Also See: Table of Contents,
Endorsements, and Purchase Information
As a colleague of Chris Maser at Oregon State University and as a participant in his conflict resolution program, I came to understand his passion for environmental issues. I also came to appreciate his integrity as he confronted the conflicting claims of different parts of society regarding the need to protect our environment. I had previously read two of his remarkable books, Forest Primeval and Global Imperative, and I recently read his classic The World is in My Garden, written with his wife, Zane. In these books, I have admired his scientific expertise and his deep concerns for the critical issues of the human population and social-environmental sustainability.
When I saw the manuscript for this latest book, I was impressed by the way he was able to combine a lifetime of scholarship in diverse fields in such a readable, contemporary, and insightful book. For this book, he turns to one of the most basic human problems: the origins of fear and the relation of fear to violence. He then goes on to provide a unique analysis of the problem.
Setting the problem of fear in a global context, with an exploding human population and increasingly limited natural resources, Maser shows how fear enters the human psyche. As adults, we pass our fears to our children. Feeling insecure about ourselves because of anxieties over material possessions and control of our lives, we often turn our rage on our children. Hence the growing problem of child abuse: physical and psychological abuse, as well as neglect. We cripple young lives who want only our love and joy in life. Working with dysfunctional families, I have witnessed the cycle of violence continue when abused children became parents who, in turn, became abusers. As Maser show us, the consequences are formidable for a society that does not forthrightly and directly address this critical issue.
The cultural problems discussed years ago by C.P. Snow, in his book Two Cultures, continue to dominate the universities and our society. Snow distinguishes the two cultures: the Scientific and the Humanistic, each with its own methodology and epistemology. Clearly, the Scientific culture tends to dominate in our time with massive funding from large corporations and government. The Humanistic culture, on the other hand, which deals with questions of meaning and value in literature and the arts, is regularly and severely limited in its monetary resources.
What Maser does in this book is to unite these two cultures in a new synthesis, seeking a more holistic view. The section on "Hunter-Gatherers," for example, illustrates his scientific approach with its analytical detachment. This leads to his reflection on the problem of fear and its social consequences. From this, one is forced to consider a host of issues regarding human values.
As a scientist, Maser is not afraid to deal with the question of human values and to discuss basic human concerns, such as love, trust, forgiveness, human rights, justice, and equality. Ultimately, these are the values that must prevail if society is to avoid the chaos and conflicts that result when we allow fear and violence to prevail.
Underlying this humanistic outlook are deep spiritual concerns and interests. Since peace is the good to be obtained when fear and violence are overcome, there are a host of references to writers in this tradition: Gandhi, Dalai Lama, Tolstoy, Jr., and the Taoist Lao Tzu, as well as a text replete with Biblical imagery. If, as Tillich suggests, one's religion is a expression of one's ultimate concern, Maser's concern is to bring into being and actualize his vision of a peaceable world, a new quality of life and relationships.
If I understand him correctly, his vision is similar to Martin Buber's, which is to replace the world of "I-It" with a world of "I-Thou," and to have people relating to one another as persons and equals, rather than as objects to be manipulated and used. An "I-Thou" world would be a community of individuals who have confronted the alienation from nature and one another, who have rejected fear and violence, and who have experienced the healing power of love. Such a love can cast out fear and bring about a "reunion of the separated."
Universal peace, he believes, will result when individuals all over the world respond to this vision, to their own inner peace, which, in turn, will enhance the peace of the world. Self-knowledge, and what the Greeks call Sophrosyne or "balance," is necessary for the reformation of character. When this happens, we can begin to sow peace and kindness, one deed, one day at a time. Peace will occur when we come to realize, as Menninger suggests, that we are here to dilute the misery of the world, to create peace and reduce violence and hatred. Or, as Einstein simply put it: "We are here for the sake of others."
Because our legacy to our children will determine the nature of our society in the future, Maser emphasizes the need to begin to incorporate transformative conflict resolution in the classroom so that children will learn peaceful techniques for settling differences at an early age. It is interesting to note that some of the mainstream Protestant churches have already incorporated these techniques into their curricula.
A quotation from Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations, regarding Human Rights precedes the text, and the book concludes with a statement of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This seems highly appropriate: both of these statements reflect the author's basic goal. However, to achieve this goal, America must do its part to support the United Nations and pay its fair share of dues.
C. Warren Hovland
Oregon State University, Corvallis.
