ON AGGRESSION by Konrad Lorenz


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In this remarkable study, Professor Lorenz, naturalist by profession and Darwinian by conviction, presents the results of his inquiry into the aggressive behavior of animals. And, in so doing, relates his findings to the complicated nature of man and modern society. By exploring each species on an ascending scale, he admirably demonstrates that aggressive tendencies are an essential part of the life-preserving process: i.e. the ""intra-specific"" or fights within a group which allows for a normal distribution of abilities comparable to the practical effect of having only the necessary number of doctors within a small town. He particularizes about animals whose behavioral patterns are most analogous to man's-- the rat with its transmission of experience and the astonishingly comparable Greylag Goose whose norms of behavior, right down to the absurd details of falling in love, strife for ranking order, jealousy, grieving etc., are the same. But the author views man as perhaps less fortunate since we are in the dangerous position of too much, too soon, and nature's safeguards, the inhibiting mechanisms against aggression which generally accompany increased power among the lower orders, have not caught up with man's means for destruction. We lack this and/or adequate catharsis for our ""essential"" aggressive tendencies. But the author offers some intelligent solutions as the ""hope that the long-sought missing link between animals and the really humane being is ourselves."" Provocative, educational and genuinely readable.

ISBN: 0415283205
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World