I dedicate this essay to the hypocrites, the cowards and the bleeding hearts.
Definition of aggressive:
- Marked by combative readiness
- Marked by obtrusive energy and self-assertiveness
- Marked by driving forceful energy or initiative : enterprising
- Strong or emphatic in effect or intent
- Growing, developing, or spreading rapidly
- more severe, intensive, or comprehensive than usual especially in dosage or extent
Source: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aggressive (adapted)
That sounds pretty solid to me. So why does aggression have such a bad reputation? Probably because it is closely tied to violence. But the capacity for violence is never a bad thing, as long as it is used wisely. Attorneys, religious texts, soldiers, martial arts practicioners and the laws of nature agree on that.
There are supposedly 2 types of aggression: Instrumental and defensive. If you would argue that self-defense is wrong, go hang on a cross or walk on water, but I´m not falling for that. Maybe you´ll be resurrected if you can´t defend yourself, but I won´t. To prove my point, take this passage from the bible:
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5, KJV)
To clarify the meaning of “meek”, let me add:
praus: mild, gentle Original Word: πραΰς, πραεῖα, πραΰ
Part of Speech: Adjective
Phonetic Spelling: (prah-ooce’)
Usage: mild, gentle. This difficult-to-translate root (pra-) means more than “meek.” Biblical meekness is not weakness but rather refers to exercising God’s strength under His control – i.e. demonstrating power without undue harshness.
To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. (Luke 6:29, KJV)
Surely, I am allowed to “demonstrat[e] power without undue harshness”, if someone “strikes [me] on the [..] cheek”. Maybe Jesus can strike fear into sinners through wonders and divine powers, but I have neither at my disposal. This demonstrates two things: Firstly, there´s a lot of hypocrisy about aggression. Lastly, not all passages of the bible are of equal value, especially considering that the biblical canon was puzzled together by the catholic church, and they certainly haven´t been spreading the message of the bible correctly, much less have they practiced what they preach.
So let´s take a look at instrumental aggression, which is planned, goal-oriented aggression. How does that differ from self-defense? In the specification that I´m not trying to keep something I have, but rather gaining something new by hurting someone.
Some typical situations in which you gain something, but someone else suffers include:
- Receiving too much change at the store and not saying anything.
- Getting promoted instead of a colleague or simply getting a raise.
- Winning any competition.
- Movie or music piracy.
I do not intend to argue that sadism is a good thing, but in case you are inevitably going to cause someone harm, you will be better off if you don´t feel distress because of it.
The events and actions listed above differ in the degree to which you invest effort in order for the result to be achieved. Examples 2 and 3 require some of the above characteristics of aggression amd they are socially accepted, even encouraged. That is the second proof of people´s hypocrisy regarding aggression. Don´t counter this with some communist bullshit, even in communism you have competition. I have never seen a communist country with more than one president (also, I´ve never seen a working one, or one, that didn´t have to slaughter millions of people, but those are different points). One of the most ridiculous things about communism were (are) the elections that give you exactly one option: Vote for the party.
Aggression is not just readiness to, but also our will to compete, it is what Nietzsche referred to as “Will To Power”, it motivates, drives and strengthens us. Competition is vital., competition for survival is what created us humans from an evolutionary standpoint and it has shaped our culture from the very start. What happens if there is a lack of competition:
- The roman empire got conquered after it had gotten decadent due to being without competition.
- Animals in zoos don´t have to fight for survival or reproduction, but ironically, that causes lower testosterone levels, ergo decreased health and fertility, ergo a lesser ability to survive and reproduce. This effect differs in strength among various species, some animals in a group will often compete with each other for power and resources, if there is no threat to fight against.
- Monopolies in the business world.
- Less evolution, in nature and in science.
Aggression is natural. Aggression is human. Aggression is right.
For believe me! – the secret of realising the largest productivity and the greatest enjoyment of existence is to live in danger! Build your cities on the slope of Vesuvius! Send your ships into unexplored seas! Live in war with your equals and with yourselves! Be robbers and spoilers, ye knowing ones, as long as ye cannot be rulers and possessors!
Source: Nietzsche, Friedrich – The Joyous Science – 283: Pioneers