Giving Peace a Chance: On the Evolution of Violence

February 4, 2018 Joe Brady

An old saying from the tai-chi classics runs, Winning by fighting is the worst way; winning without fighting is better; winning hearts is best. We are currently living in the most peaceful, non-violent times in all of human history and almost nobody knows about it. Suffering from historical amnesia and media-driven myopia, most people today are certain that the world is going to hell in a hand-basket and that idea is utterly false. Every measurable indicator of violence has declined dramatically in the last few centuries and these declines have accelerated in the last fifty years.

Murder rates in the 1200’s were 100 times what they are today. Similarly wars, genocide, and child abuse have declined dramatically and more importantly social scientists and military historians have a pretty good idea of why. Centuries worth of effort by true martial artists, lawmakers, law enforcement and human rights advocates have succeeded in reducing violence to its lowest levels in history. Every measurable indicator of violence has declined dramatically in the last few centuries as more and more cultures realize the principles of non-violence advocated by tai-chi masters over the centuries. These tai-chi principles teach one to live in peace in a world that is not always peaceful. For the first time in world history, we might be able to truly give peace a chance… and evolve ourselves far beyond chimpanzees.

All this is documented and exquisitely referenced to scientific evidence in the book by Harvard’s Steven Pinker “The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined,” which Bill Gates called “the most inspiring book I’ve ever read.”

decline in violence

death by malice

The Better Angels of our Nature are Winning and Leading to a New Age of Enlightenment


Mr. Pinker’s forthcoming book, “Enlightenment Now,” makes the case that science and reason are reliable and successful forces for steady and measurable human progress …The dawning of a new “age of enlightenment may be upon us.


Bill Gates new favorite book of all time
By Bill Gates 

“I love recommending books to other people. When I finish one I enjoy, I immediately tell my friends and colleagues about it-and I recently read a book that was so good I couldn’t wait to share it with you. If you only pick up one book this year, make it Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker.

Pinker is one of my favorite authors. I loved The Better Angels of Our Nature so much that I still reference it all the time. When I heard he was coming out with a follow-up outlining the history of human progress, my interest was piqued.

Enlightenment Now is an amazing book. It makes the case for why you should be an optimist about where humanity is headed more persuasively than anything else I’ve read. I think it could convince even the most hardcore pessimist that the world is getting better.”

Most people have to wait until the end of February to read Enlightenment Now, but Gates Notes Insiders can get an exclusive first look at one of the chapters right now. 

Thanks for being an Insider.

Read my Gates Notes post Click here for Gates post with link to Pinker’s preview.

Joseph Brady is a nationally board-certified practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Joe also graduated cum laude with a triple Major in Psychology, Sociology, and Anthropology from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in the City University of New York. Joe did his first research work while working his way through college as an administrative assistant to the Director of the Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics. Working in the Coroners office in New York, Joe did research on the rates of violence in New York from the 1870’s to the 1970’s. What he found has both fascinated and inspired him ever since. Say’s Joe of this work “The idea that we are evolving into a less violent, more peaceful species is one of the most fascinating ideas in science, and I love it that we have the evidence now to prove it”.

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