One of the most disturbing things I've realized as I get older is that humans are horribly vulnerable to groupthink. Which is exactly why the "great" religions are so dangerous.
Dr. Michael Berenbaum was one of those people who made me think differently - this is what he said about his holocaust research:
"I have been studying the holocaust for 40 years. And at first I was most interested in the victims. I wanted to narrate their story to tell what happened to them. Over time I understood that you couldn't tell the victims' story without also telling the story of the killers. And I became fascinated, not by the inhumanity of the killers but by the humanity of the killers. If all of the killers were sadists and demonically evil, then the world would be more protected from the implications of the holocaust because it wouldn't say that ordinary men, given extraordinary circumstances could become systematic killers. To understand that they had an "Auschwitz self" which was a systematic killing self and then the self that could flirt with young women, that could schmoosh with their collegues, that could enjoy themselves and relax. That presents a human challenge to us because it means that ordinary men and women have the capacity to do the most extraordinary things, awful things, evil things, horrific things."
Same goes for the Rwandan genocide - the killers were normal people just like you and me. Sam Harris mentioned a book I'm reading right now (and it's chilling to say the least) called "Machete Season: The killers in Rwanda speak. What Berenbaum said applies to this as well.
Us humans become toxic towards others when we are exposed to stupid and violent doctrines. Violence really seems to be mostly about people's moral codes. Not about being crazy psychopaths.
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