Steven Pinkner - “The Surprising Decline in Violence”
Steven Pinker charts the decline of violence from Biblical times to the present, and argues that, though it may seem illogical and even obscene, given Iraq and Darfur, we are living in the most peaceful time in our species’ existence.
In my opinion, technology has advanced to such a degree of state surveillance over the individual, and media coverage of violence has become so culturally pervasive, that the philosopher Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan (as cited in this TED Talk) might have a point in his "war of all against all":
Hereby it is manifest that during the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called war; and such a war as is of every man against every man. […] In such condition there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.