Chapter one - Aggression and Violence
1.1 Aggression, violence and social modulation.
Within ethological theory Konrad Lorenz’s intraspecific aggression is based onobservational methodology implemented in natural settings, built on the concept of instinct and motor components that express the different impulses that find expressionin behavior. The term instinct, in German, is used to denote an internal state agencyand Lorenz uses it to denote the energy component of instinct, setting out:neurophysiological organization that translates into a series of complex behavioralpatterns. A definition without anything purely quantitative, that is mystical andintangible assets on the contrary had characterized the earlier ones. Even the conceptof energy is typically neurophysiological, referring to a series of alternating states of arousal of CNS. Lorenz identified four main drives: hunger, sex, aggression and flightinstinct, selected during evolution and placed at the base of relevant physiologicalfunctions, the result of more partial drives, or more than a drive which, actingsimultaneously,determine motivated behavior. Motivational analysis is the method usedby Lorenz to explain the behavior and is divided into three phases: knowing thecontent of revenue input, breakdown of motor behavior in separate modules and thenanalysis of individual modules. To attribute a functional significance to the behavior,Lorenz took a path that links the interpretative analysis of the antecedents andconsequent movements: starting from a context, he considers the relationships thatare forming between individuals and the environment, analyzing the terms andinstinctive forms of movement and linking with the final situation.Motivational analysis is a method that put also the ethological basis for theobservation of human behavior in natural settings, on the assumption that eachindividual acts on the drive of instincts variously combined, provided we understandthe derivatives of the basic instincts. For example, hunger is not limited to the mereobtaining of food, but deals with the accumulation of wealth and everything thatstands with these objectives.Sex is not only reproduction but combined with other components and encounteringcultural aspects, assumes complex and multifaceted meanings and values, as we think of the value of virginity or use mercenary sexual function, only to make two simpleexamples. Intraspecific aggression considered by Lorenz, therefore, serves a usefulfunction for survival, allowing a better individual fitness. The critical aspect of theexposure of Lorenz is the attempt to explain human aggression and destructivenesswith the loss of inhibitory mechanisms commonly observed in nature, assuming a lowerthreshold trigger in relation to environmental conditions of constraint.