How to popularize the violence inhibitor concept

Started by Volunto, Feb 07, 2023, 07:47 PM

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The full article with all sources can be found on the main page:

After reading this study and becoming familiar with the theory of the violence inhibition mechanism in detail, you may want to share your knowledge with others. Moreover, I would strongly recommend you to do this, as the more people are aware of the true nature of violence, the faster a solution will be found that will contribute to its complete eradication from social relationships in human society.

Before that, however, I would like to give you useful instructions on how to convince other people of the validity of the arguments and conclusions presented here. These instructions recap the essence of the entire study in a concise and understandable form. It is important to get acquainted with these instructions not only to convince other people but also in order to consolidate the knowledge you have gained.

Numerous myths about violence, which we have already considered in detail in the second chapter, are deeply rooted in the mind of a significant part of society. Therefore, any conversation on the topic of violence should begin with their dispelling, using clear and specific facts, as otherwise your arguments, due to the other's confidence in the veracity of all these myths, might look quite untenable, if not completely absurd.

The first part of your argument should look like this:

In most animals, intraspecific killings simply do not occur. In mammalian species, for example, they occur only in 40% of them. And only in 6% of species killings they reach such an abnormally high level as 5% or more out of all causes of death. It is worth noting that the killing rate of even the most aggressive hominids does not exceed this level.

Throughout human history, only 2% of people died from killing. It was not something ordinary even for prehistoric savages – that is a myth mostly based on separate archaeological excavations and the example of just two modern isolated hunter-gatherer tribes. Also, most of the killings have always been committed by separate violent groups of people, often organized in armies.

For example, up to 25% of the population of Cambodia died from the actions of the Khmer Rouge, which made up less than 1% of it. And according to one of the studies on the issue of the Rwandan genocide, even as little as 25 thousand people are capable of killing hundreds of thousands, or even a million people in 100 days. Think about it yourself – in order to do so, the murderers, on average, will have to make only 1 murder every 2.5 days. In the history of wars, genocides, and repressions, there were even cases when 1 man personally killed thousands of people.

Some military studies, relying mainly on data from the Second World War, claim that 98% of soldiers experience strong resistance to killing other people. Most soldiers, especially in draft armies, are simply cannon fodder, and only a small fraction of them constitute actual fighting power. And only 2% of the soldiers who survived after long continuous battles do not suffer from psychological trauma – these are the soldiers who barely experience resistance to killing.

Next, it is necessary to explain the reason for this state of affairs, that is, to talk about the theory of the violence inhibition mechanism:

Ever since the emergence of ethology – the science of animal behavior, there has been a theory that many species have innate inhibitors of intraspecific aggression. There are a number of factors that make harming and killing conspecific bad, threatening one's own survival, and therefore an evolutionarily suboptimal strategy. Two of them are especially worth highlighting: the presence of strong innate armament and the impossibility of fleeing violence, for example, due to the limited habitat of the population or strong dependence on social behavior.

For example, it is common for wolves to stop an aggressive skirmish when one of their conspecifics shows a submissive posture or exposes vulnerable body parts. Ravens never peck out each other's eyes. Many snakes do not use their venomous teeth in territorial fights. The males of almost all species of bovids, and antelopes of the oryx species, for example, while fighting for females, always handle their sharp horns carefully, while they use them freely to cause harm in case of defense from predators. Even such primitive creatures as jellyfish have a chemical blocker that does not allow them to sting their conspecifics that fall under their tentacles, while all other creatures would be stung automatically.

Humans are no exception to this rule. Even during early childhood, any normally developing individual would experience an aversive reaction to other people's distress cues – signs of sadness, fear, and pain that they express when someone commits an act of violence towards them. Over time, such aversion would be tightly associated with violence, making the individual unable to commit it even without observing any distress cues. Thus, the violence inhibitor plays an important role in the development of empathy and its dysfunction, as expected, is a direct cause of psychopathy.

