Naomi Sherer reviews...

Barbara Ehrenreich

An Evoluntary Perspective On Theories of War

A dozen explanations of why there are wars
come up often and here are some that satisfy nonspecialists
according to Barbara Ehrenreich:
"It is because of our innate aggressiveness...
or because of innate male aggressiveness...
or because of imperialism and greed...
or overpopulation and a shortage of resources...
or manipulation by evil, bloody-minded elites...
or it is simply a manifestation of unknowable evil."
Wars in our lifetimes appear to center on the theme of gender. But Ehrenreich searched back in time and found blood rites far more explanatory. She studied the feelings people invest in war and found forms of organized and socially sanctioned violence. Ehrenreich went into considerable depth to inquire about the source of our feelings toward war and how they played out in history.
Ehrenreich explores the ecstasy of war as a religion in the papers of other scholars in subjects ranging from mythology to psychology to animal studies to art to science of warfare. She confronts the mystery of our attraction to violence with comparison of various aspects in relation to ancient fears.
Her brilliant analysis forces a reader
to take a different look at an archaic practice
that has become the greatest single threat to human life.
Carefully footnoting her findings and referencing the sources for the reader's examination, Ehrenreich presents a monumental work in her analysis and discovers a new and startling direction of relevant scholarship in the study of violence.

In over two hundred and fifty references Ehrenreich pinpoints attitudes and actions of societies from Aeschylus, Stanislaw Andrzejewski, Homer, and Virgil. Authors such as Richard Dawkins, Riane Eisler, Lewis Mumford, Robert G.L. Waite, Dudley Young, Erich Fromm, and James B. Frazer touch on genetics, rituals, psychopaths, ecstasies, human destructiveness, and roots of religion.

Dozens of others are cited in publications since 1950 analyzing human behavior from the past about subjects as diverse as evolution, menstruation, symbols, mythology, human sacrifices, aggression, history of war, and warrior-heroes. Many of those are studies published in the 80's and 90's that scrutinize other earlier sources of human actions.

Throughout the search for truth of origins and history of the passions of war, Ehrenreich comes to this conclusion:
The earliest fear
of predation by vicious carnivores
that led to the sacralization and worship of war
should no longer be used as an excuse
for annihilating the human race.

Buy it now

Blood Rites
Origins and History of the Passions of War
Barbara Ehrenreich
Metropolitan Books
Henry Holt and Company, Inc.

ISBN 0-8050-5077-9


Consider novels by Naomi Sherer available on Amazon

Sagesong cover Rise to the Occasion cover
Coming Soon: Beyond Namche, The Open Door, Wildly in the Rockies

Naomi Sherer


[Home] [What's New] [Products & Services] [Feedback]

Send mail to Webmaster regarding any questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright © 1997 - 2010 - Salmon River Gazette - All Rights Reserved

Last Modified: Sunday, 28-Jun-2009 23:07:32 EDT