.”

      OMG, I totally agree.
      If you look at history it shows that violence amongst each other inreased dramatically when the neolithic era started.
      Grains made everyone kookoo.

      Primalnut wrote on August 30th, 2011
  12. I play ball hockey outdoors in the rain and snow all winter with a group of people (mixed women and men) and there is *plenty* of aggression and violent actions (from women and men though the men obviously take it a bit easier on the women and the older men or anyone who is playing injured) but nothing injurious in a major way, just pushing and shoving to get at the ball or knock someone off it in the corners etc.

    Lot’s of yelling and shouting and pushing and shoving, it’s a blast!

    It’s one of the most rewarding things I do in life precisely because of the ability to take out aggression and violent urges.

    At the end of the day we’re all enjoying beers and best friends, no aggression outside of the game at all.

    I think contact sports are a key component of good mental health.

    Johnc wrote on August 30th, 2011
  13. Gotta say, Mark couldn’t be more right. While initiating violence is generally bad, nobody denies that its acceptable to fight back. There’s a pretty good evolutionary justification for males to fight each other – practice for when they actually need to defend themselves or their families. That’s certainly one explanation for why young brothers love to fight each other, and why me and my buddies from college still enjoy the occasional spontaneous wrestling match.

    I don’t see this in women as much though – it seems to be pretty unacceptable for women to fight in western cultures. However, doesn’t change the fact that I find the scene from From Russia With Love where the two gypsy girls fight to the death for a potential husband highly entertaining :)

    V wrote on August 30th, 2011
  14. An interseting subject. I started training mixed martial arts about 6 months ago. Joe Rogan had an amazing bit in his podcast about how training jiu-jitsu humbles you as a man. I completely agree. Getting you ass kicked for five 5min rounds seriously humbles you!

    Zach wrote on August 30th, 2011
  15. I train submission wrestling now regularily and olympic wrestling before that from a young age. There is no amount of heavy lifting, crossfit, and other “non-agressive” forms of training (which I also do on a regular basis) that really get my adrenaline going the same way. Lifting something really heavy just doesnt compare to rolling around wrestling and choking a guy out after a well fought battle. The satisfaction is just more complete for me if that makes sense.

    Im not saying I crave aggression outside the controlled enviroment of my submission wrestling club but I would be in some way unfulfilled with only doing other non-martial art sports. Maybe Im just an adrenaline junkie? Or is there something primal in besting another human for bragging rights?

    majk wrote on August 30th, 2011
  16. My six-year-old son recently commented, “You know one kind of wiggle that I wish I could get out? I want to hit things or people.”

    Tim wrote on August 30th, 2011
  17. I’ve been thinking a lot about violence recently and realized that violence is as much a part of life as nonviolence. Fact is, for me to live something has to die and that involves violence. However, violence must be used judiciously when dealing with the world. Peaceful means are preferable, but sometimes violent measures are necessary.

    Joe B wrote on August 30th, 2011
  18. All you folks looking for an outlet for your built up excess energy, go live on an amish farm for a year.
    By the time each day is over you’re gonna wanna be in bed, asleep.

    Farmboy wrote on August 30th, 2011
  19. I think our fascination with violence is evident in the number of comments so far.

    There has to be some level of attraction…why else would my 4 yr old LOVE to pick on his younger brother? :)

    Great post Mark!

    Mike wrote on August 30th, 2011
  20. Great post Mark! And great comments too. I love this topic and do hope you’ll continue with it. I am also deeply interested in inherent human traits and I’ve wondered if violence is just a part of being human.

    Video games and TV are kind of freaky, though, in their level of violence. But I wonder if that is just a reaction to our pacifist ideology. And if our pacifist ideology isn’t responsible for needless and extreme violence like Columbine.

    Peggy The Primal Parent wrote on August 30th, 2011
  21. Does anyone likes paintball?

    Erik wrote on August 30th, 2011
    • Love paintball.

      musajen wrote on August 30th, 2011
  22. Even in judo or wrestling practice, I hated to lose. It’s a little like being killed. Of course there are rules, but still, it sucked.

    dave wrote on August 30th, 2011
  23. I am an amateur mma fighter. I think fighting is fun and love the competition of the sport. When I have been in fighting and training often, I am typically a happier person. I have never been in an unsanctioned fight, but at times feel aggressive towards males I have never met. This feeling is typically towards the male around that is trying to draw all the attention to himself. I would say this feeling would be a primal urge to prove dominance, but when I have been training and competing regularly, the feeling is not as strong.

