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Old 04-07-2003, 12:53 PM   #51
Alfonso
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Re: Re: Just for good measure...

Quote:
Jun Akiyama (akiy) wrote:
Actually, if you weren't there at all, there'd probably be no violence to begin with. By stepping aside or whatnot, you've still made a conscious choice to affect what's going on...

-- Jun
a pox on editing time..

Didn't O-Sensei step out of the way, to the effect that the swordsman smashed his shoulder against the wall, which led O-Sensei to reformulate his Aikido? I understood that he felt that stepping out of the way was not Aikido for the reasons above too..

This discussion on violence seems to revolve around Nage. I think it's perfectly possible for Nage to act without intent to do violence, and yet the results may be violent (as in violence of nature) by the fact that the attacker IS purporting to do violence. I believe that Aikido is about transcending even the intent to do violence of the attacker ..

Can you do technique with intent to harm ? Unquestionably yes, the possiblity is there! But is that AIKIDO technique you just did? I understand it isn't. What would you call it? Well, for lack of a term, some people will call it Jujutsu (which offends jujutsuka because it implies their art doesn't have ethics to it)..

Atemi in Aikido isn't done with the intent to harm and abuse or to destroy, no? It's done to cause the attacker to react in a way that will allow Nage to use a technique that will save their ass from being killed..

So there's violence in intent or purpose, violence in action , and violence in hindsight.

I believe Nage in Aikido cannot have the first , may still result in the second, and would probably feel bad at the third.

And what about UKE? How should attacks be made? Is Aikido Nage alone?

Alfonso Adriasola
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Old 04-07-2003, 01:29 PM   #52
paw
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Ward,

My question was meant to be retorical. But since you answered....

I notice that you choose a definition of atemi that makes everything very nice and neat. I submit that most folks would say that atemi = striking. More specifically, a strike to a vital area. If memory serves, George Ledyard elaborated on this in a previous post (please correct me if I'm wrong). To summarize, it's a fight ending strike, meaning physical damage has been done. You could, of course argue that without ill intent, such an action is not violent .... Which I would reply, again, that accidentally or incidentally, your intention would not absolve you from any applicable laws.
Quote:
If Atemi does not produce harm, either intentionally or not, then it is non-violent.
One definition of harm is "Physical or psychological injury or damage" If atemi does not have at least the possibility of physical injury, uke may ignore it completely, can they not? If atemi has the possibility of physical damage, has it not caused psychological damage?
Quote:
People seem to forget that someone adept at Aikido will lead and direct their attacker prior to the actual 'technique' - they dictate what the attacker can and cannot do.
So if the attacker does something unexpected we may conclude the defender wasn't adept? I understand your point, and I've seen it as well, when there was either a) cooperative training or b) a very large differential in skill and experience. Barring either of those two conditions, on any given Sunday ....

I'm starting realize why there are so many lawyers in the United States.

Regards,

Paul
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Old 04-07-2003, 02:01 PM   #53
W^2
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Freaky! Dare to be an individual...

Hello again Paul,

I see that instead of addressing a flaw in my posts you've chosen to redefine the argument to suit your paradigms - most people say this, this is most likely to happen, etc. Hey, if you don't agree - no sweat - but If I am in error then please point it out explicitly; show me where my posts go awry logically so that I may grow from it. Otherwise this is just a subjective matter of opinion, rather than an insightful discourse.

Cheers,

~Ward
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Old 04-07-2003, 02:06 PM   #54
W^2
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Lightbulb While I am at it...

I practice Atemi all the time - psychological Atemi. The way I carry myself, the look in my eyes, etc., and so far no one has gone to counseling as a result - at least to my knowledge. In fact, in the very few times where violence has been threatened against me (including death threats), I've never had to run or resort to physical techniques. Maybe I'm just lucky...I'd rather be lucky than good.

~Ward

Last edited by W^2 : 04-07-2003 at 02:13 PM.
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Old 04-07-2003, 02:18 PM   #55
DGLinden
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Drew,

Thank you for your thoughtful response. I do feel that when one trains to break arms, dislocate shoulders and fracture necks and backs - learn hundreds of ways to accomplish this - and actually practice doing it with live human beings, well, if it quacks like a duck...

