Peace and War LO29987

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 03/11/03

Replying to LO29978 --

Dear Organlearners,

Jason Smith < > writes:

>Horrible as it may be, I was wondering if war is such a
>niquely human thing. Isn't there evidence of "gang warfare"
>amongst apes?

Greetings dear Jason,

There is an international journal devoted to the study of primates:-
   "PRIMATES" A Journal of Primatology
For more information, see:-
< >
Unfortunately, it does not make copies freely avialable on the web.
(In the era of copyright one has to pay the publisher for the priviledge
to study scientific information.) Sometimes it has fantastic studies on
primate behaviour. There is also the:-
   Journal of Human Evolution
published by Academic Press. It sometimes have articles on primate
behaviour. For the rest one has to rely on books by people who have
studied primate behaviour for many years. There are, for example, the
following fascinating books:-
   Goodall, Jane. (1986). The Chimpanzees of Gombe: Patterns
      of Behavior. Cambridge: Harvard University Press
   De Waal, Frans. (2000). Chimpanzee Politics: Power and Sex
      Among Apes. John Hopkins University Press
Fellow learners can read more about, for example, De Waal at
< >
< >

Jason, the apes had been romanticised far too much for our own good. Yes,
warfare is one of many destructive human behaviours also to be found among
several species of apes. Hence i feel to conclude that making war is the
animal within us coming to the foreground. Seeking peace in the face of
inevitable war is the humane within us coming to the foreground.

What is that which makes us humane and let us stand out among all
other living species? Is it human activities like science, technology,
economy, politics and religion. No, with that we have made far too
many living species extinct. Is it human activities like talk, games, art,
exploring and restoring? I wonder, thinking of the ESCs (Elementary
Sustainers of Creativity). Fellow learners may have a look at
< >
where many fascinating behaviours of the great apes are told. I think
that ultimately it is the superior constructive creativity (in direct contrast
to destructive creativity) within us which let us stand out among all other
living species.

Among other things, constructive creativity is responsible for the
emergence and growth of humane virtues. It has been most strinking
to me how Benjamin Franklin focused in his autobiography on
cultivating his virtues and his innovativeness as if there is some hidden
relationship between them. (He does this so thoroughly that some may
mistake him for a great pretender.) Obviously, others may think
differently. For example, Matt Ridley uses in his book "The Origins
of Virtue" several topics from game theory, systems theory and
economic theory to trace the origin of virtues. A summary of the
book can be found at
< >
He concludes that the origin of virtues is the human instinct for the
greater good of humankind.

Constructive creativity culminates in our unrestricted love for God,
fellow humans and the rest of nature. For eons humankind made laws to
prevent inhumane acts like war, cannibalism and terrorism. Those who broke
the laws had to be punished, i.e., defend the society with offense against
the offender. But already 2000 years ago Jesus Christ came with a new
message. Although these laws cannot be undone, they have at most the power
to coerce a person in doing good. What is needed is a change of heart by
which fellow humans are dignified and served with love in a spontaneous

It is one thing to talk about how constructive creativity leads to a
humane society, but another thing to know what makes up constuctive
creativity and how it works. Unfortunately, few thinkers contemplated
it. Most outstanding among them all was Carl Rogers who, already
forty-five years ago, listed five conditions for constructive creativity .
Inner Conditions:-
*Openness to Experiences
*A habit of Internal Evaluation
*The ability to play around with concepts
External Conditions:-
*Psychological Safety
*Psychological Freedom
Fellow learners can study a paper at
< >
along his line of thinking.

Another person is Edward De Bono who holds that constructive creativity is
the overlapping of creative (lateral) thinking and constructive thinking.
Although Buckminster Fuller, to my knowledge, never used the phrase
"constructive creativity", his thoughts were often about it. Fortunately,
"constructive creativity" has not yet become a "treasure map" so that we
can give it serious contemplation at relative ease.

I think of it as follows, using the the body with its heart and the brain
as metaphor. The heart of creativity, whether constructive or destructive,
is the complex, non-linear dynamics of the Law of Entropy Production. But
the brain of creativity is the 7Es (Seven Essentialities of Creativity).
They are liveness, sureness, wholeness, fruitfulness, spareness, otherness
and openness. (One can trace several of them in Roger's thinking.) When
one or more of them are seriously impaired for the situation at hand,
creativity becomes destructive.

Since the world increases endlessly in complexity, we have to increase in
each of the 7Es to keep up pace. For example, Jan Smuts, Statesman and
father of holism="increasing wholeness", was deeply under the impression
of how WWI and WWII (in both which he had to fought) resulted as a result
of wholeness breaking up rather than increasing. He was the main architect
of both the former League of Nations and the present United Nations. He
was convinced that "increasing wholeness" would result if nations come
together in dialogue and cooperation rather than getting at logger heads
with each other.

It is potentially a great tragedy that some world leaders of today have
the opposite conviction. Innocent blood may soon become spilled because of
this conviction. Will we be able to prevent it with our constructive

With care and best wishes


At de Lange <> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

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