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On Aggression

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  639 ratings  ·  35 reviews
This work has had significant impact on the social and biological sciences and is now a classic point of reference for investigations of behavioral patterns. Lorenz presents his findings on the mechanism of aggression and how animals control destructive drives in the interest of the species. Translated by Marjorie Kerr Wilson. A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book
Paperback, 324 pages
Published October 23rd 1974 by Mariner Books (first published 1963)
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This book was written around 50 years ago. It may be one of the earlier solid attempts in sociobiology and evolutionary psychology. The subject of the book is aggression. Aggression, which is between the members of the same species, should not be confused with the predatory behavior towards the members of other species. Lorenz, one of founders of ethology, presents a detailed treatment of aggression in animals and the purposes that it serves. Then he moves on to humans. The implication is that a ...more
Samuel Viana
I've know about Lorenz since I was a little boy. I remember that when he died, in 1989, the portuguese TV reminded his name in a TV documentary of some episodes about the life of the man that could made little goslings walk beside him and everyone feel fascinated by those pictures.
Konrad Lorenz ant the greylag goose
I've heard about is ideas on human behaviour some years after that and I reminded curious about the observations he have made about them, some like: the intraspecific competition and the way the aggression first appear
Behavior is not excused or justified but can be explained. Human behavior is no different. Auschwitz is not a German problem, any more than Wounded Knee or the Little Big Horn white or Indian problems. Until we learn to accept the fact that these are human problems we will continue to rationalize the fact that we are dangerous predators and unlike a shark are fully aware of that fact, and choose to ignore it.
Erwin Maack
"Sentirá, pelo contrário, uma nova forma de respeito perante os êxitos da razão e da moral responsável que só entraram nesse mundo com o homem e que podem muito bem dar-lhe o poder de o dominar, desde que no seu orgulho cego, ele não negue a existência da sua herançca animal. (página 253)

Por outras palavras, a necessidade de controlar por uma sábia responsabilidade moral todas as nossas adesões sentimentais é tão grande, senão maior, como necessidade de anular as nossas outras pulsões. Nenhuma d
There was a lot of racism here, as well as classism and sexism. The author's thought processes often seemed incomplete and were difficult to follow. Many of the chapters contained very little of the content their titles led me to expect. It felt as though the author was trying to cover too much, and as a result many of the topics that I did find interesting never received enough detail. I also wonder how much of the information and speculation about non-human animal behaviour in this book is acc ...more
Ilya Kalimulin
Очень необычная книга. Начал читать по рекомендации Людвига из студии Тёмы Лебедева. Конрад описывает, какие образом агрессия помогает внутривидовой конкуренции при давлении внешнего противника. Описание основано на большом количестве примеров поведений животных: гуси, рыбы, волки и т.п. Его главная идея, что благодаря агрессии ("то самое зло", как ещё он называет её) развились такие социальные вещи, как дружба, семья, любовь, сотрудничество. Объясняет, что у животных, у которых отсутствует внут ...more
Lorenz, Konrad. ON AGGRESSION. (1966). ***.
Lorenz, the eminent scientist and Nobel Prize winner, asks a couple of questions: 1) Why and to what end do animals of one species fight each other, and, 2) why do even human beings do the same? Is there really a sinister instinct of self-destruction which is the counterpart to all other instincts preserving the life of the individual and the species, and which threatens humanity with annihilation? In this dense, but informative book, Lorenz reviews al
probably one of the most important books i've ever read. it was an eye-opening experience
Wonderful. Deeper and much more complex than King Solomon's Ring. Important.
May 25, 2014 Ant rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: science
One of the books I read for uni and fell in love with biology.
This books tells you a lot about aggression, what it is good for, how animals of different kinds cope with it, how it relates to love, etc. -- interesting stuff! What really impressed me were the stories about animals who turn out to be "highly emotional people of very limited intelligence" (Lorenz quoting from Oskar Heinroth). They love, can be jealous, suffer when the loved ones do not pay attention to them, get depressed or enthusiastic, feel sorrow and mourn the loss of close friends. Indeed ...more
stunning book. perhaps one of the most underrated books ive ever read. a bit boring i shoud add in parts when it goes into animals and random fishes a bit too much but the ecce homo chapter is almost as good as Nietzsches book of the same name! - the book talks about how historically (cromagnon, neanderthal days) weve had vens for our agression but now in an over ritualized societies we dont have as many opportunities for catharsis. and when we do it explodes. the chapter on rats and the link to ...more
I was actually very bored by this book. Most of the ideas are very outdated. Often times it was very difficult to follow the point he was trying to make. Much of the behavior we know, you can find some of a base in his theories. Often he makes some of his ideas into absolutes. Any behaviorist/scientist knows there are no absolutes when it comes to other beings' behavior. Read it for fun but don't expect to get much out of it.
The info on coral fish - interesting. The info on geese - interesting and humorous. There is lots of stuff in this book about the functionality of and speaking about the adaptive value of aggression that makes a lot of sense when it comes to fish, geese and even some mammals. Though don't count on the chapters regarding human aggression telling you anything useful.
Great work. Old and new at the same time.