NO - if you bump your wife and she dies in the fall I guess she was not a victim of violence. Unless you actually study how to bump her just so... Tell me... is an auto crash violent? Is a burning building violent? Are we just jerking around with semantics?

Violence appears to me to be doing anything that harms another person, I just don't care about your intent - it doesn't matter. If one was truly of a perfect aiki mind one would emulate those perfect Indian masters who would rather die than hurt another being.

I think I should stipulate here that I have no problem at all with violence. I hunt and fish and practice a martial art - I would be a hipocrite to deny it.

Daniel G. Linden
Author of ON MASTERING AIKIDO (c) 2004
Founder Shoshin Aikido Dojos
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Old 04-07-2003, 02:30 PM   #56
jimvance
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Quote:
Mike Lee wrote:
I think the "bad" kind of violence that we should be considering is an emotion. A person can feel when a thirst for blood and vengence wells up inside. It's not good, and in my opinion, its not right.
I agree with you Mike in a way, and I absolutely loved your "two linebacker" story, I thought you offered a great analogy there. Not to sound sound semantically persnickity, but I would change the words "an emotion" in your quote above to the word "abuse". I have a hard time affecting my emotions (as I believe they are mostly chemical responses to conditioned stimuli), but I always have the option of letting them affect me. So I really have two long term goals: rewiring the conditioning that triggers certain emotional-chemical responses (my teacher calls this "desensitizing and then resensitizing") AND learning "non-attachment through awareness" (this is known in my dojo as "muga mushin", kinda sounds familiar).

J. Krishnamurti brings up the point in his writings that knowing and attention are not the same. I think he is trying to say what we call violence is a pattern we make up after the fact, and that any sort of arrangement of the facts-as-they-are interrupts the attention we may have on those facts. Krishnamurti's perspective echoes what is taught at my dojo and other religious communities, like Zen Buddhism.

I will state again that we live in a violent universe, but that how we allow ourselves to perceive (the bridge/filter between awareness and knowledge) violence dictates our interaction with it. Birth is violent but beautiful, the level of harm acceptable because the perceived benefits far outweigh the harm. A fatal gunshot wound is violent but abusive, the level of harm unacceptable because the perceived harm outweighs the benefits. How would we perceive childbirth if more than half of all mothers died during the process? How would we perceive a gunshot wound if it was an animal we were killing for safety or survival? (What if that animal was another human aiming a weapon at me? Enter the realm of the policeman and the soldier....)
Quote:
Alfonso wrote:
And what about UKE? How should attacks be made? Is Aikido Nage alone?
We are trained very systematically at the Jiyushinkan, and uke learns to attack in a very systematic way. I noticed through my own training that I went through (and continue to go through) several stages as an "attacker". The first was being uncomfortable, because we put our hands in the faces of our targets. Then there was over-exertion, because I didn't think it really worked, then there was over-cooperation, then aggression, then relaxation, and now it's honesty. I don't know how many more stages I will go through, and I don't care, they are all neat. Working up to the aggression stage required me to think up all sorts of wierd emotional stimuli in order to put my hand in someone's face and push them down in a way that is at once very effective and at the same time very gentle. I was releasing all sorts of pent up crap through this practice, and coupling that with the fear/adrenaline/release of ukemi makes for very life-changing stuff.

My perception of violence is led by my experience as uke; it is proven and tested during my experience as tori. These are not titles, they are simply relationships in the pattern of Aikido practice. My goal now is to be as effective as I can while doing as little harm as possible. I want that feel of "clean violence" that Mike illustrated in Howie Long.

Jim Vance
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Old 04-07-2003, 04:08 PM   #57
paw
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Ward,

I thought I was pointing out errors in your reasoning and explictly doing so.

I thought I argued that:

1. a) not everyone would agree with that definition of atemi b) atemi causes harm -- if not physically, then psychologically by forcing uke to react to the possibility of physical harm

2. I don't believe anyone has the ability to lead someone insofar as dictating what they can and cannot do on such a level as to virtually eliminate harm unless it is either cooperative training or they are far more skilled and experienced than their attacker.

We can agree to disagree if you feel that I'm reframing the argument. That's cool. No worries.

For the record, I find myself in agreement with Dan,
Quote:
Violence appears to me to be doing anything that harms another person, I just don't care about your intent - it doesn't matter.
Unless posts are specific addressed to me, I'm done. Thanks all for a very thought provoking discussion.

