Torturing a prisoner of war, setting automobiles on fire, breaking windows during a demonstration, shooting at schoolmates... These events, which are quite different and occur in dissimilar contexts, share the idea that inside human beings there lurks a beast, ready to burst out. The beast’s name is aggressiveness. Do people really experience homicidal instincts and destructive impulses? Is human biology evil, and does it get in the way of peaceful coexistence? This book provides answers to these questions by adopting an unusual perspective. The author rejects stereotypical beliefs about aggressiveness, removes the many masks behind which the “beast” hides, goes beyond the universal and pessimistic view of violence, and erases the distinctions separating nature from culture, individuals from society. By emphasizing the intricate relationship between organisms and environments, the author invites the reader to understand human conflict in a more constructive and responsible way.
Adriano Zamperini teaches Psychology of Violence, Psychology of Social Distress, and Interpersonal Relationships at the University of Padova.