Why Do Humans Argue and Why Are There Wars?

Updated on November 17, 2017
Phyllis Doyle profile image

Physical and spiritual well being is of great importance to Phyllis. Spirituality is deeply ingrained in Phyllis' life.

Conflict | Source

Difficult Question

Why do humans argue? Why are there wars? Those are difficult questions to answer, because the subjects are very complex. Or, are they? I have given this a lot of thought over the last few months and, by delving into the thoughts of my mentor, found a simple answer that makes sense to me spiritually and intellectually.


Albert Einstein was a theoretical physicist. I often quote one of his very wise statements.

"Look deep into nature ..."

What does Einstein's quote have to do with why we argue and why there are wars? This is where I find the simple answers.

Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.

— Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein, a Brilliant man

Albert Einstein during a lecture in Vienna in 1921
Albert Einstein during a lecture in Vienna in 1921 | Source

Animal World

Look into the animal world. There is a proud lion relaxing and watching over his pride. Suddenly another male lion comes into the scene looking to claim territory and a following.

Instantly the relaxed lion is alert and stands to defend his pride and territory. He faces the challenger with a threatening stance and a warning growl.

Sometimes this will be enough to make the newcomer rethink his idea, thus he may back up and leave. Often, the challenger will stand, growl back to show his determination and intention. At that point a vicious fight will ensue, with the most wounded lion retreating, or in the case of a fatal outcome and one dies, there is a victor.

Knowing they might lose, or even die, why do the lions not just avoid the situation? It is because they feel the need to protect what is theirs. They both believe they are in the right. And there we have it - belief. They will defend their belief to the death if necessary.

Defender and Challenger


Humans also defend their beliefs and will argue till they win, or are proved wrong, or just walk away with the thought that it is not worth it. In the last case, nothing is solved and thoughts may turn to anger and eventually another argument.

We all have a belief system. Beliefs separate us from each other. I tell people, "I am a free spirit. I believe in God, not religion. I do not worship in a church or temple. I meditate and commune with God or my inner self in nature. Does that not separate me from those who are Christians or some other religions? It does. It isolates me from some friends. Will I argue about it, because it is my belief system?

I used to adamantly defend my belief and my right to my own thoughts when someone called me foolish or disagreed with me. That really did not solve anything. I have since learned to just calmly accept myself for who I am and embrace my beliefs. I learned from my mentor and from nature to come from love, for myself and all life forms. I accept the fact that others have just as much right as I do to have their own belief system. I will not try to convert anyone and not argue with those who want to convert me. To find peace with my truths within myself, makes it so much easier to let others find their own peace and truths.

But, what about wars in this world? Is it possible to solve differences of belief and come to a peaceful solution?

Meditation in Nature

Mountain, Meditation, Nature
Mountain, Meditation, Nature | Source


Based on history and what is going on in the world today, it does not seem possible to prevent wars. Since time immemorial, humanity has had the primordial instinct to defend their territory and beliefs. Humans have always had that animal instinct to fight for their territory and beliefs.

It is not an easy task to stop or prevent wars.

The only way to prevent wars, in my humble opinion, is for world leaders to sit down and discuss the issues with their highest priority being peace. For that to happen the world leaders would have to be coming from love and respect - love and respect for their self, their people, and for each other.

A world of peace cannot be achieved in any other way. Is that thought a delusion, a fantasy? Maybe, but it is possible. With love, compassion, kindness, and forgiveness, anything is possible. Peace starts within one's self.

It is the nature of the human mind to defend and argue. Is there not a better way?

I would like to know your thoughts on this, dear readers.

Nature of the Mind, skip to 15:03 to hear the Dalai Lama


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    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hello Vladimir. Thank you so much for contributing to this article with your comment, I really appreciate. I agree with you on all your words of wisdom. Thank you again and take care.

    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 

      2 years ago from Canada

      Phyllis---I think people don't argue so much out of arrogance generated by partially animalistic nature---but rather out of a defensive mode ingrained into their biology.

      Namely, at the very cellular level we are constantly defending ourselves from sickness and death, and then it creates a psychological equivalent of our defensive mechanism, while we unconsciously see our individual differences as a threat to our psycho-physical survival.

      In other words, we are wired to interpret others as a potential threat. Since it is displayed to a different degree in all of us, some like to argue more than others---feeling more threatened than others.

      And as for the wars, well, our leaders are in the first place political careerists and oftentimes just political puppets of the richest and most influential groups. It is a well known fact that at the basis of every war in the history were some economic motives at play---big money spoke louder than all cannons.

