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Are humans too aggressive to justify having a Nobel Peace Prize? (harvard.edu)
44 points by vixen99 5 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 24 comments

"...if humans do have a big capacity for peace shouldn’t we expect to find more accomplished people on this list?"

Go look at the list of Nobel Peace prize winners:


Some of the winners probably didn't deserve the prize and are now disappointing to see on this list (e.g. Obama or Arafat).

Some of the winners are symbols of inspiration rather than people who have accomplished much themselves (e.g. Malala Yousafzai).

However, there are a lot of highly accomplished people on this list who have made a huge impact on the world. Many of them just aren't as famous as some of the disappointments.

Alfred Nobel was a merchant of death. The fact that people striving for peace now feel honored by a Nobel Prize is deeply ironic, but perhaps this also shows that, even among those of us with the most blood on our hands, there exists the yearning for a more peaceful future.

It's exactly because there is so much violence that we need to reward actors who work to reduce it.

Exactly. Maybe it's aspirational, but there's something grand about recognizing those who strive for a better world.

Seriously. If anything that is the stated purpose of the creator of it after contributing to so much violence with dynamite.

For Harvard this is intensely stupid.

People always bring up dynamite with Nobel, like dynamite was a significant war-fighting weapon, rather than something that spurred tbe construction of the infrasructure that made modern civilization possible.

It's Bofors, and it's place among the Victorian era heavy arms cartel with Krupp and Armstrong-Vickers that he was ashamed of.

The reason people bring it up is Nobel’s own writing on the subject.

I think he’d know.

Doesn't look like Greenspun has any affiliation with Harvard. They just host his blog for some reason.

One might ask: are humans too stupid to justify having a Nobel Prize in physics?

Yes, and we have a whole clown show along with the bloody circus.

Always the same prophets at the sideline, wrinkling there noses in disgust- but also condeming those who pacify the situation with a constant surplus as greedy and disgusting human beeings. We have parasites that condemn killing mammoths, but know exactly how to cut it up and redistribute it. We have a whole caste of social controll freaks, who know exactly what is good and bad, unless they predict something completely wrong, like a society of violent gamers, and they can walk away from that defeat and not be ridiculed for eternity.

Not only are we not peacefull. But we are also unable to really understandf what facilitates peace, what actors are actually propelling the process of peacefullness-decay and how to sedate these actors.

Nuclear weapons are the only thing, keeping the sociopathic chieftains of olden times from sending us all to mass slaugther to avoid dealing with society internal pressure. How somebody can be so dumb to argue for removal of this society-implant, basically the pacemaker of 60 years of peace- is beyond me.

There was an awful lot of war in your "60 years of peace".

It was an awful lot less than most 60 year periods in human history.

Only between nations where one or both didn't have nuclear deterrence.

Or internally. Or at the behest of nuclear powers.


And I guess those are just 'direct' deaths so it doesn't count all the deaths of refugees or plague or starvation that arose from the conflicts.

>And I guess those are just 'direct' deaths so it doesn't count all the deaths of refugees or plague or starvation that arose from the conflicts.

And is there and reason to believe the killed anecdotally to killed in action ratio is different than it was pre-1945?

Starving refugees were a thing before nuclear weapons too.

Peace and war aren't intrinsically balanced; it's stupidly easy to make headlines as a bloodthirsty murderer, but it's hard to stand out as a builder or negotiator. There are millions of brilliant people who have devoted their lives to peace, who are shining examples of virtue and altruism and everything else, but their stories aren't seen as being as dramatic as Stephen Paddock's. And thus, instead of thinking about the multitudes of wonderful people around us every day, we dwell on some asshole who decided to shoot an assault rifle out his window. Paddock becomes a nationally recognized symbol while the best of humanity labors in obscurity.

Most of the crudeness of humanity can be attributed to this fascination with terrible things and people, I think. The Nobel Peace Prize can best be seen as a way of turning phenomenon around- of putting the spotlight on good people for once. There is no shortage of excellent candidates. That less-than-sterling examples sometimes win the Peace prize is perhaps a sign that the prize itself is being misused- awarding the prize to Obama was widely seen as an inducement towards, rather than recognition of, good- not it's intended purpose! The rest, the good-but-not-earth-shaking examples, are so just because the work of peace just intrinsically isn't earth-shaking; it's slow, subtle, and ubiquitous.

This is why I think that all Nobel Peace Prizes should be awarded only to those already deceased. It removes their ability to mess it up like some of the people from the list now.

Relative to what? Are we even considering the environment these humans were raised in?

You know it's no wonder no aliens have come to visit us, we're such a huge bummer we get caught in a knot for even congratulating ourselves for putting forth a good faith effort to improve.

Is it perhaps not more that all human institutions which keep secrets are emminently corruptible, and that is what has happened here?

The spirit is certainly worthy, the Peace Prize. But perhaps we should have "Peace Makers" supplant "War Makers" in the scheme of things - and recognize more of this strata, first.

Its one thing to have a prize, but the cultures which participate in these sorts of things, have to also be honest and understand their own hubris ..

Are humans to scientifically illiterate to justify having a Nobel Prizes for science?


The implication being that we should have a Nobel War Prize? (after all alfred nobel himself made bombs)

There's two reasons why this argument doesn't make any sense.

1. "Too aggressive" relative to what? There's probably never going to be an absolutely perfect, peaceful human being, simply due to our evolutionary roots. To suggest that this means we should abandon the peace prize is absurd. There's never going to be some perfect embodiment of peace, but that's not what the peace prize is for.

2. http://www.icanw.org/pledge/ If this list is "bottom-of-the-barrel-scraping" then please, scrape more of the "bottom of the barrel". Would we rather reward someone for managing 100+ nations to sign a treaty like this, or reward someone who posts indignant and borderline self-righteous rants in an internet blog? Again this is a throwback to the above point of relativity.

Bonus point: The Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Mother Teresa aren't good indicators that this prize has a purpose?

Edit: Added Desmond Tutu above because I'm a big fan

> "Too aggressive" relative to what?

Other humans (Homo not Sapiens). Sadly, we'll probably never know for sure, because it looks like we were responsible for wiping most of them out 10,000s years ago.

> Mother Teresa

Usually isn't a good example to bring up ... Mother Teresa has had her fair share of controversy.





Mother Teresa may have been a poor example, I admittedly don't know that much about her. Thank you for the insight. Though I don't think my post has no merit and warrants downvotes

Didn't downvote you for the record. If a comment's worth responding to, it doesn't make much sense to me to downvote it (:

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