At my lecture before the Open University of the Left, I remarked that there appeared to be a violent aspect of our culture that needed to be addressed apart from the geopolitics of a current military operation. In other words, is there something about the American national character that could explicate the wars and the aggressive abusive rhetoric that the national leadership uses to characterise other peoples and nations? I received an e-mail from a member of the audience, Doctor Ayala Leyser, a practicing psychotherapist who offered this explanation.
“My take on it starts with the obvious: Evolutionary developments are useful to catch food and to eliminate predators and competition; the Kill-Need came handy for the survival of the killer. The problem has to do with the gap in the pace in which our brains evolve and alter compared to that of Ecology. In the present ecology, very few people have to actually kill to eat (the butchers?) and eliminating predators and competition is facilitated by lawyers, red-tape, $$ and propaganda. But the Need-to-Kill is still in the program and must be somewhat expressed and satisfied. Being aware of that part of our human repertoire, the best we can do is to be honest in self reflection, accept and learn to manage powerful impulses. The problem with certain cultures arises from the Denial, Supression and the dualistic view of the world (either good or bad). Such hypocritical mechanisms give rise to elaborate rationalizations and Myths (various “isms”) which aim at licensing the next kill.”