The results of experiments with serotonin receptor agonists is an extremely important and convincing argument:

Animal experiments have shown that some serotonin 1A and 1B receptor agonists (the drugs that activate them) are able to selectively suppress offensive aggression without affecting defensive aggression (for example, when confronted with an aggressive conspecific), as well as other forms of behavior and social communication. This effect does not arise from the suppression of the activity of the nervous system, as is the case with antipsychotics. The effect is also not like the use of psychedelics which anti-aggressive and empathy-stimulating effects are usually highly non-selective. In this case, the activation of the serotonergic system suppresses only offensive aggression.

Also, worth noting that in the case of humans, some variants of the serotonin 1B receptor gene are strongly associated with aggressive traits, psychopathy, and aggressiveness from alcoholism. Moreover, increased aggressiveness is observed in people with certain variants of several other genes that directly affect the functioning of these receptors, such as MAO-A, also known as the "warrior gene".

After that, your interlocutor should be convinced of the existence of the violence inhibitor, which finally allows you to move on to the last topic – proposing solutions to the problem of violence:

Violence is far from a purely social factor. First of all, it is the result of a pathological condition, due to which one does not feel any aversion to violence, and also lacks empathy. A good upbringing or a supportive social environment can make such people less likely to commit violence. Unfortunately, this will never give a guaranteed result and is unlikely to correct their pathology in any way.

Such a problem requires the creation of a treatment that restores proper inhibitory control of aggression and all other feelings that are inherent in most people from birth. A sufficiently selective agonist of serotonin 1A and 1B receptors could be applied to violent criminals as an alternative to other forms of punishment and correction. A less selective but stronger and fast-acting version of such a drug could even become a safe alternative to tranquilizers, applied to people with obvious violent intentions, and perhaps even used in the form of a dart gun as a means of self-defense.

By far the best solution would be to create a gene therapy drug, a single injection of which will permanently fix the function of a defective violence inhibitor. Similar drugs already exist, such as the well-known Zolgensma used to treat spinal muscular atrophy.

Experimentally, gene therapy has proven to be extremely effective in treating even one serious genetic brain disorder that makes a person unable to speak and control their body, leads to seizures and a number of other similar symptoms. Administration of a gene therapy drug to children with this disorder in two cases even returned the ability to walk, which was considered fundamentally impossible for such a diagnosis. The possibility of using gene therapy in the treatment of neurological and neuropsychiatric defects of a genetic origin is also being actively studied.

It is possible to develop tests that would detect violence inhibitor dysfunction, passing of which would be required in the same way that medical examinations and vaccinations are often required today. The possibility of such testing has already been shown in one study of the violence inhibitor electrophysiology. However, it should also be possible to create simpler tests that do not require an electroencephalogram.

If all children were tested in this way and a gene therapy drug was applied to the small percentage of them who had such a disorder, then the problem of violence could be solved long before it occurred. With a wide application, such a practice could lead to the achievement of a free non-violent society, where there is no place for either private manifestations of violence or violence as a method of implementing and supporting certain social norms.

A conversation like this, taking less than 10 minutes, should convince almost any person of the validity of the theory we have considered. Of course, you can often expect additional questions, but if you have fully read the text of the study presented here, then answering them should not be a big problem for you. I also advise you to share the link to this page with other people so that they can read all the details themselves.

Also, if possible, it does not hurt to recall the problems that violence leads to in society and talk about positive social changes due to the eradication of violence. Perhaps a convincing argument is that in the modern and technologically advanced world, any violent conflict can lead to catastrophic consequences, such as the use of weapons of mass destruction.

A small percentage of people, even after that, will stubbornly stand on absolutely opposite positions, exposing violence as something natural and necessary. It is pointless to continue to convince them, as you can spend several hours on this to no avail. It is better to spend this time trying to convince a dozen other people who have less categorically pro-violence positions.