Penso di aver dichiarato già tempo fa il mio apprezzamento per Konrad Lorenz, uno dei maestri dell'etologia: la lettura di suoi altri libri ("L'anello di Re Salomone" in primis, ma anche "E l'uomo incontrò il cane" e "Gli otto peccati capitali della nostra società") era stata appassionante ed interessante, scorrevole come pochi bei saggi sanno essere.
Rose Boehm
Oct 29, 2012 Rose Boehm marked it as to-read
Shelves: refusing-to-read
Started it but won't read it now - if ever. It's Konrad Lorenz, of course. The master. But I have found one species that doesn't exist and it fills me with dread to think that if we are nothing more than animals (which I personally doubt), nothing will change. I mean, the famous 'human nature'. And that I can't believe.
Steven Peterson
Konrad Lorenz was one of the most eminent ethologists of his era. This book is his extended speculation about the nature of aggression. It is a good exposition of his views. However, his theoretical perspective, based on the concept of "instinct," was a bit simplistic. Nonetheless, a classic of its kind. . . .
Shira and Ari Evergreen
Apr 20, 2009 Shira and Ari Evergreen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: social scientists, peace activists, people interested in massive social change, anti-speciesists
Shelves: animals
This book, though it's very pre-identity politics, had a lot of excellent takeaways for me, as a peace activist. It shows how human behavior and animal behavior (humans being animals) reveal patterns that can help us understand how to break free of self-destructive and socially-destructive behaviors like war.
Dec 11, 2012 Bernie added it
A great read if you are into human behavior and psychology. It provides an interesting perspective on violence and aggression as a natural function of survival and self preservation. He addresses aggression as a amoral force of nature as opposed to an immoral force of man. Interesting read.
Chris Bryan
This book explains the evolutionary benefit of aggression to a species. It can get pretty technical at times, so it's not as much fun as King Solomon's Ring. All of the case-studies are interesting, although they can be disturbing at times.
It predicts the Daily Show! And has great geese anecdotes. And the sentence "Only rarely does one see an animal in such desperation and panic, so conscious of the inevitability of a terrible death, as rat which is about to be slain by rats."
Peter Brooks
This is one of the books that started my life-long interest in evolution, sociobiology, consciousness and humanity. Of course, now much of it can be seen to old-fashioned and simply wrong, but it's nevertheless, an interesting approach.
this was an old text book from school and will have to re-read, what I remember most is the unique way it described the way humans interact with each other and how we set up boundaries and territories of our own individual will...
Tim Petersik
Much of what Lorenz had to say here has since been contradicted by science, but this book really makes you think about the biological function of aggression and its inhibition.
A pretty dense read but well worth it. With other books (notably, the Naked Ape and Human Zoo) finishing On Aggression gave me a connect(ed)ing the dots feeling.
Robin Babb
Very interesting theory on the nature and evolution of agression. Makes you analyze your own behavior and beliefs in ways you didn't conceive of before.
Почему я это не прочла в 12 лет? И почему эту книгу нельзя купить в бумажном варианте, чтобы читать её раз в год и делать пометки на полях?..
An interesting piece about human and animal instincts by Nobel laureate Lorenz. I think Gorillas in the Fog is based on this book.
Chris Gager
More popular anthropology. I was into it in the 70's. All about geese and sticklebacks(fish) as I recall. Date read is a guess.
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“Третье великое препятствие человеческого самопознания — по крайней мере в нашей западной культуре — это наследие идеалистической философии. Она делит мир на две части: мир вещей, который идеалистическое мышление считает в принципе индифферентным в отношении ценностей, и мир человеческого внутреннего закона, который один лишь заслуживает признания ценности. Такое деление замечательно оправдывает эгоцентризм человека, оно идёт навстречу его антипатии к собственной зависимости от законов природы — и потому нет ничего удивительного в том, что оно так глубоко вросло в общественное сознание. Насколько глубоко — об этом можно судить по тому, как изменилось в нашем немецком языке значение слов «идеалист» и «материалист»; первоначально они означали лишь философскую установку, а сегодня содержат и моральную оценку. Необходимо уяснить себе, насколько привычно стало, в нашем западном мышлении, уравнивать понятия «доступное научному исследованию» и «в принципе оценочно-индифферентное». Меня легко обвинить, будто я выступаю против этих трех препятствий человеческого самопознания лишь потому, что они противоречат моим собственным научным и философским воззрениям, — я должен здесь предостеречь от подобных обвинений. Я выступаю не как закоренелый дарвинист против неприятия эволюционного учения, и не как профессиональный исследователь причин — против беспричинного чувства ценности, и не как убеждённый материалист — против идеализма. У меня есть другие основания. Сейчас естествоиспытателей часто упрекают в том, будто они накликают на человечество ужасные напасти и приписывают ему слишком большую власть над природой. Этот упрёк был бы оправдан, если бы учёным можно было поставить в вину, что они не сделали предметом своего изучения и самого человека. Потому что опасность для современного человечества происходит не столько из его способности властвовать над физическими процессами, сколько из его неспособности разумно направлять процессы социальные. Однако в основе этой неспособности лежит именно непонимание причин, которое является — как я хотел бы показать — непосредственным следствием тех самых помех к самопознанию.” 2 likes
“Historians will have to face the fact that natural selection determined the evolution of cultures in the same manner as it did that of species.” 1 likes
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