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The Permanent Dehumanizing of Humanity?



Dr. Judith H. Young
Center for Research on Globalization
June 24, 2010

On the day after Thanksgiving, 2008, a holiday season employee died from asphyxiation when he was trampled by some 2,000 bargain hunters smashing through the doors of a Long Island Wal-Mart store on what is traditionally, and in this case quite appropriately, called Black Friday. A 34-year-old, 6-foot-5, 270-pound giant, Jdimytai Damour had been sent to the vestibule as a crowd control measure because of his size. The throngs, who had had been standing outside or waiting in their cars for the 5 AM opening, and who were in competition with each other to get to the bargains, crumpled a metal portion of the door frame like an accordion as they fought their way into the store. Wal-mart employees scurried atop vending machines to avoid the masses, but Damour was knocked down and trampled while he was trying to shield a pregnant shopper.

Other employees were knocked down as they tried to rescue Damour. Nassau police and paramedics trying to save Damour were also jostled and pushed to the ground. Police and witnesses said shoppers continued to surge inside, simply stepped over Damour, and kept shopping even as the store announced it was closing because of the death. Witness Kimberly Cribbs said "all those people who got in went right on shopping after the worker was run over and was seen gasping for air." Four shoppers, including a woman eight months pregnant, were injured and treated at hospitals.

In the ensuing debate regarding whether Damour's death was a prosecutable crime, experts were divided. “In order to prosecute a homicide, you have to establish that someone caused a death," said one lawyer. "If I stepped on his arm, or chest, or leg, even if you have that on video, how are you going to establish that I caused his death?" [1]

Our moral sense finds this legal argument repugnant, and insists on calling a spade a spade: a man was unnecessarily killed as a result of obsessive consumerism in which human beings acted less than human.

Damour's death is horrific enough in itself as an example of the potential consequences of the manipulation of human nature into what film maker Adam Curtis terms "the all-consuming self.” [2] But a mind-boggling video interview with a customer after the incident raises the hypothesis of our deterioration into a subhuman species. A transcript follows, but Footnote 3 gives the link to the You Tube video, which is even more chilling to watch.

Yeah, I was here on Black Friday. Let me tell you about that guy that died. About two thousand of us [were] outside in a...nasty, cold...parking lot -- compressed into a small space....That is not a humane way to treat 2,000 people; they should have set up something like a tent for us to sit in and possibly eat pancakes....That is terrible thing to do to people....And on the inside there was a lot of good deals....He didn't get out of the way. He opened the door and he stood there. This was the one obstacle we had between us and the deal of a lifetime....They said “y'all got to leave.” Most of us said, "unh, unh” [the man gives the finger at this point]. This is Wal-Mart. I can do what I want here. Always. You seen the sign outside? It says I can do what I want here. Actually, I think it says "Low Prices Always," but I equate low prices to freedom. Eagles. Bald ones. Everywhere.... On this particular day, the most holiest of days, Black Friday, [a Wal-Mart employee is meant to help people] buy things much cheaper than normal. And he kept getting in the way....Serves him right, that's all I have to say. I bought a whole set of silverware for eight...for $7.00. If that guy hadn't been standing in my way, I could have gotten it much faster....I bought a bunch of presents for my children...[including] a Barbie...and for Susie...just... a bunch of flannel shirts; I'm pretty sure Susie is going to end up being a lesbian. She's always doing weird things; she's always sawing wood up out in the yard....For my wife I got a shotgun in the hunting section and a tent; she might also be a lesbian, I don't know -- all the girls in my family are fucked up. If that guy wasn't there I could have very easily gotten in and gotten out a little quicker.” [3]

How did we get to this point? To a juncture in which humans are not only capable of mindless killing in their all-consuming narcissism but are also exhibiting an apparent descent of their very species? In 2008 I addressed this tragic anomaly in a two-part essay presenting a threefold model of the types of power used by the ruling class to gain ascendancy -- brute force, the power to hurt, and psychological manipulation [Part I, Part II]. The essay emphasized the prospects for solutions that derive from a keen understanding of the problem – from a forensic dissection of the three forms of power and their potency. In this dissection we need to examine how mind controllers have preyed upon humanity’s lowest common denominators in an effort to literally change the substratum of human nature itself. The group killing cited at the beginning of this article is a pivotal example.

