I was reading and commenting at butterfliesandwheels.org What blocks empathy? I noted two interesting comments that struck a chord with me. I shall definitely peruse contents when I get time.
March 25, 2013 at 1:55 pm (UTC -7) Link to this comment
I remember once reading about how sorry for themselves the Nazis felt having to bear feeling it
I think you read that here! Or the old B&W. I’ve talked about it. I got it from Hannah Arendt. (Who is required reading on this subject. As is Montagne, as is Judith Shklar, as is the Milgram experiment.)
A taster from Alice Miller: The Roots of Violence and NOT Unknown.
1. The development of the human brain is use-dependent. The brain develops its structure in the first four years of life, depending on the experiences the environment offers the child. The brain of a child who has mostly loving experiences will develop differently from the brain of a child who has been treated cruelly.
2. Almost all children on our planet are beaten in the first years of their lives. They learn from the start violence, and this lesson is wired into their developing brains. No child is ever born violent. Violence is NOT genetic, it exists because beaten children use, in their adult lives, the lesson that their brains have learned.
3. As beaten children are not allowed to defend themselves, they must suppress their anger and rage against their parents who have humiliated them, killed their inborn empathy, and insulted their dignity. They will take out this rage later, as adults, on scapegoats, mostly on their own children. Deprived of empathy, some of them will direct their anger against themselves (in eating disorders, drug addiction, depression etc.), or against other adults (in wars, terrorism, delinquency etc.)