Regards,

Paul
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Old 04-07-2003, 05:56 PM   #58
W^2
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Hello Paul,

1. A) It isn't a matter of whether people agree with my definition of Atemi, but whether it is inaccurate. If it is someone should prove it to be so.

B) Atemi doesn't have to cause harm and saying it always does simply isn't accurate. My personal examples of non-violent Atemi suffice for me - no ones gone to counseling yet, to my knowledge.

2. If you don't present any openings and someone attacks, are you not leading them into a strategically disadvantaged/weak position? This is a basic aspect of the Kihon Waza - it's why we learn the techniques in the Ma-ai that we do.

Anyhow, these are just my thoughts on the subject - like anyone else here.

~Ward
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Old 04-07-2003, 06:34 PM   #59
W^2
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Do symbol Atemi - by way of example...

A simple, effective, and non-harmful psychological Atemi - confusion.

A 6'4" Alaskan fisherman at a boat harbor once threatened to kill me. All I was doing was retrieving Pepsi from a vending machine, when around the corner came a mean drunk...he threatened me and reached back for a knife, I said fine - go right ahead and do it (kill me). Of course, I had the advantage the whole time; It was night, I had the light of the vending machine behind me, he had a twenty foot drop into the water behind him, I was sober, he wasn't. He reconsidered his first remark and told me to leave, I said no. He apologized and tried to explain his inebriated frustration [with the world], then went on his way. I don't think he even remembered the event to be honest. See my point?

~Ward

Last edited by W^2 : 04-07-2003 at 06:41 PM.
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Old 04-07-2003, 07:28 PM   #60
Kevin Leavitt
 
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remember: guns don't kill people, people do.

the weapon itself is not violent, it is the person using it.

The anger and rage the person uses is what takes a weapon, a fist, or a hand and makes it violent.

It is all in the intent of use.

In the dojo we can do atemi and use it in a non-violent, cooperative, learning way....couple it with anger and rage, then it becomes violent.

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Old 04-07-2003, 08:59 PM   #61
paw
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Ward,

1 b.
Quote:
A 6'4" Alaskan fisherman at a boat harbor once threatened to kill me. All I was doing was retrieving Pepsi from a vending machine, when around the corner came a mean drunk...he threatened me
No physical attack was made, yet you felt threatened. Why? Psychologically, the fisherman attacked with atemi. If this was not so, why did you make any defense at all?

Consider further, hostile work environments. In most cases, no physical contact is made. Nevertheless, people bring forth charges and win. Why? They were afraid based on the social atmosphere .... psychological harm was done.

The psychological effect of violence on a community is yet another example. There is a large body of evidence of people who witnessed violence (it did not occur to them, they were not physically harmed) yet they suffer as though it happened to them. (Children whose parents were physically abused, but the children were not harmed).

These are examples of non-physical atemi (your definition) causing psychological harm.

2. Everyone has openings.

Kevin,

Why was a firearmed designed? To end life. Period. You can use it as a paperweight if you want, but it's purpose was to punch a hunk of lead through armor with enough force to kill whoever was in it.

I submit that such a tool is inherently violent. The fact that it could be used for the greater good isn't relevent, in my opinion. Now, apply the same reasoning to atemi (and note that you are using atemi differently than Ward's definition....) What conclusion do you draw? (retorical question)

Regards,

Paul
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Old 04-07-2003, 09:51 PM   #62
W^2
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Talking You can lead a horse to water...

...but it's still a horse.

Hello once again Paul,

He told me he was going to kill me, it doesn't get any more overt than that, and his attack didn't do any psychological harm to me either.

Speaking of hostile work environments...I work at a non-profit correctional facility here in Juneau. We run the local CRC (Community Residential Center) for the State of Alaska Dept of Corrections - otherwise known as a halfway house. I've seen and dealt with the full gamut of personalities here - murderers, sex offenders, etc., and I've never been threatened by an inmate, either directly or indirectly.

Once again, no one is saying that attacks aren't violent, but my response/atemi to this particular persons nonsense weren't violent - it ended peacefully for all.

Non-physical attacks in general do not equal the non-physical Atemi we practice in Aikido, this is a misunderstanding on your part.

The point isn't whether people have openings, but rather that Kihon Waza teach us leading as we learn them - it's a part of the technique.

