HISTORIC STATEMENTS AND TRENDS
Benedict points to the fundamental double-standard regarding homicide --- both murder and war
are homicide, but murder is penalized even by death, while homicide in war is glorified. War is
homicide that is rewarded with unquestioned acclaim and gratitude from one's fellows, whereas
murder is homicide with penalties including in some cases capital punishment (pp. 370-371).
War is not a universal (p. 374), some societies like the Serrano Indians of southern California
have no concept of war (p. 371). However, war can also be found among some primitives with
horrible acts (p. 382). But there are different kinds of war (p. 370), and some wars much more
destructive and even suicidal (pp. 373, 378).
Mead (1940, 1964).
War is organized [armed] conflict between two groups as groups (p. 127). War is not a biological
necessity, it is a cultural invention. It is not a universal, not all societies have the idea of war (p.
127-128). War is inevitable only to the extent that a society has and accepts the idea as one way
to manage certain situations (p. 129). Simple and complex societies, mild and aggressive
societies, will all go to war if they have the idea (p. 130). Mead appears to distinguish between
war, duels, and vendettas (blood revenge) (p. 130). War is part of our thought whether in our
history, diplomacy, or children's toys (p. 132). However, war is an idea and not inevitable (p.
132). Humans need to realize that war is a bad idea, a poor invention, and that, since it is not a
biological necessity and therefore inevitability, it can be replaced by a better idea, a better
invention (p. 133)[i.e., peace and nonviolent conflict resolution].
Biological anthropologist Montagu critiques the ideas of one of his influential teachers, Sir
Arthur Keith, the "biological-nature-of-war school" --- that war is natural, universal, and
inevitable, a part of the struggle of survival of the fittest [social Darwinism] by questioning what
is nature and natural (only a social construct), the indiscriminate application of terms like war to
nature as in animal aggression which only conflates matters, and argues that war is an invention