The Psychology of Genocide, Massacres, and Extreme Violence: Why "Normal" People Come to Commit Atrocities

The Psychology of Genocide, Massacres, and Extreme Violence: Why "Normal" People Come to Commit Atrocities

The Psychology of Genocide, Massacres, and Extreme Violence: Why "Normal" People Come to Commit Atrocities

The Psychology of Genocide, Massacres, and Extreme Violence: Why "Normal" People Come to Commit Atrocities

Synopsis

Books and libraries are a cornerstone of education and learning as well as a passport to new worlds for men, women, and children across America and around the world. Published with the American Library Association, Reading with the Stars uses the power of politicians, celebrities, and other prominent men and women to celebrate books, libraries, and reading. Fourteen of the biggest names in America offer their thoughts on why literature is important and how books have touched their lives in a myriad of ways. These essays not only offer a unique insight into the author, but serve as a reminder of the power of literature to broaden your mind and worldview. Among those interviewed are:

- Barack Obama
- Oprah Winfrey
- Laura Bush
- David Mamet
- Jamie Lee Curtis
- Julie Andrews
- Bill Gates

A fun, fascinating gift for anyone who works in the world of publishing, libraries, or bookselling or who just appreciates the written word.

Excerpt

Throughout film history men have been transformed into mythical beasts—to vampires and werewolves, each with a terrible violence that supposedly transcended the human condition. In fact, this may be a metaphor for the transformation to brutality that we are capable of as humans. When we describe a kindhearted act, we call it “humane,” and heinous acts are performed on “dehumanized” victims. Yet throughout human history humanity has been the most destructive species on the planet. Hopes that the Renaissance would produce a more enlightened, cultured, and nonviolent phase of humanity have long since been dashed. The twentieth century, just past, has been the bloodiest in human history. Our capabilities to build more powerful weapons increase each year; our capacity to experience compassion for humanity as a whole does not. Indeed, as we will see in Chapter 1 of this book, the process of generating slaughter is no different in the twenty-first century than it was in the eleventh century: define an enemy, accuse that enemy of horrible actions or the potential for the same, generate fear and a sense of a just cause, and accuse those who do not fall into line of heresy or a lack of patriotism. A tribal passion ensues that generates the capacity for extreme rage and genocidal violence—the will to annihilate an entire people. The pathway to this tribal passion can occur through rapid societal change— the development of new norms defining violence as acceptable and targeting the victim group who are typically described as vermin or a virus. This view of the enemy group spreading generates rapid fear-based action to exterminate them as quickly as possible, even their infants.

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