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Is "blood-lust" a genetic trait ?

 
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Aug, 2009 06:10 pm
You are sounding like a Hallmark card Fresco. Let's make this discussion more focused; the terms we are using "belligerence" and "blood-lust" are ill-defined. Let me define my argument with specific terms.

First, you started this thread talking about "combative sports". I can speak to this because I enjoy watching boxing (and my son enjoys doing boxing).

Boxing emphasizes human traits that are helpful-- hard work, striving for perfection, working through pain, determination... and yes the aggression-- all of these things are very useful in life. The fact that Boxing a "combative sport" emphasizes these traits (if you want to learn teamwork you would choose a different sport).

Let's talk specifically about aggression-- we are going to have to define this term...

Certainly a young GI storming the beach at Normandy to fight the Nazi's needed agression. It is a mindset of doing whatever it takes to reach a goal combined with grit and anger and certainty.

Heroes like Alice Paul had the same type of aggressive determination (even though she didn't have to kill anyone). She did whatever it took to reach her goal, whether it meant insulting people, offending society, going to jail or shaming the president of the United States.

Of course there are lots of negative examples-- buts thats a fact of the human experience, traits are both good and bad.

But get rid of this very human trait, and you cease to be human.
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Aug, 2009 12:38 am
@ebrown p,
ebrown,

You keep missing the point, which is about enjoyment of aggression.
It is not about having to defend ourselves from those like the Nazi's who indulged in that enjoyment, and is not about fighting for perceived "equal rights". It is about whether the world has "moved on" from that of the Roman "games" and its blood spectacles.

Your "point" is that you cannot separate such "enjoyment" from aggression per se. But maybe that is merely an artifact of your adversarial style, rather than a considered examination of the issues.

ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Aug, 2009 06:55 am
@fresco,
OK then, let's talk about enjoyment of aggression. Again, I will use the boxing example (since I have personal experience with it and since you started this thread about sports).

My son is very athletic-- he has played (and played well) everything from baseball to soccer to rugby. But his passion is Boxing (and because of this, I have also developed an appreciation for the game).

Boxing is surprising strategic. He spends hours and hours in a Gym with a coach going over moves and strategies over and over again. When to attack, when to defend and how to respond to an opponents attack. A lot of what he learns is counter-intuitive, moving into a punch for example, and there is a surprising amount of precision-- the coach will spend hours correcting the fact that he returns his fist to one or two inches out of the place it should be.

But, of course, raw aggression is a big part of boxing. It is you against him-- a struggle that only one person can prevail. There is an immediacy, an urgency and an honesty-- knowing that this person will force you to do your best. This interaction is beautiful-- and is something that is part of every sport-- but comes to the forefront in boxing.

Surprisingly boxing is about control. If you get upset, or angry... you are going to lose your form a big disadvantage. Through a punch a bit too far, you are going to be hit by a controlled opponent.

Believe me, I am not a boxer. My son decided he wanted to box when he was 10 and nagged us until we got him lessons when he was 14. There is no question that he has not only enjoyed boxing.... but that it has been good for him.
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Aug, 2009 11:22 am
@ebrown p,
I would not presume to classify your family decision as "good" or "bad", but I put it to you that should your son perhaps continue to box and suffer a serious injury as a result, your classification is likely to change.

But from a purely intellectual point of view we can surely say that to promote a "sport" whose objective is to physically inapacitate an opponent is rationally questionable to the extent that it is antithetical to the pursuit of peaceful co-existence. So the question remains, is the pursuit of peace a ridiculous ideal given our promotion of physical aggression ?
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Aug, 2009 11:51 am
@fresco,
(ebrown takes a couple of minutes to parse your rather awkwardly phrased argument)

OK... if I understand you correctly, you are claiming that boxing is antithetical to peaceful co-existence. I don't think you have any support for this claim.

Boxing is a sport undertaken by two willing people who want to be there (in fact have worked very hard to be there). It is a controlled sport with well-defined rules.

More often than not the opponents, after punching each other in a hard-fought match, will leave respecting each other. And my son has fought matches with people who are his friends.

