The nature of aggression of human being may be an essential motive of warfare and make the warfare created naturally and universally. However, as warfare does not happen everynhere at any time, this nature of aggression only acts as a foundation of warfare rather than an rigin.
Warfare is created in particular social-cultural contexts because it is a consequence of the developmental process of human needs. The development of human needs have been following the development of the human society and culture. Warfare is initiated to meet the human needs in particular social-cultural contexts. Firstly, warfare is created to meet the need of survival and reproduction. If we dig out the deep-seated motives of Yanomamo’s warfare which is motivated by blood revenge, we may find that complex kinship relationships exist in their community (Chagnon 1 988: 987).
The most important function of kinship is to offer resource for the people in need so that all the kin group members can have more possibility to survive under the threat of harsh surroundings (Chagnon 1 988: 987). If a kinsman’s death is related to another tribe, they usually start a retaliatory warfare to the initial killer to take vengeance for his kinsman (Chagnon 1 988: 985), which largely helps increase their probability of survival. Survival is the most fundamental human need so it always originates warfare in human society. Secondly, the participants in revenge warfare can obtain more benefits for heir life.
To fight fiercely in the war is a profitable business for men because it may bring about higher marital and reproductive success in their society (Chagnon 1988: 986, 989). Reproduction is based on survival. Consequently, the male killers will not only survive but also get more chances to meet their needs to live better if they demonstrate that they are aggressive enough. People always have the desire to expand their needs all the time if it is possible and they are always trying to get more benefits than ever before. It is the desire to have a better personal development that encourages the people o carry on warfare.
It is the development of human needs that illustrates the features of particular social-cultural contexts of human society. On the basis of specific social-cultural contexts, the values of warfare determine the attitude towards warfare. The Yanomamo people hold the value that wear has functions to meet their needs for their society. Warfare is regarded as a way to maintain a good reputation among the Yanomamo groups (Chagnon 1988: 986). In their society, warfare often happens between kinships with avenging deaths because they think this way can help them gain prestige Chagnon 1988: 986), which has a function to frighten their enemies.
As a natural developmental result of history, warfare originated in people’s value systems of particular historical and cultural contexts. In the value systems of Yanomamo groups, vengeance is legitimate (Chagnon 1 988: 986). Moreover, we can find that value in their language. Their concept of bereavement implies violence. The word hushuwo is used to describe the feeling of bereaved. This feeling is a kind of great anger on the verge of violence (Chagnon 1988: 986). This word conveys their very aggressiveness on a insman’s death regardless ofthe reason and this aggression will probably cause killing to others even innocent people.
Besides, their attitudes towards kinsman’s death will not elapse even after many years. The long and clear memory about their kinsman’s death stays in their mind constantly, being the long-standing trigger for warfare. As a result, their values and attitudes regard specific principles of justice (Chagnon 1988: 986), which is forming a social- cultural context supporting warfare. People will probably acquire the infamy Of cowardice if they do not take revenge and start a War Or battle (Chagnon 988: 986). This social consensus urge every person to get into warfare if they need to blood for blood.
Likewise, the ritual activity is another important portion of Yanomamo social life. The ritual activities play a role in strengthening values. Someone’s death is: always considered to be related to witchcraft matters. The death reason may be attributed to a curse from shaman in enemy villages, which can easily provoke warfare (Chagnon 1988: 987). Meanwhile, men who performed in the ritual ceremony are also participants of raiding parties. The ritual ceremony plays another role in ncouraging the brave men.
To sum up, the social values and attitudes, which act as a core of the social-cultural contexts, are significant for the origins of warfare. In addition, the development of territoriality is one of the social- cultural foundations of warfare. The sense of territoriality is a result of cultural construction (Otterbein 2009: 62). Notions of territory vary from one culture to another. The Andaman Islanders’ sense of “shoot-on-sight” can be illustrated for their sense of territory (Otterbein 2009: 63). Their stage of territoriality stays on the range of their sight.
The stages of territoriality can change into other stages. The sense of territoriality is created in specific social-cultural contexts. In the regions with intense competition of resource, the sense of territory is strong (Otterbein 2009: 63). Territories can be seen by one group of people clearly if those people can get benefits. Even nowadays, the modern countries have distinct borders and some illegal movements to cross the border may have severe consequences like wars. As a result, the cultural construction of territoriality strengthens the difference among roups, which helps the warfare originate.
It is worth mentioning that biological characteristics of human beings play a universal role in the foundations of warfare. However, warfare is not instinct for human beings. Not all primitive groups have warfare. From the typology of hunter-gatherer societies, it is obvious that even the same group of people who had warfare in a given period can give up warfare in another period (Otterbein 2009: 63). So warfare cannot be universal or inherently natural for human beings. But in the meanwhile, the warfare of human beings does have universal biological oundations.
The warfare of Homo sapiens relies on the anatomical and neuropsychological traits (Otterbein 2009: 53). For instance, binocular vision, upright posture and walking have been indispensable aid to survival and armed combat in the human evolution. And the evolution of some brain organs enhances the aggressive response to frustration, which may become ideal for warfare (Otterbein 2009: 53-55). As I mentioned earlier, warfare is an effective way for human being to meet their needs in order to survive and pursue a better life. The human needs for good living are universal and arfare is created to help achieve the universal goal.
Surely many other ways are created to help achieve this goal as well. In other words, various groups of people have a variety of ways to meet their needs and warfare is only one of them, which can prove that warfare is not universal or inherently natural. For example, in the Eskimo society, fights, murder and theft of wives occur all the time (Mead 1940: 20). In such circumstance, they can easily start a war to their enemies. To our surprise, no war breaks out. They hold a test of strength and bravery instead (Mead 1940: 20). Another example is the Pueblo Indians.
These tribes know about warfare but they restrict themselves to defensive warfare because they are unaggressive people (Mead 1 940: 21 Moreover, the people like Lepchas, who do not have an idea of warfare or defense, always yield their group to the attacker (Mead 1940: 21). Therefore, people use warfare solely as a tool or way to get what they want. They can choose not to use it and use other ways only to meet their needs to obtain greater benefits. It depends on different social-cultural contexts. In conclusion, warfare is created to meet the constantly changing human needs n particular social-cultural contexts.
It originated for the human needs of survival and further development. Within the specific social-cultural contexts, the values and attitudes of human beings also play a significant role in the origins of warfare. What is more, some cultural activities such as ritual ceremonies or witchcraft matters strengthen the values of warfare. The development of territoriality, which is a result of cultural construction in particular social-cultural contexts, also makes up one of the social-cultural foundations of warfare. Warfare is an effective way or tool or invention of ocial-cultural history to meet the human needs.
Certainly, human beings have other ways instead of warfare to meet their needs as well. In short, they will choose different ways depending on different social-cultural contexts and different situations to do their best.