Archive for the ‘English’ Category

Kamal’s Predictions

August 30, 2009 3 comments

1) In 1978, Kamal Hasan’s Tamil movie “Sivappu Rojakkal” was released. He played the role of a Psychopath killer (femicide). A year later, a guy named “Psycho Raman” was caught for brutally murdering people especially women.

2) In 1988, Kamal played the role of an unemployed youth in the movie “Sathya“. In 89-90’s our country faced lot of problems due to unemployment.

3) In 1992, his blockbuster movie “Devar Magan” was released. It’s a village based subject. The movie portrayed scenes of communal clashes. Exactly a year later in 1993, there were many communal clashes in southern districts.

4) We all know in 1996 many people in our country was cheated by finance companies. Kamal Hassan had clearly depicted this in his movie “Mahanadhi” which was released in 1994, well a year in advance.

5) In “Hey Ram“(2000), there are few scenes relating to Hindu Muslim clashes. We all know 2 years later, Godhra ( Gujarat riots) incident happened.

6) He used a word called ‘tsunami’ in his movie “Anbe Sivam“(2003).The word ‘TSUNAMI’ was not known to many people before. In 2004, ‘tsunami’ stuck the east coast of our country and many people lost their lives.

7) In his movie “Vettaiyadu Vilayadu “(2006) there are two characters called Ilamaran & Amudhan who played the roles of psychopath killers. After 3 months of release of the movie, the NOIDA serial killing came to light (Moninder & Sathish)

8) In his latest movie “Dasavatharam” in 2008 he mentioned about a deadly virus, which spread via air, that may destroy the world. Now in 2009 we have the Swine Flu that spreads through air. And to be specific, in the movie Kamal develops a bio weapon and finds out the deadly effect of the virus in a lab in America . Now the first case of Swine Flu was detected in Mexico (NorthAmerica).

A sociologist challenges prevailing theories of when, and why, people lash

February 25, 2008 1 comment


From the issue dated
February 22, 2008 Violence, Up Close and Personal

Randall Collins, a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania, thinks
human beings are bad at violence. Is the man mad? Any newspaper would seem
to falsify his claim, offering up a bestiary of child killers, cross-tribal
ethnic cleansers, and suicide bombers, not to mention military attacks
sanctioned by law but still brutally sanguinary.

Collins, author of the new book *Violence: A Micro-Sociological
Theory*(Princeton University Press), is not so naïve as to deny that
the globe is
drenched in blood. But he argues that to confront another human being and do
him harm is far more psychologically difficult than most social scientists
appreciate. “There is,” he writes, “a palpable barrier to getting into a
violent confrontation.” And the resulting anxiety makes people lash out
incompetently. Most people back down from fistfights after a bit of trash
talking. And in war, more soldiers cower than attack the enemy effectively.

To make his case that we have no talent for violence, Collins adduces
evidence ranging from the low casualty rates in most Greek and Roman battles
to photographs documenting how few people in “violent” crowds on the West
Bank are actually wreaking havoc. (Modern photojournalism has opened doors
for this subfield of sociology, he argues.) He also includes his own
voyeuristic accounts of confrontations on the streets of Philadelphia and
other American cities, which tend to confirm that most showdowns peter out
at the bluster stage.

In a discursive, 550-page book, Collins manages to fold into his theory such
topics as domestic violence, British sports hooliganism, and the history of
duels (a method of cabining violence to a scale where humans can stomach
it). Along the way, he rips into some prevailing sociological theories,
including the idea that much violence among disadvantaged groups amounts to
a form of political “resistance.” That theory, he suggests, has a “twisted
quality,” lauding thugs who are the violent exception and who prey mostly on
members of their own low socioeconomic groups.

He also has few kind words for the reigning evolutionary-psychological
interpretation of violence, which sees it as a holdover from a long
prehistory in which men competed ruthlessly for status and mates. Collins
does not reject biology but cites a different Darwinian drive: the human
desire to form social bonds. A visceral aversion to throwing a punch, even
if the recipient richly deserves it, he writes, “is the evolutionary price
we pay for civilization.”

The seed of the book, Collins says, lay in his 1975 book, *Conflict
Sociology,* which examined the competition among various economic, ethnic,
and cultural groups. “After having written that, I realized it was about
conflict, all right, but nobody ever did anything to each other,” he says.
“There was no real fighting in it.”

He’s remedied the omission — and then some. Now he is so immersed in real
violence that it will spill over into a sequel, which will encompass topics
given short shrift in *Violence: A Micro-Sociological Theory,* including
rape and decisions by states to go to war.