You are wrong about boxing and peaceful co-existence. I can tell you from experience that boxing opponents can have "peaceful co-existence" and even meaningful friendships.

Ironically my son's serious injury (yes he had one) was from one of his other sports (not boxing). Injury is a risk you take in anything worthwhile in life. But I have seen the good that boxing has done for him. His love for the sport. The hard work and passion it inspires from him. And I am very proud of the man he has grown into. As a parent, there is no way I would have taken this from him.
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Aug, 2009 12:37 pm
@ebrown p,
I'm happy for you that you see no antithesis.

Just one point puzzles me. If as you say boxing "is a controlled sport with well-defined rules", why would there be a specific brain condition termed "dementia pugilistica" ? However, consider it a rhetorical question ! Smile
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Aug, 2009 12:58 pm
@fresco,
There are inherent risks in many sports and many activities that people find personally fulfilling. Live is for living--- the fact is that we all end up dead anyway.

If my son (now an adult) feels that boxing is enjoyable-- and that it adds enough to his life to warrant the risk; What's the problem?

fresco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Aug, 2009 01:09 pm
@ebrown p,
I am not aware of any other interpersonal "sport" where the objective is to inflict injury (I am including all forms boxing/wrestling within "boxing"). To argue that injuries occur in all sports is facile.
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Aug, 2009 01:30 pm
@fresco,
First... including all forms of boxing and wrestling within "boxing" and the saying "the objective is to inflict injury" is simply wrong.

Olympic and Amateur boxing have a points system along with head gear and gloves designed to prevent injury. The objective is to score points. Wrestling, of course, doesn't even have a reward for causing injury. You get points for pins and escapes. In professional boxing, where the object is to knock-out your opponent and there is no protective equipment, you may have better argument.

As my sons coach points out-- far fewer injuries occur in Olympic/Amateur style boxing than in football or even cycling.

This seems to be a tangent.

The more interesting point I want to make is that aggression-- and even enjoyment of aggression, is a natural and healthy part of the human experience. Of course there are examples where this aggression is misused--

... but particularly in a controlled athletic setting, physical aggression is both enriching and fun.


fresco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Aug, 2009 01:45 pm
@ebrown p,
Quote:
The more interesting point I want to make is that aggression-- and even enjoyment of aggression, is a natural and healthy part of the human experience.


Healthy for whom ? The punchdrunk boxer or his former spectators ?
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Aug, 2009 01:58 pm
You didn't respond to my reference to Alice Paul-- one of my personal heros-- and one of the most aggressive women in history. She was a fighter with unmatched determination who kept pushing until she was victorious.

In case you don't know, Alice Paul was at the forefront of the fight for woman's suffrage. She broke windows, started a political party, agitated and picketed the White House.

When she was sent to jail, she escalated-- going on a hunger strike. They jammed a tube down her throat to force feed her raw eggs--- did she give up? No. At that point she knew she had them.

When she left prison she had the president himself by the balls-- she knew it, and he knew it. Because of this, you now have the right to vote.

Did she enjoy this? I sure hope she did (I sure would have).

This is a part of human nature that drives us to heroism. The struggle-- enduring hardship, pushing on an unjust opposition and eventually emerging victorious over your foes.

That the core of our literature. It is our sense of history and the contents of our dreams.

You can't get rid of aggression without losing the core of human experience.



fresco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Aug, 2009 02:02 pm
@ebrown p,
Quote:
You can't get rid of aggression without losing a core of human experience.


Sadly, you may be right. (allowing for the change of "the" to "a")
0 Replies
 
empiricism
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Dec, 2009 02:31 am
Do not forget where genetic discrimination has gotten us in the past. People are too quick to blame the gene for everything. Any behaviorial quirk at all I could find people blaming the gene.

Who here would like to think that all they are is the genetic expression of their parent's biological material?

"Bloodlust" is a huge number of behaviors, all varying in intensity. Is the bloodlust of the mass murder the same as the bloodlust of the casual boxing fan? The same as the violent video game enthusiast? The same as a Viking warrior from ages ago?

No, I don't think so. "Bloodlust" is a word for fantasy novels. It is not a word for science.
0 Replies
 
 

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