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Moral life … is based on increased love between mothers and daughters


 In The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined(2011), Pinker identifies six periods in which violence decreased significantly, proving, he argues, that we are getting more moral.
I'm fairly certain he wasn't the first to argue this, since the "we are getting more moral" part sounds triumphant Victorian. 
The part about how we moved towards states and commerce out of whatever we had been part of before, requires explanation. Is it possible the people changed first, became less violent first, and these same more evolved, more empathic, less violent people were attracted to different, unheard of, new-fangled kinds of organizing themselves, new societies? That is, democracy out of totalitarianism, not because "technology had empowered," or "requirements of competition required," or land-locked or small groups empowered, but because people were over generations becoming more loving, thus more moral, thus obviously democratic rather than ants at the feet of a bullying emperor. 
Lloyd DeMause is the one who has explored how slowly over time, mothers have been able to provide more love to their infants than they themselves received. These better-loved children are able to tolerate more societal growth, more pleasure, happiness, and have less of a need to project "bad selves" onto other people for violent persecution. Thus America as it is becoming in some parts today -- more tolerant and flexible than it has ever been. Thus the fewer lives lost to battles, wars, per capita, that Steven Pinker -- unaware (?), agreeing with DeMause -- argues has definitely been the story of history.  




@Patrick McEvoy-Halston Mass literacy exposed us to stories of people over the horizon who may or may not look like us on the page (and may not even be human people or anything more than abstract characters). This makes it possible for our empathy to extend itself. It also makes prurient sensationalism more of a thing, too, and gives us the opportunity to direct our fear and hate beyond the horizon as well. But as media gets more immersive and more interactive, our knowledge of the events of the world slowly makes the world known and familiar and changes our behavior toward empathetic responses.
So it's not that we're more physically empathetic, we simply have more opportunity to apply our empathy.


@andyh @Emporium  The intention to let yourself know, is not a human given. The person willing to tolerate a media providing a more immersive and more interactive knowledge of the world, is already on a pretty good path -- however much what he or she intakes can take them even further along it. 
The problem with this eventually though, is that most of us can end up feeling uneasy once we've broadened ourselves too much. This isn't a matter just of too much adjusting and finding ourselves completely untethered from origins -- thriving New York cosmopolitan from being modest Kansas farmer-born -- but that growth always carries with it our first memories of what growth meant for us -- which is leaving our mothers and fathers to attend to our own concerns solely. 
Outside of some of the progressive, both-partners-highly-involved, parents we see these days, who are so interested in their children they spend time with them throughout their lives, and who's interaction involves excellent reads of the children's needs and lends towards complexity and depth, most parents still require their children to satisfy their own unmet needs, and show it; and cannot help but react with some, or some considerable anger when children are understood as refusing them this (just like their own love-starved parents once did).
At an early age, parental denial, fury, is apocalyptic, and our capacity to tolerate growth, not stifle it, in future, will depend almost entirely on the precise measure of how our parents understood us then. In the aggregate, in most modern societies, we tolerate quite a bit, then start feeling abandoned, and then start feeling guilty, punishment-worthy. We follow up by projecting our bad-selves into some other people, and, now parent-loyal, and ourselves good boys and girls devoted to our mother nation, we go to war with them. This is probably the situation in Russia today, which for too long has let itself loose from Communist restraints and allowed themselves some individuality-empowering freedom. 

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