As a social scientist I am repelled by the idea that the inherent architecture of human nature, which includes myriad positive traits, can be permanently or fundamentally altered for the worst. I accordingly find hope in the following expert testimonial:

The pathological authorities are convinced that the appropriate pedagogical, indoctrinational, propaganda, and terrorist means can teach a person with a normal instinctive substratum, range of feelings and basic intelligence to think and feel according to their own [agenda]. This conviction is only slightly less unrealistic than the belief that people able to see colors normally can be broken of this habit [author’s emphasis]…. Normal people will never stop feeling and perceiving psychological and sociomoral phenomena in much the same way as their ancestors; [they] cannot get rid of the characteristics with which the Homo sapiens species was endowed by its phylogenetic past [its evolutionary history]....Any attempt to [thus degrade the human spirit] is fated for failure regardless of how many generations it might last. [4]

These profoundly life-affirming words are from Andrew M. Lobaczewski’s Political Ponerology: A Science of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes, a special grace that has not received the attention it merits. They are not the words of a mindless optimist, but rather of a Pole who lived the brutal repression of both Nazis and Stalinists, who studied their psychopathology first hand, and who managed to get the word out despite enormous personal dangers.

Lobaczewski was a clinical psychologist in Poland with extensive field experience with mental disturbance. My interpretation of his overall argument is as follows: the argument is a rejection of the “blank slate” view of human nature in favor of a theory positing inherent human traits ("a normal instinctive substratum"), traits that include positive moral characteristics such as empathy and altruism. It does not matter whether one believes this as a result of a spiritual worldview or an evidentiary psychological theory such as evolutionary psychology or archetypal psychology. What matters is the starting premise that any effort to eradicate positive human traits is as bound to fail as an attempt to induce color blindness.

Despite this optimistic premise -- and as acknowledged by Lobaczewski himself -- a tyrannical agenda to modify human nature can in fact result in profound distortions of human nature:

It does, however, call forth a series of improper psychological results which may give the pathocrats the appearance of success....Such a pedagogical system...produces serious negative results, especially in those generations unfamiliar with any other conditions of life. Personality development is impoverished....We observe the characteristic lack of respect for one's own organism and [for] the voice of nature and instinct, accompanied by brutali- zation of feelings and customs. [5]

Note that in the above quote Lobaczewski is discussing human degradation in extreme cases of tyranny, such as Nazi concentration camps or North Vietnamese prison camps. Yet we can also see, in our own populace, evidence of psychological impoverishment, diminished self-regard, a brutalization of feelings and customs, and an absence of vital instincts. The ruling class has been working calculatingly and patiently over a very long period to restructure human nature to its liking, and has succeeded alarmingly in reducing our capacity even to notice this agenda.

This lack of noticing, so opposed to our inherent animal instinct to remain alert to danger on all sides, is due in large part to psychopathogy's greatest survival mechanism and greatest asset in achieving dominance: the inability of good-hearted humans to conceive of evil on that scale. In Lobaczewski's words, "the pathocratic world, the world of pathological egotism and terror, is so difficult to understand for people raised outside [its] scope that they often manifest childlike naiveté, even if they have studied psychopathology and are psychologists by profession.” [6] To his caveat “even if they are psychologists” I would add “even if they are ideologues in the left-right paradigm” and “even if they are New Agers who tend to underestimate the power of the forces of darkness.”

Our shared danger is that the engineered diminishments we are witnessing in the nature of humanity are more than the temporary and superficial distortions of Lobaczewski's paradigm: that in the absence of effective countermeasures, these distortions could in fact reach a point of no return.


Judith H. Young, Ph.D., has a B.A. and an M.A. in Philosophy from Vassar College and Brown University respectively. Her Ph.D. is in Political Science from Brandeis University. Dr. Young has also studied psychology extensively at the postgraduate level. In the 1960s she was a published think tank researcher in the areas of international politics, conflict resolution, and arms control. In 1973-74 she taught International Politics at Mount Holyoke University in Massachusetts.

In the 1990s Dr. Young became a practitioner in the healing arts, including animal-assisted therapy and mind-body energy medicine. She founded a nonprofit animal and nature center dedicated to promoting the healthy development of children and youth, which she directed from 1994-2004, and she published pieces in equine-assisted activities and eco-therapy.

Dr. Young has resumed her earlier vocation of writer and educator in international politics, philosophy and psychology. She is currently writing a book titled The Dark Night of the Collective Soul: Pain Tearing Through Us Like a Holocaust.

Blog: http://thedarknightofthesoul.homestead.com

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