Is seeking conflict an inevitable part of human nature?Is seeking conflict an inevitable part of human nature?

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Jessica Gardner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I'm not sure whether I agree that all people intrinsically seek out conflict. Yes, from a natural selection standpoint, as brought up above, humans have had to compete for natural resources our entire existence. And undoubtedly there are personalities of people who instigate conflict, both on a small and large scale. But we should also take into account the number of people who prefer to avoid conflict. The entire ideology of pacifism is based on avoiding conflict, for example.    

I believe the matter is separated by personality type rather than being a basic human instinct. Yes, some conflict is unavoidable, but again, I think it's hard to prove that every one of us seeks out disputes. If that was not the case, there would be no existence of religious, political, or racial tolerance in the world. The embracement or rejection of conflict is rather something that is idiosyncratic to each particular individual.

That said, it is probably worth considering the fact that advancements in our societies have awarded us the luxury of being able to avoid conflict without sacrificing the ability to be successful in our environment. Perhaps only extremely dominant and aggressive individuals long ago would have found success. Today, however, with less threat to survival and more open access to natural resources for all, there is room in society for those who would rather not have to seek out disputes.

dano7744 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

People have been involved in conflict since the beginning of time. The world landscape has been marred by war for hundreds of years. Yes, I believe that we, as humans, because of our innate psychology seek out conflict and it is a part of human nature. Competition for resources, ideological and religious differences has fueled this action of conflict. Not to mention class systems, inequalities, and jealousy---all have had the effect of contributing to conflict. As a society, we want what others have, whether it be land, money, way of life or any number of tangible or intangible things or ideas. This situation breeds contempt for our fellow man and leads to inevitable conflict.

litlady33 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would say that it is not. Though some people do have a higher affinity for conflict, there are others who will avoid it at all costs. Neither of these traits is desirable. If you have someone who seeks conflict, they will create problems. However, if you have someone who avoids conflict, that person will likely not get important things accomplished and/or will never get the chance to express to someone how they feel about something.

Conflict will always be present because there will always be two opposing forces. This is not because people seek conflict but because it is in human nature to achieve whatever goal a person thinks is right.

wannam eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Conflict is inevitable.  Some people seek it out while others will do anything to avoid it.  It is a part of life.  We cannot always agree with everyone and this leads to conflict.  Even animals in nature experience conflict.  There are battles over territory, food, or mates.  I think conflict is a part of life and nature that we cannot fully escape.  As humans beings, we must find different ways to resolve our conflicts.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Absolutely. I have several childhood friends who grew up to become lawyers, and they were always ready for an argument, even if they had to take the opposing viewpoint. As for physical conflicts, many people choose to settle arguments with their fists, especially when they are unable to win on their intellect alone.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It sure seems that way to me.  It seems that we seek out conflict as individuals and as societies.  We seem to want to prove that we are better than the next person in whatever way we can.  This varies, of course, from person to person, but the basic impulse seems to be there in almost all of us.

e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Conflict, as has been said, is inevitable. I agree with the posts above suggesting that many people do not seek out conflict. Instead, people more likely choose to seek to act on their best interests. One person's advantage might be another's disadvantage. Thus, conflict is born.