This is a question that has been asked for many centuries. The Greeks philosopher Plato explained violent behavior by the fact that humans had a dual character because of their greedy nature. The Church always blamed the devil for possessing violent people. 

Modern psychologists tend to search the reason for this in political issues. But scientists are also debating about the reason why peaceful people suddenly start killing each other. Don’t we have a kill switch in our brains which prevents us from being a killer? Maybe there is a biological explanation instead of a moral one that explains why some people are able to overcome the natural aversion of harming others?

After 20 years of studying the problem, neurosurgeon Itzhak Fried is talking about the E-syndrome.


After intensive research, he concluded that the prefrontal cortex, and not the primitive brain, was responsible for violent crimes. A so called “cognitive fracture” was no longer controlling the sub cortical areas that should prevent a person from harming others. “Specific parts of the prefrontal cortex become hyperactive and dampen the activity of the amygdala, which regulates emotion.”

To support this theory, Lasana Harris, a Dutch neuroscientist, performed MRI and EEG scans on certain social groups and concluded that “people are capable of suppressing their social-brain in order to perceive their enemies as dehumanized objects." The question remains as to why some people suddenly feel the need to join terrorist groups and engage in these killings.

Psychologists add that many extremists today are motivated by disillusionment in society and the decision to become a terrorist also depends on a person’s environment, education and social network.

Violence is of all times. Near Frankfurt, Germany, a 5,000 to 7,000 years old mass grave was discovered, containing the bodies of 26 children that were slaughtered. The massacre might have been the result of a failed harvest and lack of food. In the Middle Ages, people were hanged or decapitated for their crimes.


More recently, in the twentieth century, numerous people were killed in the Armenian Genocide in Turkey, the Jews suffered in the II World War, Ethnic massacres happened in Rwanda and former Yugoslavia. Today, several Islamic terrorist groups like ISIS and Boko Haram are butchering people in the name of Islam, using the same cruel medieval methods again.

Of all God’s creatures, mankind is the only one killing its own species this way.

Will we ever be able to ban violence from our lives?