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The Terrible Two's


This weekend while shopping with my wife, Joyce, we heard an interesting story on our favorite radio station, NPR. It was the show, "The American Life," hosted by Ira Glass. This weekend the story was titled, "521:Bad Baby." What struck me as most interesting is the following two quotes from that show.  

"There's some studies that suggest that the peak of human violence is at age two. We are most violent of all at that age." ~ Paul Bloom

"Families survive the terrible twos because toddlers aren't strong enough to kill with their hands and aren't capable of using lethal weapons." ! Ira Glass to Paul Bloom

First, I believe that this first quote mostly applies toward the male of our species but since I am not an expert nor do I have any research to prove this I can also say there are females in this group as well. Remember, this is my personal opinion and mine alone.

Second, the next quote seems to sum it all up for the human condition in regards to violence. It seems to steer us toward the importance of what our families project as a young person grows up. It also seems plausible that at the age of two and on it might be critical. Even saying this the rest of the show does tell stories of children who are seemingly psychopathic from the age of two up through their teens with some actually becoming human while some remain "evil." 

This also appears to support many other theories about our violent nature. If babies are at their most violent at that point then nature intended us to be of that nature if for no other reason than survival. There are, of course, degrees as can be seen in this rendition of "Bag Baby." It would be interesting to see what research and studies were or are being done on this subject. I ask because in some of my personal research one or two authors allude to the hesitancy or resistance to study violence. They can do studies by interviewing criminals but that is faulty at best because of the nature of the criminal mind (speaking as a non-expert with limited research, etc.). Again, my opinion.

Note: this show is stream available if you wish to listen or you can read the transcripts at the below link. Listening will convey more of the story than merely reading the transcript. 

Our perceptions and beliefs are apparently, to my view anyway, critical in determining what kind of or level of violence and capability we have in a very general way. I understand there are a good deal of factors involved in how humans and violence combine and how those humans handle such things but as I said it apparently has something to do with how we deal with violence and how we deal out violence. You have to start somewhere. 

Personally, I know of at least one person who displayed such psychopathic tendencies and that person still deals with it today. Some of the things told in this story by Ira Glass rang a few bells in my memories of this person.

Interesting story and remember that it is a story that is on a radio show so we don't really know what kind of research and studies went behind its production but listening to the participants, real people living this, speaks volumes as to its validity at least in those families but take it all with a grain of salt and see what you find in your studies. 

1 comment:

John Vesia said...

"...children are violent well before they have been infected by war toys or cultural stereotypes. The most violent age is not adolescence but toddlerhood: in a recent large study, almost half the boys just past the age of two, and a slightly smaller percentage of the girls, engaged in hitting, biting, and kicking. As the author pointed out, "Babies do not kill each other, because we do not give them access to knives and guns. The question...we've been trying to answer for the past 30 years is how do children learn to aggress. [But] that's the wrong question. The right question is how do they learn not to aggress."

--Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature. 2002. (p. 316)