“Less Than Human”
(Why We Demean, Enslave and Exterminate Others)
I cannot fathom the feelings of hatred and contempt that is held and felt by those that beat, torture, and murder others. And I know that I am not alone in wondering how anyone can show such disregard for other human beings. It isn’t that I don’t know anger or even rage because I have felt the internal burn when I have witnessed or experienced injustice and blatant disregard for human life.
But, it occurred to me that not everyone sees me as fully human in fact there has been a long history of dehumanizing others that persists today:
When the Nazis described Jews as Untermenschen, or subhumans, they didn’t mean it metaphorically, . . . “They didn’t mean they were like subhumans. They meant they were literally subhuman.”
Then, within the human category, there has historically been a hierarchy. In the 18th century, white Europeans — the architects of the theory — “modestly placed themselves at the very pinnacle.” The lower edges of the category merged with the apes, according to their thinking.
So “sub-Saharan Africans and Native Americans were denizens of the bottom of the human category,” when they were even granted human status. Mostly, they were seen as “soulless animals.” And that dramatic dehumanization made it possible for great atrocities to take place. ( David Livingston Smith, 2011).
The danger is that what follows dehumanization is violence and in some cases genocide. We are seeing the atrocities every day here in the U.S. and around the world. We are seeing these atrocities at a time when humans are more ‘advanced’ than at any other time in our history. However, how one defines advancement may not include any evolution in our moral, spiritual or cultural consciousness. And until we advance in these ways we are doomed to a future fraught with devastation and times ahead full of palpable angst and ultimate anarchy. The choice is ours. . .
In The Struggle. . .