when watching films and documentaries about the holocaust, or even reading about it, one eventually must ask oneself “how did this happen?” “how can mankind be so cruel to itself?” “how can a human do that to other humans?” these questions are hard to answer, but there is one underlying factor in all this cruelty (and all cruelty towards humans): dehumanization.
lately i’ve been grappling with some really tough questions of my own, regarding my life and my past, and specifically the kinds of cruelty i’ve been subjected to. i keep asking myself, “why did [removed] do this to me?” “how could [removed] be so cruel to me? so inhumane?”. the answer to these questions is the same as the answer during the holocaust. [removed] must have dehumanized me, made me into an abstraction, an enemy, something not worth thought or consideration. only once somebody isn’t a human is it possible to subject them to cruelty. if [removed] had really considered me as a living breathing thinking loving human being, i’d like to believe [removed] wouldn’t have been so cruel.
but i guess i can’t really know, i can’t really answer any questions with any certainty. and that’s kind of the maddening part; my mind is trying to wrap itself around this whole mass of blackness and pain and it just can’t do it. one piece seems to elude me. maybe it’s my dehumanization that i didn’t account for, but again, i’m never really going to know.
- Is There A Neuroscience of Human Evil? (drvitelli.typepad.com)
- Brain’s Failure to Engage, Responsible for Dehumanizing (ibtimes.com)
- The Dehumanized Situation of Atrocities (thesituationist.wordpress.com)
- Where is Empathy? (thesolivagantspectator.wordpress.com)