An Evoluntary Perspective On Theories of War

A dozen explanations of why there are wars come up often and here are some that Barbara Ehrenreich found that satisfy nonspecialists.

"It is because of our innate aggressiveness...or because of innate male aggressiveness...or because of imperialism and greed...or overpopulation and a shortage of resources...or manipulation by evil, bloody-minded elites...or it is simply a manifestation of unknowable evil."

Wars in our lifetimes appear to center on the theme of gender. But Ehrenreich searched back in time and found blood rites far more expanatory. She studied the feelings people invest in war and found forms of organized and socially sanctioned violence. She went into considerable depth to inquire about the source of our feelings toward war and how they played out in history.

Ehrenreich explores the ecstasy of war as a religion in the papers of other scholars in subjects ranging from mythology to psychology to animal studies to art to science of warfare. She confronts the mystery of our attraction to violence with comparison of various aspects in relation to ancient fears. Her brilliant analysis forces a reader to take a different look at an archaic practice that has become the greatest single threat to human life.

Carefully footnoting her findings and referencing the sources for the reader's examination, Ehrenreich presents a monumental work in her analysis and discovers a new and startling direction of relevant scholarship in the study of violence.

The earliest fear of predation by vicious carnivores that led to the sacralization and worship of war should no longer be used as an excuse for annhilating the human race.

Naomi Sherer


Blood Rites Origins and History of the Passions of War
by Barbara Ehrenreich, 1997
ISBN 0-8050-5077-9
Metropolitan Books
Henry Holt and Company, Inc.

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