If society would restart, how could it avoid violence both on the individual and community level?

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to WorldBuilding! If you have a moment please take the tour and visit the help center to learn more about the site. Your question is quite opinion-based. People have tried to establish a violence free society forever. Many believe that it's not possible for humans to be completely peaceful and creating a whole new society from scratch is too much for the format of StackExchange. Also does this include violence towards animals? Please try to edit your question to something that can be answered by focusing on certain aspects of society. $\endgroup$
    – Secespitus
    Aug 13, 2017 at 12:30
  • $\begingroup$ Restart from where? And what exactly would make the rebooted society want to avoid violence? Even at the dawn of the enlightened 21st century the idea that all violence is a Bad Thing is only held by a small minority of humans, who live particularly sheltered lives. The ability to even contemplate such an idea requires a highly sophisticated world view; therefore it all depends on the point from which you want to reload society. And please please, "community" is a tricky word; it may mean an extended family, a clan, a tribe, a nation, an empire and so on, or it may be utterly meaningless. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Aug 13, 2017 at 13:07

3 Answers 3


I'm not certain violence can be avoided, not with humans. We have evolved emotions of anger, jealousy, greed and a desire for prestige. We are naturally competitive.

These emotions and compulsions are evolutionarily selected and preserved because they are useful in attracting mates and ultimately producing offspring: Any of our ancestors with genes that caused them to never get angry (say a malformation of their amygdalae) were not successful enough at procreation to pass those genes down.

Whether we like it on an intellectual level of considering fairness and equity, or not, taking things by violence works. Murdering your rivals works (just ask Putin). Threatening them with violence works. For hundreds of thousands of years, violent rape often resulted in procreation. (Modern medicine allows preemptive birth control, and abortion if rape results in pregnancy, but that is a recent development).

No matter how you organize society, there will always be love triangles, jealousies over mates, money, jobs, possessions and house locations. Even if everybody had exactly the same homes and possessions by law: Alex still wants Betty for a mate and Betty wants to mate with Chuck and Chuck is happy to mate with Betty, but really wishes he had Diane, but Diane is very happy with her musician boyfriend Earl.

Further, the more you control some parts of this equation, the less happy people will be, and that magnifies the consequences of even trivial difference. If you impose so much control that people hate the monotony and drudgery of their lives, they are much closer to saying "Fuck it, I am not going to be insulted anymore!"

This is why you see people literally murder somebody over a game of billiards or over an insult in a dive bar: The murderer has a low paying subordinate job he hates, he lives in a crap apartment, and all he really owns is equality among a few friends in run down bar: When some asshole disrespects him and makes him look weak, they threaten to take away everything he has. So he goes to his 30 year old truck outside, gets the pistol from under the seat, comes back in and puts six bullets into that asshole. Because in his rage, the future if he does not is intolerable (and in his rage, his frontal cortex is sidelined so he is not thinking of any other consequences).

I do not think you can eliminate individual violence without fundamentally changing the human mind. Jealousy and anger are natural phenomenon; so is resorting to force. Little kids do it, pushing each other out of the way and hitting. In extremes, like under the threat of losing everything, at least some people will be emotionally overwhelmed enough that the frontal cortex will be sidelined and they will engage in violence no matter what the consequences may be --- because they are incapable, in that moment, of considering consequences.

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    $\begingroup$ It is telling that we know of no human society ever that was violence free. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Aug 13, 2017 at 14:51

Give them as much resources as they need and make the individuals appearances as similiar to each other as possible.

Most conflicts erupt, because someone is in dire need of something he can't afford or because they fear what the 'others' could do to them. It's a real shame, but many people, even nowadays, fear people from other countries, just because they look different. "They look different, so they act different. Different means worse and thus dangerous, right?"


People (whatever their species) need resources in order to live, not to mention do all the other things they want to do. Those resources are finite, and not evenly distributed, and some will already be in use by other people.

One way for people to get resources is to take them from others, but others will fight to keep the resources they already control. (there's your violence)

People might be willing to part with the resources they control in exchange for something, so trade might be a cure to violence. Unless people are in a state of perfect competition, however, trade won't always get people what they need. Inefficiencies will exist in the market, either because people don't know where to find what they want, don't known what they want, refuse to trade for it, anger some third party, and so on (read the wikipedia article for a full list).

If you really want to write about a society with as little violence as possible, a good place to start would be the list in that link. A system that dealt with all of of those problems would take you a good bit of the way toward a society in which people have no reason to hurt each other.


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