Sunday, December 24, 2006

"Make Love, Not War" - could this be true?


One day during the Iraqi war, I started thinking about the old idea "make love, not war". Could it be true that if our leaders spent more time making love, they would make less war? The media certainly has an easier time displaying violence and violent sex, rather than affection and loving sex.

Peter Good, author of The Monkey Experiment, called my attention to the cross-cultural studies of James Prescott -- which indicate that physical affection during infancy and adolescence reduces violence. So, "make love, not war" may even have a scientific basis.

We have yet to learn how to be for life rather than against life. Perhaps our leaders would do well to learn how to "make love, not war" and thereby set an example for a peaceful society. The following passage from Prescott is suggestive of a new way of looking at war and peace:

"The strength of the two-stage deprivation theory of violence is most vividly illustrated when we contrast the societies showing high rates of physical affection during infancy and adolescence against those societies which are consistently low in physical affection for both developmental periods. The statistics associated with this relationship are extraordinary: The percent likelihood of a society being physically violent if it is physically affectionate toward its infants and tolerant of premarital sexual behavior is 2 percent (48/49). The probability of this relationship occurring by chance is 125,000 to one. I am not aware of any other developmental variable that has such a high degree of predictive validity. Thus, we seem to have a firmly based principle: Physically affectionate human societies are highly unlikely to be physically violent."

from James W. Prescott, Ph.D.: Body Pleasure and The Origins of Violence. First published in The Futurist, April 1975, this version from The Bulletin of The Atomic Scientists, November 1975, pp. 10-20 (last modified 2002/05/11).

Image from McMaster University - U. S. Sixties History.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

What do we turn to? (part 2)


When Diane Shavelson heard my comments in Part 1 of "What do we turn to?" she reported changes within her lifetime in people's relationships to each other and media devices. Instead of seeking companionship, one turns on the TV or radio to fill up the room with voices and sound.

LISTEN TO "What do we turn to? (part 2)" (1677 kb; time 3:34)

Thumbnail image from Corbis.com image library.

Monday, December 18, 2006

What do we turn to?


How do we spend our days and nights? With people? With devices and media? Modern life has a new kind of turning to that's different from older societies. Now we turn more often to devices rather than other people. I've seen whole families sitting together at tables, each one with their smart phone communicating with others elsewhere (not those in front of them). Sad story it is.*


The Way We Live by Patricia Yollin, Staff Writer, San Francisco Chronicle, December 15th, 2006.

Monday, December 04, 2006

God in the Empty Places

I liked it when you almost said communicating with yourself rather than God. That's a lot of what God is for me. Maybe it's a personal god, maybe a guide, but when I speak to God I'm most often speaking to a part of myself. I'm not godlike, but that part of me is. In touch with everything, guiding my actions (I hope), telling me what I need to know. Maybe that's how God keeps us straight, or tries to—by living inside us, like a branch office in every city. A part of our being in touch with every other being, and there for us when we need it.

- Peter Good

LISTEN TO "God in the Empty Places" (time 3:23)