Conflict and Brain Science

It is the motivation behind an act that determines whether it is ­violent or non-violent. Non-violent behavior is a physical act or speech ­motivated by the wish to be useful or helpful.

—The 14th Dalai Lama


Over two decades ago, Barbara Ehrenreich wrote a provocative essay ­entitled “The Warrior Culture” in the October 15, 1990, edition of Time Magazine. In her essay, Ehrenreich posits that American culture reflects images of turmoil, inhumanity to others, and death through violent means. As she states:

Our preference is for warrior themes: the lone fighting man, ­bandoliers across his naked chest, mowing down lesser men in gusts of automatic-weapon fire.

In America, we live in a warrior culture—a ...

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