Monday, 26 November 2012

Definitions of violence and aggression

I like the non-aggression principle (NAP) and I believe that people benefit from using it in the world as it is today. Since discovering NAP, I am constantly looking for new areas of life where it can be productively applied.

It seems obvious to me to me that people who are less aggressive are on average more successful and happier. They may not have heard about the non-aggression principle, but their behavior is somewhat in agreement with it anyway because of the way they were raised or because of what they leaned later in life.

NAP says that it is good (in some sense of the word - to be explored later) not to initiate violence against other people. This is a radical notion and one not widely accepted in the society. I suspect that one day it will be though.

Below is a definition of violence which I will be working with. It is a comprehensive definition. Usually by aggression people mean initiation of physical violence against persons, property and fraud but I prefer a broader definition because it makes NAP more applicable to every day life of an average person.

Violence is:

1. Non consensual physical interaction and threats of it. Examples include:
   - hitting and throwing objects at people,
   - physically restraining people,
   - killing, shooting, poisoning, war,
   - kidnapping,
   - spanking,
   - extortion, including taxation.

2. Any other unwanted interaction with a person:
    - interrupting sleep,
    - interrupting work,
    - interrupting or destroying a conversation,
    - invasive selling of ideas to people who do not want it,
    - trolling communication in a verbal or non verbal way,
    - sharing negative attitude if this is not welcomed,
    - making demands (as opposed to communicating consequences),
    - spamming.

3. Interaction with an object unwanted by a person who created or obtained it:
    - removal of a parked car,
    - taking away a mobile phone when the person who created or obtained it is not watching,
    - vandalising a bicycle,
    - reading somebody’s secret communication.

4. Spreading false information if it does damage:
   - deceiving and defrauding, including propaganda,
   - misleading using verbal and non verbal communication,
   - labelling people and calling them names,
   - making false promises,
   - libel and slander,
   - claiming authority and making demands.

Aggression is the initiation of violence.

Not all violence was created equal. Obviously a physical assult is more serious than theft of a small amount or an uninvited non verbal comminication of disapproval.

Not all violence is aggression. For example recovering damage from a perpetrator by withdrawing money from his bank account without his conscent is a violent act does not breach NAP.

Not all damaging behaviour is violence because some damaging behaviour can be welcomed by the subject. For example giving someone a cigarette damages the person's lungs, but is not violent.

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