The Better Angels of Our Nature

  • von Steven Pinker
  • Sprecher: Arthur Morey
  • 36 Std. 43 Min.
  • ungekürztes Hörbuch


We’ve all had the experience of reading about a bloody war or shocking crime and asking, “What is the world coming to?” But we seldom ask, “How bad was the world in the past?” In this startling new book, the best-selling cognitive scientist Steven Pinker shows that the world of the past was much worse. In fact, we may be living in the most peaceable era in our species’ existence.
Evidence of a bloody history has always been around us: the genocides in the Old Testament and crucifixions in the New; the gory mutilations in Shakespeare and Grimm; the British monarchs who beheaded their relatives and the American founders who dueled with their rivals; the nonchalant treatment in popular culture of wife-beating, child abuse, and the extermination of native peoples. Now the decline in these brutal practices can be quantified.
With the help of more than a hundred graphs and maps, Pinker presents some astonishing numbers. Tribal warfare was nine times as deadly as war and genocide in the 20th century. The murder rate in medieval Europe was more than thirty times what it is today. Slavery, sadistic punishments, and frivolous executions were unexceptionable features of life for millennia, then suddenly were targeted for abolition. Wars between developed countries have vanished, and even in the developing world, wars kill a fraction of the numbers they did a few decades ago. Rape, battering, hate crimes, deadly riots, child abuse, cruelty to animals — all substantially down.How could this have happened, if human nature has not changed? What led people to stop sacrificing children, stabbing each other at the dinner table, or burning cats and disemboweling criminals as forms of popular entertainment? Was it reading novels, cultivating table manners, fearing the police, or turning their energies to making money? Should the nuclear bomb get the Nobel Peace Prize for preventing World War III? Does rock and roll deserve the blame for the doubling of violence in the 1960s — and abortion deserve credit for the reversal in the 1990s?
Not exactly, Pinker argues. The key to explaining the decline of violence is to understand the inner demons that incline us toward violence (such as revenge, sadism, and tribalism) and the better angels that steer us away. Thanks to the spread of government, literacy, trade, and cosmopolitanism, we increasingly control our impulses, empathize with others, bargain rather than plunder, debunk toxic ideologies, and deploy our powers of reason to reduce the temptations of violence.
With the panache and intellectual zeal that have made his earlier books international best sellers and literary classics, Pinker will force you to rethink your deepest beliefs about progress, modernity, and human nature. This gripping book is sure to be among the most debated of the century so far.


Das könnte Ihnen auch gefallen:



Vom Wichtigsten in der Menschheitsgeschichte

Die Geschichte der Menschheit ist ein schwarzes Buch, eine Schlachthauschronik, durchherrscht von Gewalt, randvoll mit unaussprechlichen Grausamkeiten. Diese monumentale Gewaltgeschichte der Menschheit ist eine riesige Gelehrtenleistung und ein starkes Gegenmittel gegen die Versuchung einer verzweifelten Weltsicht. Denn es gibt sie, die andere Geschichte der Menschheit die hoffnungsvoll und zupackend optimistisch stimmen kann, denn als deren Leitmotive lassen sich wachsendes Mitgefühl, steigende Bildungsteilhabe und der Rückgang(!)sämtlicher Spielarten von Gewalt behaupten. Steven Pinker schreibt glasklar, argumentiert stringent, inspiriert zur Dankbarkeit für alle technischen, humanitären, kulturellen und zivilisatorischen Errungenschaften die unsere Gattung in die friedlichste(!) Epoche seit Menschengedenken geführt haben. In der deutschen Übersetzung: "Dieses Buch handelt vom Wichtigsten, was in der Menschheitsgeschichte jemals geschehen ist...Die Gewalt ist über lange Zeiträume immer weiter zurückgegangen, und heute dürften wir in der friedlichsten Epoche leben, seit unsere Spezies existiert..." Wer im Abgleich solcher Worte mit all den gegenwärtigen Krisen und Katastrophen ernsthaft, ja verärgert am Urteilsvermögen des Autors zweifelt der möge sich doch auf dieses spektakuläre Hörbuch einlassen. Haben wir doch Vertrauen auf die Kraft der "besseren Engel unserer Natur" ohne je die Macht unserer "inneren Dämonen" zu unterschätzen.
Eine aufwühlende Bildungserfahrung!
Lesen Sie weiter...

- doktorFaustus

A great work!

I would advice anyone not just to read this book, but to make it a book of study. I’ve listened to it twice now, and now I’m also reading selected chapters, hoping I can get just half as clear minded as Steven Pinker about our inner demons and better angels. If you are interested in keeping and making the world a better place, if you want to understand our species’ history and potential for doing harm and doing good. You should make this book a book of study, hoping it might make yourself act, think and perceive, what chance and history will throw at you, in an enlightened way.
Lesen Sie weiter...

- Henrik

Weitere Infos zum Titel

  • Erscheinungsdatum: 04.10.2011
  • Verlag: Brilliance Audio