*Your central argument, that violence is hard for human beings, is very
counterintuitive. What is it that’s hard?*

My main source of evidence that violence is difficult rather than easy comes
from looking at situations where people actually confront each other, where
there’s some sort of anger or dispute where reasonably a fight might start.
The overwhelming pattern is that people in these cases are very tense, and
most of the time they back down. I’ve collected a large number of
photographs of people in violent situations. What you find is a very small
number of people in those photographs are the ones who are confronting
somebody. If they are, they, too, look quite tense. If you use a
psychological coding scheme for examining the emotions that are on people’s
faces, you will find that it ranges from tension to fear.

*You say that a lot of claims about violence that come out of social
science — for example, that people who have been abused tend to be violent,
that men tend to be disproportionately violent, or that alcohol fuels
violence — start from the premise that violence is pretty easy. Do you
disagree with those theories or just think they are missing a larger

I don’t think that people so much thought that violence was easy but that
our theories haven’t really raised the point of how easy or difficult it is.
We sort of assume that if someone gets angry, or if they have a beef or
grievance, or they want to resist, or their honor has been offended — once
you get to that point then the violence will happen. Hardly anyone has
bothered to look at what happens in the situation when you actually confront
your enemy. So we have these various kinds of correlations of things in the
background. Yes, being male is more likely to [lead to] being violent than
being female. But you’re still getting well over 90 percent of the males who
aren’t doing anything. That’s not a very good predictor.

*A lot of people would say that nature is red in tooth and claw and all
that — that modern violence is a carry-over from the evolutionary past.
What’s wrong with that picture?*

If you look at the history of fighting, you find that primitive people are
actually not very good at fighting. We do have some anthropological films of
tribes in wars, and it looks almost like a dance routine. You’ll get 100 or
so men of the tribe shouting and chanting and waving their spears and bows
and arrows, and out of that group a few — six or eight — will run up toward
the front line. One or two will dash across the line, throw a spear, then
turn around and run and come back in. This may go on for a while until
someone gets a spear — usually in the back — when they run away. Then they
decide to stop.

*Early in the book you put a lot of weight on the finding of the military
historian S.L.A. Marshall that only something like 15 percent to 25 percent
of American infantrymen fired their weapons in combat. Have his figures held
up? And is that figure still true in current conflicts?*

There’s been controversy about that. At the time of the Second World War and
the Korean War, some officers, typically higher officers, said they didn’t
believe [that figure] — it was just an insult to the troops. Other officers
said they thought it was approximately right. It’s generally thought now
that Marshall was sort of giving a ballpark figure. Surveys from the Vietnam
War show generally much higher figures if you ask them whether they ever
fired their guns. If you ask them if they are doing a lot of firing, it
starts looking more like Marshall’s figures: Twenty to 25 percent are really
gung ho and do lot of firing, and most of the others fire some of the time,
but they aren’t very enthusiastic about it.

*You talk about panic firing during military combat, and firing among
troops. And in an analogy you draw, you also find a lot of panicked firing
and incompetent shooting among gang members, and only a few people taking

We’ve got sort of a sieve that goes down by two levels. The first level is
whether people are actually engaged in the violence, whether it’s shooting
guns or throwing punches. Then there’s the second level of how competent
they are at it: whether they actually hit what they intended, whether they
hit anything. … That’s true in the case of cops and robbers — both sides —
as well as in the Army. U.S. forces have been trained to try to overcome
this nonfiring problem [by doing] a huge amount of firing, and so it’s not
too surprising that in that situation bystanders get hit.

Many cases of police violence that look like serious atrocities —

*Like Rodney King.*

Yes, Rodney King, or the Amadou Diallo case — they look so shocking because
the violence seems like a huge overkill. But I think the mechanism that’s
operative there isn’t so much that they are motivated to try and severely
hurt or humiliate this person, but rather that they are caught up in this
pattern I call “forward panic” — similar to the panic of running away,
except it’s a panic running forward, or shooting at your enemy.

*That is a central concept in your book. Explain what you mean by forward
panic — and when it comes up.*

Forward panic is kind of a two- or three-step drama. Act I is a tense
confrontation: police chasing somebody at high speed in a car, or two groups
of soldiers who are in an intense standoff with neither side winning. Act II
is where one side suddenly becomes weak: The cops finally catch up to their
victim, or when, [in the case of] combat troops, someone’s side may fall
down or back themselves into a corner. And Act III turns out to be the
atrocity. It’s as if the tension that was built up in the first phase now
gets released into this sort of emotionally overwhelming attack on a weak

It’s actually fairly important for one’s safety in that kind of
confrontation to not necessarily be confident but to hold your ground. The
sudden appearance of being weak, like trying to run away and then falling
down — falling down is a really terrible thing to have happen if there’s a
small crowd of people chasing you because it triggers that kind of
forward-panic response.