    Nitro wrote on August 30th, 2011
  24. I think violence in any form is a threat to society as a whole. Usually violence is a last resort when when all intelligence fails. It is violence today that is breaking down society. Lack of respect preludes actual violence – violence follows. Lack of personal space in today’s society encourages violence just a providing too small of space for any specie will provoke fighting and violence.

    Cindy wrote on August 30th, 2011
    • You do realize you wouldn’t have society if it weren’t for violence?

      Dave wrote on August 30th, 2011
  25. Someone mentioned scientific arguments cited by Wade that violence was very common. For a strong argument that warfare was virtually non-existent among nomadic foragers, see Douglas P. Fry, Beyond War: The Human Potential for Peace (Oxford, 2007). He shows that most violence is episodic and between individuals, usually over women, and that hunter-gatherers had a multitude of cultural means for limiting and overcoming violence. As for Darwinian arguments that the violent would have more mates, he shows that there is plenty of evidence against that and that being excessive violent will also get you killed by other members of society that have had enough. Most scientific work on this question has been highly biased by the blinders of civilization (and outright scientific fraud in some cases), and seek to extend violence over property back in time pre-agriculture when it just doesn’t apply.

    Bill wrote on August 30th, 2011
    • don’t forget that most tribal “warfare” was really low intensity conflict resulting in a few broken bones or minor cuts. Deaths in these conflicts were apparently fairly rare. Many cultures even used aggressive sports such as lacrosse and early variation of soccer/football/basketball to solve such conflicts.

      a dozen toddlers in a sandbox having intermittent and minor scuffles is far less threatening a thought than 2 adults with shotguns having even infrequent disagreements in that same area.

      tomh wrote on August 30th, 2011
  26. Anyone else watch Braveheart (Mel Gibson); an early scene with the 2 kids where they just have a slugfest with each other to solve an argument?

    I was jealous.

    Evan wrote on August 30th, 2011
  27. The first thing I thought of while reading this article was the “fight” that takes place in the movie Bridget Jones Diary between Mark Darcy and Daniel Cleaver. Everyone is stunned and then the gay best friend runs into a restaraunt and says “fight…well quICK! IT’S A REAL FIGHT!” and everyone rushes outside to watch the two “gentlemen” go at it (they clearly have NO fighting skills).

    As a lady, I admit, I kinda dig violence… to an extent (not a fan of gore). A couple random, scattered thoughts:

    1. There is a strong connection between sex and violence… perhaps as part of the Alpha scenario. If a boyfriend were to defend my honor by punching the offending douchebag, boyfriend would be rewarded… repeatedly. I also find wrestling/play fighting with the bf to be excellent foreplay.

    2. Handling guns and practicing martial arts are also enjoyable… both are very focused and calming and I like the assurance that comes from knowing I could handle myself in a violent situation. And knowing I could handle myself makes a fight unnecessary a lot of times. There’s a lot to be said for simply standing one’s ground.

    3. I wish that it were more acceptable for women to fight with fists instead of the back-stabbing/passive-agressive bull. BUT – I think the passive-agressive stuff is a skill in and of itself.

    musajen wrote on August 30th, 2011
  28. Last week, one of my weight loss clients told me he was a “bad person.” I asked “Why in the world would you feel that way?” He said it was because he’s been in two fist fights since going primal 9 months ago…people were rude or just pissed him off and he started swinging. Now this is an educated, well-employed man in his mid-40’s (so highly usual behavior for him).

    We regularly see natural, measurable increases in testosterone levels on a Primal/Paleo program. Soy seems to be emasculating the men in our society as well…take that out of the diet along with a Primal/Paleo regimen and it’s not surprising that some men will experience a higher tendency towards physical aggression.

    Seems perfectly “natural” to me.

    Thanks for a fascinating post, as usual Mark!

    MOWL wrote on August 30th, 2011
  29. The problem may be that there is a failure of the language to describe “violence”. When is violence okay? I would think it is okay when you are defending yourself, your home/territory , defending someone else (ie: a child), or when you are hunting food. These forms of violence are found all around the animal world. No one thinks the lion is wrong for killing the gazelle. But when is violence wrong? Well, what if that lion decided to kill all of the cheetas in order to hunt their food. Or if a lion had just killed a gazelle and then it decided to kill a wildebest. In both of those cases the lion would seem off, or not right… So doing something violent doesnt make it wrong; it depends what you are doing.

    tyler wrote on August 30th, 2011
  30. Most of us claim to be non-violent, while asking proxies to perform violent acts that we refuse individually to commit.

    tim_lebsack wrote on August 30th, 2011
  31. Its weird, I like violence (sparring and wrestling) among friends when there’s no ill will; just the thrill of besting someone else and using muscles the most natural way (combat).
    However I avoid fights out at bars and have had to side-step some situations before. Its not just because someone could pack a weapon or a group could jump me but because I don’t like the ill-will associated with it. I hate feeling like I have to watch my back.

    dreguan wrote on August 30th, 2011
  32. Go on Google and do a search for “Dr. Ruthless”. This lady has taken women’s self defense totally primal.

