An End To Murder: Human beings have always been cruel, savage and murderous. Is all that about to change? Paperback – Illustrated, Large Print
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Human beings have always been cruel, savage and murderous. Is all that about to change?
From the Back Cover
An end to murder?
Human history can be seen as a catalogue of cold-hearted murders, mindless blood-feuds, appalling massacres and devastating wars. Our ingrained habit of conflict constitutes the chief threat to the survival of our species. But, with developments in forensic science and modern psychology, and with raised education levels throughout the world, might it soon be possible to rein in humanity’s homicidal habits?
In this fascinating exploration of human nature Colin and Damon Wilson offer an analysis of the overall spectrum of human violence throughout our history – from the first hominids to the twenty-first century, and explore the latest psychological, forensic and social attempts to understand and curb modern human violence. They also explore the possibility that humankind is on the verge of a fundamental change: that the internet and the greater freedom of information it has brought is leading, gradually, to a profoundly more civilised world than at any time in the past.See all Product description
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The result is an odd mix, but fascinating nonetheless. The whole book is about crime (a regular hobbyhorse for the older Wilson) but takes a much broader view than is usually seen in true crime books. Damon Wilson – writing the beginning and the conclusion of the book – takes a very historical sweep. He starts with the earliest human ancestors in prehistoric Africa, and follows the development of our species up to the present day, with special reference to our violent habits and instincts. On the way he takes surprising but interesting dives into side passages – like the odd effect of the way we walk has had on the human mind set; what he calls ‘civilised cannibalism’ (meaning, I think, ruthless social exploitation); and the influence of certain key sociopaths on the more inhumane trends in modern society. These sections read very much like Colin Wilson’s Criminal History of Mankind, and were clearly meant to echo that book; although the younger Wilson takes a pretty radical view on most social issues. This is rather at odds with his father’s more right-wing standpoint (after all, he was a regular columnist for the Daily Mail).
Colin Wilson’s part – about a third of the whole volume, towards the end of the book – is very autobiographical. Here he is exploring old ground for his regular readers – sadism, serial killers and literary criticism – but he does it with new ideas and captivating asides about his own life as a non-professional criminologist. These include some dark but gripping revelations about his prison correspondence with two of the more horrific serial killers of the modern era (Britain’s Ian Brady, and the Florida killer, Danny Rolling). The result, for me as an old fan, was both comfortingly familiar yet always surprising. Colin Wilson of course had no idea that this was going to be the last thing he ever wrote – in a career of over a hundred individual books (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colin_Wilson ) – but his section of this book caps his non-fiction writing in as neat a way as could be asked.
The book’s conclusions – that we, as a species, are becoming less violent – echoes Steven Pinker’s ideas in The Better Angels of Our Nature. This is where Damon Wilson rather falls down, I think. He gives some statistical examples of the fall in violent crime rates in the past twenty years, then dives off into explanations about why this seems to be happening and why he thinks it will continue. He doesn’t really address the fact that most people simply won’t accept this counter intuitive idea. Here Steven Pinker’s more academic book makes a more convincing case for the ‘civilising process’.
Nevertheless, I greatly enjoyed reading An End to Murder, and recommend it to Colin Wilson fans, and to those who have never read any of his many previous books. It just make me sad that that we will hear no more from that great and optimistic mind.
The books runs along these following themes -
Violent crime is committied by hoodies that need a hug. Nurture over nature.
War criminals and soldiers are just following orders and are brainwashed. Nurture over nature.
Serial killers are from broken homes with much violence and are often sexually abused. Nurture over nature.
Recorded violent crime levels have apparently declined or at least stabilised worldwide. Most people would disagree with this statement I suspect. They basically rely on a statistic that per 100,000 people, more violent crimes were recorded in Oxford in 13th century than 21st century London. No other variables are looked in, just one statistic over 800 years apart.
There are some real gems as well -
Fights in UK pubs are apparently a thing of the past according to some bobbies that were interviewed.
Ask yourself a simple question, 'would you give your life for the life of a stanger or young child?' If not, you are a socipath as 99% of the population would naturally do so.
Aquatic ape theory is a reality. Google that one and you'll get a good ole laugh.
556 pages of absolute liberal nonsense, no doubt compiled by people who have many dinner parties in Islington, downing bottles of Dom Perignon.