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The Possible Link Between Culture, Material Conditions, And War

3471 words - 14 pages

The possible link between culture, material conditions, and war

After the Second World War and finally after the Cold War and the Gulf War, many peo-ple agreed that there is no need for war anymore. Allies were conducted to maintain peace. But this belief was destroyed. Nowadays, we have to fear a war with Iraq. The question which rises is, if there is a possible link between culture, material conditions, and war? In my paper I will mention the anthropology of war and gender roles. Furthermore, I will discuss the interrelations between culture and war, and finally the interrelations between religion and war.

The first question is, if there was war from the beginning of human kind on, or if war just was developed over time? This is a hard question, which nobody can explain exactly. The movie “The Gods must be crazy” (1984) could be one example that in an uncivilized, isolated society people cannot have war, because they do not have reasons to fight about. They have everything they need various times. That means, they do not have to share things and in conclusion, do not have to fight about things. In the Kalahari Desert a family of African Bushmen had a life in an ideal fashion in harmony and peace. One day somebody dropped a coke bottle out of an airplane down to the Kalahari Desert. This bottle leads to disharmony and violence among the family. All of a sudden they have to share this tool which “God sent them”. Nobody can work without this tool anymore. That is the reason why they start fighting. But why can people not share, or need to have what they want at once without the patience to wait? That’s the problem of human kind in a civilized world. Civilized people change the environment to suit them. The Kalahari Desert could be one example that violence was not there from the beginning of the world on, but the origin of violence among human beings was the civilized world. Accordingly to O’Connell, “violence is not innate in humankind and violence is not inherent in civilization either (p. 6).” But why do we have war? Furthermore, he claims that “war is dependent on levels of ecological adaptation that is inherently transitory (p. 6)”. That means human beings are not evil from begin-ning on. They learn violence during their life. For example, Neolithic farmers did not know war until they were attacked by marauders, who destroyed their entire village and slaughtered who-ever they could kill. The survivors of this attack built a new, larger settlement. The living area was “surrounded by a massive wall” to protect them from enemies. They had never forgotten the attack of the marauders, which killed so many people. They built “a body of armed men [which] marched out of this settlement and did battle with an equivalent force, striving to conquer and so come to rule them (p. 3 f).” The farmers would have never thought about attacking somebody if they would not have been attacked by other people, and therefore learnt about violence. But how is...

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