The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (MP3 CD)
We ve all asked, What is the world coming to? But we seldom ask, How bad was the world in the past? In this startling new book, the bestselling cognitive scientist Steven Pinker shows that the world of the past was much worse. In fact, we may be living in the most peaceable era yet.
Evidence of a bloody history has always been around us: the genocides in the Old Testament and crucifixions in the New; the gory mutilations in Shakespeare and Grimm; the British monarchs who beheaded their relatives and the American founders who dueled with their rivals.
Now the decline in these brutal practices can be quantified. Tribal warfare was nine times as deadly as war and genocide in the 20th century. The murder rate in medieval Europe was more than thirty times what it is today. Slavery, sadistic punishments, and frivolous executions were unexceptionable features of life for millennia, then were suddenly abolished. Wars between developed countries have vanished, and even in the developing world, wars kill a fraction of the numbers they did a few decades ago. Rape, hate crimes, deadly riots, child abuse all substantially down.
How could this have happened, if human nature has not changed?
Pinker argues that the key to explaining the decline of violence is to understand the inner demons that incline us toward violence and the better angels that steer us away. Thanks to the spread of government, literacy, trade, and cosmopolitanism, we increasingly control our impulses, empathize with others, debunk toxic ideologies, and deploy our powers of reason to reduce the temptations of violence.
Pinker will force you to rethink your deepest beliefs about progress, modernity, and human nature. This gripping audiobook is sure to be among the most debated of the century so far.
About the Author
Steven Pinker is Peter de Florez Professor of Psychology at MIT. His research on visual cognition and the psychology of language has earned prizes from the National Academy of Sciences and the American Psychological Association. Pinker has also received many awards for his teaching at MIT and for his books How the Mind Works (which was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize) and The Language Instinct. He is an elected fellow of several scientific societies, associate editor of Cognition, and a member of the usage panel of the American Heritage Dictionary. He has written for the New York Times, Time, The New Yorker, The New Republic, Slate, and Technology Review.
Arthur Morey has recorded countless audiobooks, including titles by such authors as M. Scott Peck, John Updike, Richard Russo, Anne Tyler, and John Irving. He attended Harvard and the University of Chicago and has taught performance and writing at Fordham, Northwestern, and the Art Institute of Chicago. Arthur has appeared in a host of off-Broadway and off-Loop productions. He has won three AudioFile Magazine 'Best Of' Awards: in 2011 for BIOGRAPHY & HISTORY, in for History & Historical Fiction, and in 2009 for Nonfiction & Culture. His work has also garnered multiple AudioFile Earphones awards, and he has been nominated for an Audie Award.