*It’s a truism that movie violence is stylized. But you still say that if
most people saw real violence they would be surprised at either, one, how
boring it was or, two, how ugly it was.*

I think the first time wide numbers of the public actually saw real live
violence was the Rodney King videotape, which, you know, is very ugly. It
goes counter to what we think violence is.

*Because of the imbalance.*

That’s a really typical forward panic: a 100-mile-an-hour vehicle chase,
then you ended up with eight or nine squad cars. They had about 18 cops on
the scene. And as a matter of fact, the first arresting officer had been a
woman, and Rodney King was sort of insolent to her. The other cops were sort
of overloaded. They had all sorts of reasons to be steamed up, and in effect
they got caught up in this overkill, which is very typical of a forward

*How is it ugly in one-on-one situations?*

In one-to-one situations, it’s usually not ugly so much as it is boring.
There’s a really strong tendency for people to jaw at each other, and then
eventually the fight winds down because it becomes so repetitive. It’s not
difficult to keep fights from escalating as long as it’s one on one. All you
have to do is be really boring. They will keep on trying to escalate the
fight, but you just stay at the same level.

*Bore your opponent into submission. I think I could handle that.*

You can actually see in videotapes people say the same thing over and over
and over again, 10, 20 times. That’s actually quite distinctive of conflict

*What if people are violent and want to be violent, but they also don’t want
to be hurt, so they need to get themselves pumped up or otherwise push
themselves forward into violence? Couldn’t that be another explanation for
what you’ve observed?*

We can actually take a fair amount of pain if it’s not in a conflictual type
of situation. People in disasters tend to behave quite heroically; people in
medical situations who are under a lot of pain tend to behave surprisingly
well. Soldiers are put through painful body-stressing exercises. But the
same people seem to have trouble with the notion of actually hitting
somebody else in a combat situation or even in a fistfight. It looks as
though people have more trouble inflicting violence on other people than
taking it.

*Crucial to your theory is that it’s specifically the “face to faceness”
that causes the problem — and you have an evolutionary explanation for that.

The argument that I made in my book *Interaction Ritual Chains* is that
[during] face-to-face interaction, people tend to become emotionally
entrained in each other. That is, if the interaction is going well, people
will focus more and more on the common mood and the small gestures that they
make, the rhythm in which they talk. They will tend to become attuned to
each other. If you think about it from an evolutionary perspective, it’s not
too surprising that human beings have evolved to have this high degree of
susceptibility to each others’ nervous systems.

*So violence is the ultimate breakdown of the social solidarity that you are
trained or evolutionarily bred to desire.*

Yeah, so from that point of view evolutionary psychologists, in my opinion,
have picked on the wrong feature. The idea that we’re a bunch of solitary
individuals out there seeking to dominate others or to dominate the gene
pool I think misses the major feature of human beings, which is that we’re
evolved to be extremely sociable. If you put the two things together — this
high degree of sensitivity to other people and then a conflict situation —
you can find that the conflict is running right up against our hard-wiring.
So no wonder people are tense. Now does this mean that human beings don’t
have aggressiveness? Of course we do, but I think it’s a mistake to confound
aggression with violence. Looking at the facial expression of people in
violent situations again, it’s remarkable how little anger there is in those
situations. People seem to be angry more from a safe distance.

*So it’s the bloggers back home who are venting their spleen on the enemy,
but soldiers on the front line are tense and grudgingly respectful.*

That’s exactly right. You could say that we’re good at conflict, we’re even
good at violence — providing it can be done at a long distance. People don’t
have any difficulty dropping bombs from planes or shooting artillery over
the horizon. It’s when someone’s in a fight that we have trouble with it.

*Have you ever been in a fight?*

I have about 100 ethnographic cases that I use, and about 15 to 18 of those
are fights I have seen myself, including some where I was a participant.
Although I must say most of these are from my youthful days.

*Did you prove your own thesis that people are incompetent at fighting?*

Yeah, I think that’s probably true.

*Christopher Shea is a writer in Washington.*
Section: The Chronicle Review
Volume 54, Issue 24, Page B15

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