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  #21  
Old 17.05.2011, 15:46
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Re: The Godwin thread...

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Don't worry - they don't teach much foreign history here, either.

"History is written by the victors" Winston Churchill
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  #22  
Old 17.05.2011, 15:49
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Re: The Godwin thread...

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Isn't that the crux of it though?

If you can be manipulated by your circumstances - as can be shown - should you as an individual be responsible or should the people who put you in that position take the blame?
I think it's frightening when anyone denies their own free will. But maybe there is a paradox there because free will itself may just be an illusion. Reality itself is a web of cause and effect. And it seems one never has to look very far to find someone or something else to blame. But I think that one of the beauties of highly developed consciousness is that it allows for moral responsibility and the ability to recognize the power of it within one's own self.
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  #23  
Old 17.05.2011, 15:51
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Re: The Godwin thread...

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"History is written by the victors" Winston Churchill
History repeats itself. Has to. No-one listens. - S. Turner.
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If you can be manipulated by your circumstances - as can be shown - should you as an individual be responsible or should the people who put you in that position take the blame?
Both. Next question?
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  #24  
Old 17.05.2011, 15:53
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Re: The Godwin thread...

I think huge influence in the creation of cruel situations lies in the following terms:

- belief in authority (people) -Milgram
- enjoying power (leader and people) -prison exp.
- Angst
- certain other Values (identification with your 'peer group')
- reduction of complexity in thinking
- reduction of self-reflection


A strong belief in authority, always leads to reduction in thinking on the level of the individual. This can - to a certain degree - be 'necessary' or 'good' for an efficient system like e.g. the state. Contrary it has the permanant danger that if the leaders striving for bad things: war, discrimination etc. you (or better to say, your soul ) would be lost because of absorbtion of others opinions.

So I think a natural distrust in ideologies is healthy.

Also by looking at people, I agree that it doesn't come suddenly that a person ends up like a monster. To see those character traits of the people around oneself (and in myself), one can simply watch how they behave when they gain power.(can also be small things) Find that always interesting to observe.

Are they getting overly-excited? or not. What use do people make out of their possibilities? or which options do they choose from their range of actions.

This behaviour/power thing will most probably portray their 'true' character. Or at least their potential to act cruel in similar kind of situations, even if the actions/deeds are getting more extreme.


Always liked the book "Lord of the flies" a lot. Though written in a simple style, it portrays very good the development of (what we see as evil behavior).

best example for regarding cruelty or evil deeds as a process:

"Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings." (Heinrich Heine) in the 19th century btw....
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  #25  
Old 17.05.2011, 15:54
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Re: The Godwin thread...

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I think it's frightening when anyone denies their own free will. But maybe there is a paradox there because free will itself may just be an illusion. Reality itself is a web of cause and effect. And it seems one never has to look very far to find someone or something else to blame. But I think that one of the beauties of highly developed consciousness is that it allows for moral responsibility and the ability to recognize the power of it within one's own self.

Narrator: There are those who say that life is an illusion, and that reality is but a figment of
the imagination. If this is so, then Brad and Janet are quite safe
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  #26  
Old 17.05.2011, 16:04
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Re: The Godwin thread...

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But that's not the whole story though. The Germans are one of a type but other nations may not act in the same way.
When the Russians over-ran Germany at the end of the war, they were astonished that the German people obeyed, without question, every order, how ever horrific the consequences, that their soldiers gave.

I'm not sure that every nation would act in the same way though I think that many would.
This reminds me of the fact that the US once so eagerly detonated two atomic bombs over Japan, which resulted in the massacre of so many innocent civilians and also quickly threw just about every Japanese person in the US into a camp. And the majority of Americans were soooo in favor and proud of the use of that bomb -- right up until the photos of babies missing half of their limbs, etc. were distributed. Then suddenly the American government began to express regret and strongly discourage the use of atomic weapons. I suspect, though, that this was actually due to the government's fear of its own "nuclear karma."
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  #27  
Old 17.05.2011, 16:10
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Re: The Godwin thread...

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Before the war, those chaps running the camps had been bakers, salesmen, painters, roofers and farmhands. What happened to make these normal people into monsters?
Lack of brown sugar
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  #28  
Old 17.05.2011, 16:13
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Re: The Godwin thread...

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Narrator: There are those who say that life is an illusion, and that reality is but a figment of
the imagination. If this is so, then Brad and Janet are quite safe
Well, it's true that we perceive reality not as it truly is but only according to how we are biologically capable of perceiving it. There is a great book on this called: "How consciousness commands matter." So we see things not as they are, but as we are. There is also the issue of "quantum determinism" if you consider that reality is fueled from the subatomic world on up. So I personally think that this is where the illusion comes in.