~Ward

Last edited by W^2 : 04-07-2003 at 09:55 PM.
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Old 04-08-2003, 03:12 AM   #63
happysod
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Kevin, you quoted the

"remember: guns don't kill people, people do.

the weapon itself is not violent, it is the person using it."

Absolutely, totally agree. But, a frying pan isn't normally a weapon (except in the hands of a bad cook), but can still kill. So while a weapon itself is not violent, it's sole purpose is violence. In a similar way, any untrained person can peform violence, it's not exactly difficult to be violent after all. However, you've decided train in a martial art which is, philosophy aside, dedicated to efficient violence.

Ward, I agree, we're just not going to see eye-to-eye on this. I think I'm, going to have to leave you continuing in your spiritual growth while I continue to devolve - ho hum. Mind, you're still wrong!
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Old 04-08-2003, 03:39 AM   #64
mike lee
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gone fishing

I wonder what Dennis is doing right now.
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Old 04-08-2003, 06:29 AM   #65
paw
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Quote:
Ward, I agree, we're just not going to see eye-to-eye on this. I think I'm, going to have to leave you continuing in your spiritual growth while I continue to devolve - ho hum.
Good advice.

bowing out,

Paul
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Old 04-08-2003, 06:59 AM   #66
Dennis Hooker
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WHAT! Dan, Linden Sensei, you old dog, you believe hunting and fishing is violent. Its gathering, harvesting, sustaining life. Some of the little beasties was meant to get shot in the head , it don't fit into my idea of violence. It may be a bit rough and a little uncouth to some folks but violent? Hell for the first few years of our marriage my wife, children and I (as you know Dan) mostly lived off what I killed. It was not an option it was a way of life for a class of people. I do not in least consider it violent. Perhaps my perspective on the question is unique and perhaps even wrong but to me violence follows intent. Now catch them in a steel trap and beat their heads in with a club while smiling now that is violence. I believe a volcano and a hurricane are awesome acts of the power of nature but not violent because there is no intent. Now I said earlier I believe an Aikidoka should harbor no intent to do violence. I do believe that is the highest goal. Am I there, of course not? You know me to well to believe I am not still on occasion a violent natured individual but damn I'm trying to get better. By the way let's go harvest some of god's creatures this weekend. Some folks are going to read this and see my civilized veneer striped off. But I opened the dace to get opinions, I did offer up arguments but evaluations of my perspective and I'll be damned if some peaceful folks didn't come back with violent intent string statements and bitch slapping words. I love it.

Dennis Hooker: (DVD) Zanshin and Ma-ai in Aikido
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Old 04-08-2003, 01:45 PM   #67
aikidoc
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The thread is interesting. I like the perspectives on atemi. As an interesting aside, Houston Smith in Religions of the World described Islam in much the manner of Mike's statement: ..."many paths can lead up to the same mountain peak." He went on to say that the path to enlightenment should be different for each person based on their perspective or personality. Given the violent nature of the islamic extremists like the Taliban, I find that an interesting description.

From a Buddhist perspective, I would change "love" to compassion-tonglen practice suggests you try to put yourself in the other person's perspective totally-thus the two becomes one. In such a case, love of the other might then become love of oneself-which might get into the issue of ego. Compassion on the other hand would not necessarily cause that trap.
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Old 04-08-2003, 06:33 PM   #68
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Good points about the frying pan or other things such as hands not being expressly designed as a weapon.

I guess my point was is that you cannot blame the weapon, only the person who uses it.

I can't really think of any good reason for guns to exsist other than to kill.

Yes, you can argue target practice and markmanship, and I would submit that in that case, you could use a gun in a non-violent way.

Then again, we use "weapons" in martial arts, bokken, tanto, etc.

Are not the designs of these things expressly for killing? and do we not use them in a non-violent way to train and cultivate ourselves to become better?

I believe it is possible to kill with compassion and in a non-violent way. An example would be a police officer that does so to protect another's life. Does this meet the definition of violence?

The more I think about it...the muddier things seem to get!

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Old 04-10-2003, 01:35 AM   #69
mike lee
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son of a gun!

The Sun is the most violent entity in our solar system, yet we can't live without its energy. The trick is to not be consumed by its fire.

