I am a research psychologist, whose continuing fascination with cognitive
mapping may seem an odd pathway to the study of violence. I see violence
in a very functional way, as one aspect of behavior which people apply to
the problem of living. It is often not an appropriate behavior, but it is
sufficiently common that it warrants serious consideration. The ubiquity
of petty and major violence is such that it seriously affects the
cooperative functioning of humanity.
What I accept at the moment is that life without violence appears somewhat
like life without digestion; a bit too ethereal for a realistic model.
Although I doubt that many people would call me a violent person, I do not
deny that I have violent impulses, and that I can comprehend violent
behavior. I think that it is partly the willingness to acknowledge what
goes on within me which allows me to make decisions which avoid a great
deal of actual violence. Thus my theoretical orientation is toward
understanding violent interactions, and developing models which will allow
individuals to understand their own behavior. In a practical sense, I see
the individual's acceptance and achievement of responsibility for their own
behavior as an important way of limiting violence. I do not think it will
eliminate violence, but I do think that such an approach is superior to the
attempts to legislate violence out of existence.
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