(Return to Top of Page)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PART I, THE GRIP OF FEAR
CHAPTER 1, HOW FEAR RULES HUMANITY
A Story of Fear
We the Puppets, Fear the Puppeteer
Putting Ourselves in Perspective
An Alternative to War
PART II, HOW FEAR GUIDES OUR THINKING
CHAPTER 2, WHEN FEAR INFILTRATED CULTURE
Hunter-Gatherers, the Original Affluent Society
What Hunter-Gatherers have to Teach Us
The Steps toward Social Fear
Development of Language
Technology and the Abstraction of Life
Domestication of Animals
Invention of the Irrigation Ditch
Centralization of Leadership
Consolidation of Personal Power
Establishment of "Rights"
The Industrial Revolution and the Rise of Capitalism
Lessons Lost to Fear
PART III, PERPETUATING FEAR AND VIOLENCE
CHAPTER 3, IN THE NAME OF JUSTICE
Justice, to What End?
Creating Community in the Light of Justice
Experiencing Community in the Shadow of Justice
Justice in History
Democracy and History
The Luxury of Violence
And Justice for All
CHAPTER 4, FEAR'S CLASSROOM
Abuse of Children
Child Abuse is the Root of Human Violence
Breaking the Cycle of Child Abuse
The Abuse of Women
Who has the Right to a Woman's Body?
CHAPTER 5, ONE SPECIES' WAR AGAINST ITSELF
Piece-Thinkers and Systems-Thinkers
The Right of Personal Survival
Our Human War against Nature
CHAPTER 6, THE TYRANNY OF SMALL DECISIONS
How Salmon Integrate the Ecosystem
From the Forest to the Sea and back again
The Salmon's Plight
CHAPTER 7, THE CORPORATE BID TO OWN THE WORLD
The Corporation is Born
When People become Commodities
CHAPTER 8, DEMANDING PATENTS ON LIFE
Biopiracy, Genetic Engineering, and Patents
Agriculture and Genetic Engineering
Hybrids and Patents
Of Seed Barons and Stolen Harvests
Raiding the Commons
Poverty is Human-Made
CHAPTER 9, ASK THE CHILDREN
The Counsel of Children
Innocence and the World of Imagination
Education, Democracy, and the Future
A Parting Exercise (Return to Top of Page)
"For those who have been appalled as I have been by our politician's program to end violence with war and violence, Chris Maser's book will come as a great relief. He shows how fear insidiously works its way into almost every part of our lives and in doing so corrupts our decision-making. It's fear that makes us believe violence is a solution. Our media is now obsessed with making us afraid, and we need strong, positive books like this one in order to think our way through fear toward beliefs about society and other people that lead to peaceful relations. The humane and moral response to the tragedy of September 11th is what Maser offers in his book; it's a courageous statement given the social climate that now prevails. I recommend this book as a means to productive dialogue and a way to begin to think outside the non-productive cycle of violence that defines our lives today."Susan Sarandon, Actor/Activist
"The Perpetual Consequences Of Fear And Violence: Rethinking The Future by author, lecturer, conflict resolution facilitator, and social visionary Chris Maser is a moral and ethical response to endemic problems and social issues embedded in contemporary American society ranging from the September 11th attacks; to the widespread phenomena of child abuse as the root cause of human violence; to the problematic issues arising from the rapidly evolving science of genetic engineering upon plants, animals, and even humans; corporate dominance in shaping human political and social milieus, and so much more. A deeply introspective and serious warning of what social ills can bring if left unchecked, 'The Perpetual Consequences Of Fear And Violence' is an impressive and highly recommended addition to personal and academic Philosophy Studies, Social Science Studies, Ecological Studies, Political Science Studies, and Peace Studies library collections and supplemental reading lists.—Midwest Book Review, WI.
"Chris Maser's book is a powerful antidote to the growing culture of fear that has followed September 11th. He is the first to show the truly destructive effects of fear-mongering by political leaders, effects that are both psychological and environmental. His way out is an appeal to systems-thinking and an understanding of culture that sees complexity and difference as richness and beauty, not some malign 'other.' This book should be read by everyone who is alarmed about the globalization of fear and violence—even more by those who are not yet alarmed."—Robert Merrill, Ph.D., Professor of Humanities, Maryland Institute College of Art, and Director Institute for Advanced Cultural Studies, Washington, D.C.
