Thursday, 23 June 2011

A person’s terrorist is someone else’s freedom fighter

Yesterday I watched a documentary on the Maoist, revolutionary force in the forest of India who is considered by the government to be terrorists. Do you know that Nelson Mandela was on The US Terror Watch List until 2008?  

A terrorist creates terror and fear with violence, hence, all solders and warriors in theory are terrorists no matter which side they take. And naturally we all need army since waging war is considered one of the two most fundamental instincts, along side reproduction. However, we are not destined to endless violence and we are absolutely capable of choosing to be a fighter or a negotiator. The Swedes have not fought a war for almost two hundred years, yet they are descended from the Vikings, who are best known for fearsome violence, rape and pillage.  

Evolution must have figured out a way how to maintain a stable strategy of balancing fighters and negotiators. A society with 100% warriors or 100% negotiators would perish surely as the result of homogeneity in gene pool.  I found a famous biologist called John Maynard Smith who used game theory to model the evolution of animal behavior. He named two basic behaviors as fighting Hawk and peace loving Dove and came to a conclusion that a mixture of 58 % Hawk and 42 % Dove is an evolutionary stable strategy. It is too simple to say that one person can be born and raised entirely Hawk and enjoy standing ovation around the boxing ring, or be shaped as entirely Dove and become John Lennon. The fact is most of us do not have to stick to the same identity as you can choose to be Hawk one day and Dove the next.  Everything will just work out fine in the long run if the strategy we use, be it as a person, nation, or the whole human population, is roughly at 58/42.

There is a quote I really like from Nelson Mandela’s biography “Long walk to freedom”:
“At a certain point, one can only fight fire with fire"


  1. nice ratio, Mai! do you have this ratio for each country, especially China and VN at the moment. Love to know your ratio as well :)

  2. would be pretty much towards Hawk and Hawk right now :(

  3. Would you be a dove or a hawk? You seem to have posted an eloquent theory, I'll bet when it comes down to it, you would not want to be eaten by a hawk.

  4. especially China and VN at the moment. Love to know your ratio as wel


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