We have passions. The trick, it seems to me, is to not become lost in our passions and consumed by their flame.
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Old 04-10-2003, 04:24 AM   #70
Kelly Allen
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Is Aikido violent? No. Is Aikido Technique violent? Of course. Aikido is the study of violence so that we as practitioners can better understand violence in order to properly dissapate it.

Human beings are one of the few creatures that will kill NOT out of necessity. And when we kill unnecessarily it is always fueled by some type of emotion. Ego, Greed, Vanity, power etc. Aikido is the tool which we use to understand these emotions and to keep them in check. Whether the emotions belong to us or to someone else.

A gun is a peice of metal. It has no emotion thus it cannot do violence. The designer of the gun may have had violence in mind or not (was it an AK 47 or a 3006 hunting rifle) either way it has to be used to harm to be violent.
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Old 04-10-2003, 08:49 AM   #71
aikidoc
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The issue does get muddy.

Kelly, I would disagree that Aikido is the study of violence. I would reframe it thus: Aikido is the study of harmony in the face of violence or violent intent. Yes, Aikido techniques are potentially violent. However, in my mind the violent execution of Aikido technique makes them non Aiki and I question whether as such they should be considered Aikido techniques. I think it gets down to choice and intent. The ability within the context of the art to do the aiki thing and not perpetuate the violent intent but rather to defuse it and render it non-violent. I think this even goes beyond what one of my students called "least harm possible". Can we defuse the violence without harm at all? That, by the way, does not mean pain-to me pain is a signal that harm might follow.

Although an injurious outcome can result from any encounter with violence or violent intent, it would seem we should train ourselves mentally and physically to avoid becoming part of the violent energy and instead blend with it and redirect it to a more positive energy-harmony. As pointed out by Mike-not to get lost in the flames of passion, i.e., stay out of the negative energy.

This issue is one of my struggles with atemi. I believe it is an essential part of the art, but I do not believe the bone breaking, tissue damaging or health affecting aspects fit the Aikido paradigm. Yet, I have never been in a life and death encounter and really don't know how I would react against such devastating violent intent.

My 2 cents.
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Old 04-10-2003, 08:53 AM   #72
aikidoc
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By the way, I think humans are one of the few creatures that also kill for no reason at all or because of the pleasure they derive from it. Most other species kill for defense, survival, or territory. Rarely, do they kill for no apparent reason.
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Old 04-10-2003, 09:04 AM   #73
opherdonchin
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People say that, John, but I'm not sure it really makes sense. A well fed cat will still kill mice. In fact, animals seem to rarely apply the notion of 'reason' to their motivations. If they kill, it is because something inside them drives them to that, and that something can have any number of complex physiological driving mechanisms. Humans are no different from other animals in this.

I think it's hard to compare humans to other animals because our perspective on humans is so familiar and intimate and our perspective on other animals is so fundamentally divorced from their inner lives. It's a lot like noticing that I'm different from everyone else in the world because I'm the only one whose thoughts are audible.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 04-10-2003, 09:09 AM   #74
aikidoc
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"I believe it is possible to kill with compassion and in a non-violent way. An example would be a police officer that does so to protect another's life. Does this meet the definition of violence?" Kevin Leavitt

This does get tricky doesn't it? Compassion for the attacker or the people affected? I'm not sure how killing can be non-violent in any form. Even lethal injection to me is a violent act. The death touch by gradually shutting down organ systems over time, if you believe in it, is a violent act. This gets into the whole issue of harmony-does killing the attacker result in the best possible outcome? Or, is it better to simply restrain and contain the violent energy? We do that a lot with our prisons. We lock it up and put it out of our mind so as to not have to deal with it.

The police officer may be removing a violent threat from the situation-but to me the act of doing so, if it involves killing, is violent. That old Kwai Chang Caine/David Carradine comment something like this: to take another's life does no one honor. From a Buddhist perspective, this would fall into the issue of the karmic implications of the act.
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Old 04-10-2003, 09:16 AM   #75
aikidoc
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Opher-good points. We are all driven to aggression by the same areas of the brain. Stimulation of the ventromedial hypothalmic nuclei can cause rage and aggression. I know it's tough to compare humans and animals since we do not really know if they think-especially given the experiments with apes and sign language. I guess my point was more that humans are capable of killing for pleasure. Some of our basic instincts are basically the same as the animals. Genetics I'm sure plays a role in the mouse killing by the cat on a full stomach.
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