"For anyone saddened, confused, or outraged by current events, Chris Maser's The Perpetual Consequences of Fear and Violence provides an accessible way to begin to penetrate the complexities of today's world with insight and compassion. Reading this volume is much like spending a summer afternoon on the front porch with a beloved aunt or uncle or respected village elder who—by virtue of the practical wisdom accumulated over many years of real-life experience and self-reflection—can discern patterns and piece together parts of a larger puzzle into a coherent and meaningful whole. At its best, it introduces readers to the concepts and questions that expose the implications of unconscious thought, inviting them to begin their own journey of self-reflection and do what they can to contribute to a more mindful future. Maser's writing is mercifully free of specialized jargon; but don't be fooled, the material in this book works simultaneously on many levels. Approach this book not as a professional or scholarly expert, but as a concerned citizen and—above all—as a human being. It's a book chock full of common sense. It's a book to be pondered and savored."—Dean Button, Ph.D., Director of Program Development, School of Humanities and Social Sciences,
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY.
"Chris Maser's thoughtful, eloquent writing delineates the pathway to peace—personal, political and global. Combining ethics and sound science, he shows that we can rise above fear and violence by understanding exactly where they come from and how they manifest themselves in hate and misguided patriotic fervor. Maser sows the seeds of kindness, compassion, patience and peace. Give this book to someone you know who thinks that war works.—Michael Frome, Author of Greenspeak.
"The Perpetual Consequences of Fear and Violence: Rethinking the Future is a gripping holistic analysis into the uncharted depths of violence, justice, fear, greed, and human behavior. The author courageously ventures into the intersection of disparate disciplines of ecology, sociology, psychology and human behavior, history, and politics as they relate to human societies' relationship with each other and the land. It is a thought provoking yet easy to read book, a bold reminder that each of us must take personal responsibility to make this a better world.—Mike Dombeck, Chief Emeritus, U.S. Forest Service, Director Emeritus, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Professor, Global Environmental Management,
University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point.
"Chris Maser sets forth a new way of thinking about the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Instead of the destructive cycle of fear and retributive violence, he proposes that we confront our fears bluntly and honestly. In doing so, we will discover that fear is a mindset, an imbalance, and that it underlies most of the bad decisions our culture has made over the years—environmental degradation, child abuse or neglect, racism, and so on. As an environmental scientist, Maser understands that such destructive imbalances cannot go on forever. Species that perpetuate them do not long endure. This book is about how to change that mindset and how to use the events of September 11th to profoundly and positively change our communities—natural, social, and global—for the better.—Hunter Lovins, Co-Chair, Natural Capitalism Group, 2000 Time Magazine Hero for the Planet.
"Non violence is a way of life. It requires a complete transformation of one's life from the time one wakes up in the morning until one goes to bed. It is a way of life that can save the world from the violent course it is travelling towards its sure destruction. "The Perpetual Consequences of Fear and Violence" helps us understand this clearly, but the ultimate test is whether people will change and take on responsibility, not just for themselves but for the generations to come. Gandhiji made the commitment, we too can make the commitment!—Ela Gandhi,
Granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, South Africa.
"Arguing that current conflicts in the war on terrorism are doing tremendous damage to future generations, this timely analysis draws on the work of non-violent leaders like Gandhi to provide alternatives to responding to increased levels of fear and anxiety with violence. Seizing on the surprising example of Northwest salmon as a paradigm, contemporary clashes like the 'War on Terror' are dissected with an eye toward the 'political ecosystems' they endanger. Also included is a meditation on what citizens can do to change their own 'political ecosystems' by considering the long-term political and ecological effects of the even the smallest decisions."—Gazelle Books, Lancaster, United Kingdom.
"In his book The Perpetual Consequences of Fear and Violence (2004), Chris Maser directs readers through an exercise that seems like the most appropriate way to conclude this article. He said, 'Find a quiet place and take a few moments to search the mind of your heart for the kind of world you would like to live in and have your children and grandchildren inherit. Next, take pen and paper in hand and write down the salient features of that world. Now ask yourself "What part of this world can I help create through my behavior if I act 'as if' it was already so?" Then ask "When do I begin to act 'as if' it was already so?" (p. 358)—from a 2006 article by Martha Driessnack, "Draw-and-Tell Conversations With Children About Fear," in Qualitative Health Research 16:1414-1435. (Return to Top of Page)