Dehumanization Is A Weapon Of Mass Destruction
What is happening to our so-called civilized world? We, who have braved the tides of evolution to become what we are today; what are we but what we tried to escape. If these words seem too twisted for common comprehension, then we are on the right track! Life and all that it entails has become twisted and grotesque. We find amusement in violence and gore, good news is not met with as much awe as fear or horror.
A body is not a body any longer; it is merely a carcass waiting to be observed as a wilder beast culled by a savanna lion. The continuous onslaught of news about Syrian refugees, the inhuman treatment of Bangladeshi immigrants in Malaysia, bombings and mass genocide, the kidnappings and killings by the ISIS- nothing is sacred any more, least of all human life. Humans have become objects of destruction.
Many indigenous cultures as well as ancient civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece and China boast of a history not up to par with humanity. From violence to oppression to seclusion, dehumanization of the being has been prevalent. From ancient time investigation into the psyche have been conducted to find out how essentialism can cast a light on the psychological aspects of dehumanization. The philosophical study of essentialism dates back to the greats namely Plato and Aristotle. The essence of a thing is supposed to be what give an object is value; then have we human lost our essence of humanity. Alternatively, has the value of human life in all its aspects lost its meaning?
If, indeed this is not true, then why has history been besmirched in recent years by the dusky blanket of blood? Look out at the world today, pick up your local newspaper, look at any news feed on any social media panel, nothing is devoid of violence and degradation. Dehumanization is not merely about the violent but also the non-violent abusers in society. These abusers go unseen, unchecked until it might be too late.
In 1945, the Americans sent out cartoons depicting the Japanese as parasites, who needed to have their population culled. Not long after the attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki followed. In Germany, Jews were labeled as Untermenschen (subhumans) akin to vermin. In Rwanda, the Tutsi tribe, were likened to cockroaches. Israeli PM has characterized the Palestinian killers as predatory beasts. What does all this have in common? All these people have been degraded from being human to being accused of something they are not. Yes, what they did were crime, crimes against humanity but in retribution do not become your enemy.
The term ‘dehumanization’ has come to acquire a variety of meanings since the introduction of this word in the 19th century. Some take it to be a derogatory word game linking humans to animals, others take it to be simple the degradation of humanity via cruelty and still other, believe it a denial of individuality or subjectivity of quintessentially human characteristics.
I believe the problem lies herein; Dehumanization is always likened to people like Hitler or Pol Pot, but in reality are these the only people to whom the name can be attributed? No, you don’t have to be a ogre or a madman to dehumanize other all you have to be is am ordinary human being.
Many social experiments have been carried out in recent years, especially by performance artists in order to see how people react, take the case of Marina Abramovic. This woman took public trust to the next level. She stood in public and laid before her 72 items from flowers to a loaded gun, she further announced that she would not do anything no matter what was done to her. At first the reaction was simple giggling to a few flowers being thrown at her, this quickly escalated into a horrifying series of events where she was stabbed with rose thorns, her clothes were ripped off and a man pointed the loaded gun at her head. At the end of the 6 hours, Marina started to walk towards the crowd, to her own amazement and that of the bystanders everyone scattered in fear of confrontation. Why was this? It’s easy to be violent when you have no fear of retribution. This is similar to the Stanford Prison Experiment conducted by Philip Zimbardo or Stanley Milgram’s Obedience Experiment. People are most threatened by things they deem to be different and then they channel that fear into violence.
In the dark recesses of humanity lies a silent green creature, waiting to spring forth if ever given a chance. I promise you it will wreck havoc. Do not allow it to, for your sake as much as for others.