The benefits of struggle. Part 3 | 794
Is Jordan Peterson right when he says that life is suffering?

On hostility, aggression and the birth of a prejudice

[ 3 min read ]

Hostility and aggression are the reaction to the lack of tolerance — they’re a defense mechanism. They feed off the lack of tolerance. Being told that you can’t do something, or believe something, or that you can’t live your life the way you want, all these things in the end lead to some form of hostility and aggression.

But they can also serve as a defense mechanism which can activate prior to an act of intolerance / assault on what’s dear to us (a preventive measure) — i.e. the act of intolerance / assault on what’s dear to us isn’t necessary. In such case their purpose is to defend the status quo and maintain a certain way of living (life philosophy, tradition, culture, customs, etc. — everything which people get used to). It aims at frustrating the occurrence of an act of intolerance / assault on what’s dear to us. The basis for this preventive measure / behavior has to be a past experience (we experienced it in the past and already know that other people tend to impose their way of thinking and living on others), thus we assume that it will happen.

Other species are incapable of being hostile, and of aggression. I believe it is so. They can only be violent. Violent, but not hostile.

Hostility is much worse than violence. Violence is a mere tool in a fight for survival or for territory in the animal world. Hostility and aggression, on the other hand, are born out of the need to defend something you believe in, in other words, to fight for the right to live life on your own terms, with your beliefs, tradition, etc. (with or without like-minded people). Survival or territory, if at all at stake, aren’t the primary cause of hostility and aggression.

Thus, hostility and aggression come with additional, or actually quite different mechanisms. These mechanisms aren’t mere tools in a fight for survival or for territory in the animal world. They’re mechanisms aimed at getting rid of, or at least seriously scaring off individuals or groups which are a threat to a certain way of thinking and living.

It’s way more dangerous than the mere fight for survival or for territory for you’re not responding to hunger or other basic need, or the possibility of being attacked by someone / group who is also hoping to get something to eat and/ or a piece of land (space). You’re fighting the enemy (your mental construct with an agenda, not merely a thing which is hungry and in need of some place where they could settle down).

And what people usually do with the enemy? They demonize it. They ascribe all sorts of bad intentions and characteristics to it. They make it seem worse so that they can mobilize themselves and other people for the fight (hunger and other basic need will never be nearly as effective). By now both sides are doing it.

If enough people will see the enemy as pure evil (out there to get and overrule them) they will stand up to it. And because you’ve bought into the idea that the enemy is bad (an evil force) which had hurt you and / or your people in the past (including your ancestors) or which inevitably will hurt you and / or your people, because it’s in them, in their blood, hurting these motherfuckers on purpose seems not to be such a bad idea (but more importantly, is permissible).

And thus a belief has been born, a stereotype. A prejudice.