    Barb wrote on August 30th, 2011
  33. I practiced aikido for three years, and often miss it. It gave me a (mostly) safe physical outlet for what you’re describing in this article.

    I consider my daily physical exertion (i.e., weightlifting, metcon, etc.) to serve the same purpose. I still miss aikido (though not the back pain).

    Steph wrote on August 30th, 2011
  34. There are no places and really no peoples on Earth which are not “threatened” by the hand of man in one form or another..
    Violence is just another form of mans greed..self gratification..need to control…
    whatever you call it…man IS a violent creature…just wait until we have shortages of fuel, water or food…THEN you will see the so called peaceful people..become as violent as the rest…Violence is the excuse for not thinking..and or getting along>>>

    Daveman wrote on August 30th, 2011
    • As said by Sylvester Stallone in Rambo: “When you’re pushed, killing comes as easy as breathing”. The best example from the movie of that is the Christian missionary who jumps one of the soldiers and kills him with a rock. For real life examples, one just needs to look for stories of ordinary citizens defending themselves. These are often people who have no formal combat training, only some pistol training to qualify for their CCW. Yet, “when pushed”…robbers, rapists, burglars and other scum end up dead. “Comes as easy as breathing”, for sure…

      Sebastian wrote on August 30th, 2011
  35. Great post. Loving the evolutionary biology perspective. In my opinion, I feel that violence, for the most part, has been sequestered due to establishments such as government.

    Knarf wrote on August 30th, 2011
  36. To me, the ability to be in touch with your violent side is key to being able to preserve your own safety, should the need ever arise. Fighting for sport is a good way to unleash our inclination to fight, doing so in a controlled way…but I think that a lot of us have lost interest in being able to defend ourselves; we assume we’ll never have to, or that someone else will do it for us. The reality is that our PRIMAL instinct that says, “If you threaten my safety, I will rip you apart” is the only thing that will really save us if we’re ever attacked. Violence is mostly psychological, so I recommend training yourself to unleash your killer instinct for the day that you hope never comes.

    Griffin wrote on August 30th, 2011
    • Not as much “lost interest” as just having been mentally neutered by society. This neutering can be undone, either by training, or by “contact with reality”.

      Sebastian wrote on August 30th, 2011
  37. We are endowed with a sympathetic nervous system in which autonomic summations interact with the conscious mind in determining fight or flight. Very primal indeed. The violence issue becomes infinitely more complex in the arena of civilization, government, social moray, and the rest. For the individual to survive it is a necessity to either fight or flee when the causative circumstances arise.

    David wrote on August 30th, 2011
  38. I’m also female and I enjoy a bit of controlled violence myself. I like action movies, I play a lot of computer games (I used to be a PC games journalist) and I used to do Thai boxing, where I enjoyed contact sparring.

    Obviously, this is a lot different to being harrassed by an aggressive male or worse – but the instinct is there nonetheless.

    I think we all have this instinct, to a certain extent, and finding the right outlet for it is important. Bottling it up only leads to stress and illness.

    Indiscreet wrote on August 30th, 2011
  39. I have a 4 year old boy. The ability to push, hit, kick, poke, and grab is deeply embedded in his dna. We have to work with him every day on how to play nicely with his friends. That’s not to say our species is inherently violent. If you look at young lion cubs, they fight constantly. You might think they are learning to be aggressive. They are not. They are learning to control their aggression. When adult lions fight, they are fighting not with all their might. Neither one wants to be permanently damaged. So it is with preschool boys too (and our species). I think they are created to be physical but that they are learning, through all the punching hitting and grabbing, to control their aggression.

    HMK wrote on August 30th, 2011
  40. Violence is healthy, and cathartic within reasons. Rules are a good way to handle that.

    Especially so in today’s world where “enlightenment” so often means neutering for guys. Sometimes a nice little scrap is the perfect thing to bring your feelings up.

    That’s why so many normal guys are experiencing a renaissance with sports like MMA and boxing.

    Dave wrote on August 30th, 2011

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