      In my modest opinion nothing will change much until mankind's consciousness evolves to the level of quieting down the animalistic tendencies in humans---or frontal brain lobe making biologically obsolete the lower portions of brain.

      Being a long time meditator I can subjectively feel the different dynamism in my both extremes fighting for dominance.

      Peace will come when the "monkey" is lulled into submission, and frequencies of our divine essence are not muffled anymore by the frequencies of animalistic noise coming from our survival arsenal.

      Anyhow, I truly enjoyed your article, Phyllis.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hi Peggy. The Dalai Lama exudes peace and love. To listen to him, or even see a photo of him, brings a smile and peace to me.

      You know, there is no wrong answer to the questions I pose in my article. Every person will bring up something that is true. It takes a lot of work to find harmony and balance within. As you say, "there are people who simply do not want to put in that kind of work." For them it is easier to just argue and control.

      Yes, world peace is worth it. More and more people are working at bringing peace to the world. It has not stopped wars, but at least more people are aware that peace is possible.

      Will we ever have 'world peace'? It is possible in my opinion. We just have to work at it.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Yes, Shyron does have a good point, Ann. And so are you. To rise above it is what I tell someone in a difficult situation with an aggressor who is constantly trying to dominate, which can ruin a person's life. I have a friend who has family members who will lie outrageously to accuse her of false deeds, then gossip about it to gather followers. Fortunately, my friend is able to rise above it, for she has faith in herself and knows her truths. Sometimes it gets her down, then she meditates till she finds her peace within - she can rise above and let it go.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      The Dalai Lama tape was very interesting. I did not watch all of it but enough to know that to balance emotions one has to work at it. It would seem that there are people who simply do not want to put in that kind of work.

      Is world peace worth it? In my opinion that answer would be yes. Sadly others would not agree. Thus it seems that even though peace loving people exist, those who do not desire it will always have our world in turmoil causing wars of one type or another.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Blessings to Shyron my friend. You are right, it really is that simple. When one wants to control others there will be arguments. In the case of wars it is about territory and religion. Yet, I still cannot easily grasp why people cannot allow others their rights to believe what they want, to worship as they want, to keep their own lands, to live in peace with each other.

      Humans are intelligent. But, where is their intelligence when they feel they have to fight to gain more and more of what is not theirs? What ever happened to caring?

      I honestly do not think the purpose of humanity is to fight and take from others. There is a far greater purpose and it is within each of us.

      Thank you dear Shyron for contributing your thoughts.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      2 years ago from SW England

      I think Shyron has a good point. There are people who want to dominate, whatever the situation. They are right and we are wrong - I have a neighbour like that who is making life very difficult at the moment. All we can do is rise above it.


    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      2 years ago from Texas

      Phyllis, what a thought provoking article and questions. Why do we argue? Because of stubborn beliefs that what one thinks is true and we must convince the other that we are right and they are wrong.

      Why are there wars? Wars are started when one person/group of persons want to rule the person/group of persons. To me it is this simple.

      Blessings my friend.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Thank you, Ann. I am interested to read what others think. I am sure there will be many different thoughts on the subject.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      2 years ago from SW England

      Absolutely, Phyllis. The more there are, I think, the less likely it is for an aggressor to win - but that's just in a small group of ordinary people.....

      Interesting comments so far. I will keep an eye on this one!


    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hi Ann, and thank you. You brought up a good point. Some people are so aggressive and there is just no way to help them listen and consider another viewpoint. I think the best thing to do is to hold true to your self and the reasons you think war is unjustifiable. Repeat your thoughts once then do not respond further. If this is in a group, someone else is bound to cut in to agree with one or the other, and others will step in ... this would be the whole point of the meeting, to agree upon a resolution. If, however, the discussion is between just two people, the pacifist can always put up hands and walk away or the two agree to disagree.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hi Bill. True, the most aggressive ones about war are the ones who know they will profit. I do believe that peace does start within an individual who can express love and right thinking to light a lantern in someone else, who can light a lantern ... etc., etc., etc.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      The cynic in me says that wars exist so that others may profit from them. The hopeless dreamer says that one day we will see peace. At this point I'd settle for somewhere in-between.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      2 years ago from SW England

      Good piece, Phyllis, and thought provoking.

      What happens, though, when one aggressor is faced with a pacifist but continues his fight? It seems that many just start off with a wish to control and any little thing becomes a personal insult because it is not what they want to happen.

      This is a difficult one. It'll be interesting to see what others come up with. Great way of starting a discussion on such an important issue.



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