Violence is a Preventable Brain Disorder

By Jacob Devaney on Saturday January 24th, 2015

'Think of a world without war, a world of social justice, a world of ecological sustainability...'

This is the opening line of Robin Grille’s talk at TEDX Pittwater. Sounds pretty good right? Grille is a psychologist, author, educator and advocate for children, who is not alone in his dream for a better world. For those interested, you will find that what he has to share is one of the most crucial keys to creating the future we aspire towards.

How do we unlock the peace code in the human brain and help it to find its’ full expression?

I had the pleasure of collaborating with Robin many years ago in promoting The Children’s Well-Being Manifesto, and his work continues to inspire great hope. For those in the UPLIFT community, the notion of creating a new story of healing is deeply entrenched and also backed by science as seen in the research of Bruce Lipton, PhD.

Oxytocin grows in the brain

We literally have the ability to change the world we live in by addressing our core belief systems. This logic can be applied to our deeply held beliefs that human-beings are wired for violence, which the science of epigenetics refutes completely. Human behavior is much more a product of our environment and conditioning than it is dictated by genes. This points directly to child-rearing practices, and the ways that it affects the developing brain.

Harsh, punitive, and cold environments along with chronic stress cause the brain to release a neurotoxin known as cortisol. Cortisol literally destroys brain cells in the area of the brain connected to emotional regulation and impulse control causing the prefrontal lobes to atrophy. Whereas, loving supportive connection in a safe environment causes the brain to secrete oxytocin which developed these centers and cultivates the capacity for empathy, which is the neurological foundation for peace. The conclusion is that Violence is a Preventable Brain Disorder.

In his talk (below) Robin Grille also explores the fascinating historical and cultural roots of our story of violence along with a 7-step plan to re-write the code and create a peaceful planet where we are less violent to each other and towards our environment. In a recent uplift blog post titled, How to Stop the 6th Mass Extinction Bruce Lipton states:

…the realization that we can change the whole story right now. We don’t need to try to fight the old story. We simply need to walk outside the old story and build a new story. People will leave the old story when they see a new story working.  Every individual who changes their own story, is changing the vibrational environment within which we live.  We can have the spontaneous remission of the planet’s ills and we can change the environment by just changing who we are.

Clearly we are living in a potent time where science and spirituality give us the tools to change our ways of creating and interacting with the world around us. Please make some time in your day to watch this enlightening talk and share the inspiration with your networks. More importantly, make the effort to help that single-parent in your community and open your heart to embrace the children in your life with love, connection, support, and safety!

Robin Grille explains how our treatment of children can affect the fate of the world.

Jacob Devaney

Founder and director of Culture Collective, creative activist, musician, and producer.



Can We Go to the Very Root of Violence and Be Free From It?

Five Small Gestures of Gratitude to Counteract Violence

Is Violence a Curable Disease?


The Shamanic View of Mental Illness

Plato’s Wisdom on How to Live a Good Life

Three Steps to a Kinder Mind


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11 Comments on "Violence is a Preventable Brain Disorder"

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Robin Grille
When people first hear that human war and violent crime can end, they are surprised – not surprisingly. There is protest. “Humans are born with violence inside them, just like every other animal” – that’s usually how it goes. And it seems perfectly reasonable. In fact, it is true. But…………the fact that all humans have violence potential is not the same as saying that war and crime are inevitable facts of life. The fact is that those two truths are incredibly separate. All healthy humans have the capacity for violent self-defense, or violent protection of their children. All can be… Read more »
Steven Berge
Steven Berge

Yes, I agree that our leaders are brain damaged 🙂 since we are in near perpetual war.

Kathe Gogolewski
Kathe Gogolewski
A quick comment to the author, Jacob Devaney: While I thank you for the wonderful and needed information in your article, I would like to make one point. I was a single mom and a very happy one. As a single mom, I networked with other single moms, who often expressed their own satisfaction about being moms, too. The point being that we, collectively, expressed a belief that we don’t fit the stereotype of the single mom having a difficult life. Life for all has its difficulties at times, but generally we all felt extremely blessed. I think it can… Read more »
[…] Poor eating habits, lack of exercise, and a toxic environment, can lower a persons immune system and set the stage for illness. In the same way, there are many environmental factors that are precursors to violence. Psychologist, Robin Grille, has done extensive research linking child-rearing practices with brain development. Science shows that children who grow up in unsafe, abusive, and stressful situations, do not develop the parts of the brain associated with impulse control and emotional regulation. The research is stunning and you can learn more about it by seeing Robin’s TED Talk, The Peace Code, or reading the short… Read more »
Te Awhina Pouwhare
Te Awhina Pouwhare

LOVE LOVE LOVE this.. as a parent who came from a violent upbringing, i knew by the age of 10yrs when Im a parent i will not treat my children they way i am being treated.. i have four children and i am changing the world slowly but surely every day

Christian Vogel

Violence is a cultural and predominantly MALE disorder. Our women proof that the roots of violence are neither a brain nor a genetical disorder, but a mental one. Violence
in all its forms is a predominant male “disease”. We can heal it, but
first we have to discuss and find out how the infection works before we
can immunize ourselves. War is organized violence by people who are also

Kathryn Hochhauser
Kathryn Hochhauser

As a mother, I knew that my children came into this world perfect and that it was up to me to protect that part of them. Unfortunately, it has been a long journey for us all. I received very little to almost no support from my family or the rest of the world. Somehow, we have all continued to grow in peace and love. Here it is 30+ years later and you, Robin, are what I have always wanted to hear!! <3 <3

Steven Berge
Steven Berge

There seems to be a math problem with our violent world. It takes fewer violent people to overcome peace, than it takes peaceful people to overcome violence. That may be why we have a system where the most greedy, cunning and ruthless people are in control. I hope our strength in numbers can assert itself soon.