Social Evolution and Aggression

Wed, 14 Dec 1994 11:35:52 CST

increase or decrease with "civilization," as change direction--viz.,
from direction against others, to direction back on the self. One thing
that is clear is that in dense, populous societies (nations) of today,
suicide is up to twenty times more frequent than homicide; and though
the data are probably a good bit less trustworthy, it appears that in
sparse, less populous societies homicide is much more frequent than
suicide. In a paper published a few years ago, I reported the relevant
statistics and interpreted them as consistent with Freud's thesis in
*Civilization and Its Discontents*. (Hardcopies gladly supplied on
request.) S. Huelstra is quite right that these matters are difficult to
study systematically; but it is not impossible, and, as E. Silverman
says, *Civilization and Its Discontents* is a great point of departure.
--Bob Graber