P.S. This is a GREAT thread and I really enjoy reading everyone's thoughts. So thanks for sharing! Unfortunately, the "thanks" buttons aren't being offered for some reason. Or at least *I* can't see them.
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  #29  
Old 17.05.2011, 16:15
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Re: The Godwin thread...

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P.S. This is a GREAT thread and I really enjoy reading everyone's thoughts. So thanks for sharing! Unfortunately, the "thanks" buttons aren't being offered for some reason. Or at least *I* can't see them.
This thread is in OFF TOPIC - so no thanks or groan buttons available. dont worry, your eyesight is fine.
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  #30  
Old 17.05.2011, 16:15
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Re: The Godwin thread...

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I didnt buy that whole experiment thing - mainly because the participants are role playing - some possibly might have internalised but they know that they are being paid to take part in this experiment versus real life situations like a Nazi concentration camp.

I believe that its the inherent nature of the individual. If you possess a malicious and cruel streak, the war only brings out and encourages that monster in you to do unspeakable things. Call me idealistic but nothing can ever take away the sense of righteousness in an individual. In the most dire and bleak of circumstances, there is always a choice.
I was talking to a guy on the train some years ago. He told me he had been a mercenary in several conflicts (he mentioned Cyprus) and he said deep down tough professinal soldiers are very emotional and sentimental people who would never hurt civilians. He said most atrocities are committed not by real front line soldiers but by reservists, people you stick in uniforms and who feel good about being able to play at being soldiers but have never seen blood or front line action.

It could be there's some truth in what he said.
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  #31  
Old 17.05.2011, 16:25
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Re: The Godwin thread...

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This is a GREAT thread and I really enjoy reading everyone's thoughts. So thanks for sharing!
agree with you!
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  #32  
Old 17.05.2011, 16:31
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Re: The Godwin thread...

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Yeah, I guess that morality is unfortunately not inherent to the human race.
I've also been quite curious as to the psychology behind how and why a nation the size of Germany could be convinced that an entire "race" of humans deserved to be imprisoned and exterminated. It was always my understanding that the Germans disliked the Jews initially because of economic reasons, thinking that the Jews were hoarding the money and jobs, etc. (though I could be wrong). Anyways, this makes me think of the Swiss's dislike toward foreigners and about blind patriotism in general. I've even wondered if the Swiss would EVER be capable of revolting if there was ever a dire need, or would they just follow like sheep?
Some different points.

Distrust of Jews ran deeply in society at that time, not just in Germany. For various reasons which would be too many and complex to enumerate here, Jews were eyed with suspicion by the average man in the street.

In the late 19th Century and on into the 20th Century, things were actually improving for Jews, with many of the legal barriers against them having been taken down and Jews enjoyed full civil rights which was by no means something that could be taken for granted in that day and age. The Nazis were able to plug back in time and remind people of the time before that and connect the downfall of Germany with the rise and liberation of the Jews.

This was easy for them as many Jews at that time and in history had been politically left wing, supporting the socialists or communists and left of center parties and so they overlapped perfectly with the natural enemies of the Nazis.

Add to that that many Jews were rich, and that the Nazis were a criminal murderous regime and always in need of money, it was almost too tempting not to find some way to disown them and seize their wealth.

But although the average man in the street didn't like Jews, he didn't hate them as much to wish them all dead. That's why the Nazis had to be secretive about their plans. Had the average man in the street known the full extent of what was happening, he wouldn't have approved.

At one point, rather than murdering the Jews, the Nazis were even toying with the idea of sending them to Palestine. This makes it all the more ironic that many radical anti-Israeili Muslims sympathise with the Nazis. Had history turned differently, Hitler could have been a founding father of Israel.
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  #33  
Old 17.05.2011, 16:41
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Re: The Godwin thread...

Talking about the Jews is somewhat off-topic though.

They were the largest single group of victims in the holocaust, but they were by no means the only group targeted. It also suggests that if the "Germans" had not hated the "Jews" so much, they wouldn't have been so mean to the them... which is patently not the case.

I've still to see a convincing argument beyong "because they should" as to why someone put in a artificial situation should be held responsible for their actions, when subsequent studies have shown that you can behave in an atypical way in similar "power-trip" situations.

Indeed, I'm hoping someone will, as I'd always been of the opinion that they were responsible for their actions, just as we as individuals are responsible for ours in the everyday run of things.

You have to remember that these experiments (e.g. Stanford/Milgram) were conducted in the 1960-70s, long before, IMO, mass media and a potential "de-sensitisation" effect in society that we see today from violent films, games, news etc. So, speaking to Summerrain's point, I'm not sure that people knew what was expected from them in the artificial experiments and thus behaved accordingly. Surely if you know you are being watched, you might tone it down a little rather than ramp it up?
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