Archive for Reality

Nazis: a warning from history

Posted in Journal, Musings, Philosophy, TV with tags , , on 18/05/2013 by Jen Healey

nazi prog

The title of this blog is (more or less) the title of a series of three programmes that I had recorded quite a while ago on my sky+ box.  Over the last couple of weeks I have watched them and thought about them.  Of course there is the obvious reaction to the actions (and inactions) of those involved in the atrocities that were perpetrated against the Jewish people at the time – horror and disgust, coupled with a, perhaps unbecoming, fascination with how the hell people could treat others in such an ‘inhuman’ way.  I put that word in quotation marks because remembering that humans are capable of such things, leads me to question what it is to be human?



The holocaust is not easy subject matter for pleasant conversation, some people would say, perhaps because it is a real conversation.  I am bored to death with having dull, platitudinous conversations about the weather and other such inanities.  Talking about what idiot was on television being paid to play the idiot last night – no thank you!  Why is it that, generally speaking, people shy away from discussing ‘heavy’ subjects?  Are they so afraid to learn something about history, or themselves?  Frankly, I am terrified that such an unwillingness appears to be rife.



Please don’t think that I am any kind of authority on this subject, far from it, I have so much to learn about everything – there just aren’t enough hours in the days of the weeks of the years of my life to accumulate anything close to the knowledge that I wish I could.  Perhaps that is why I don’t wish to waste any more of my time on this planet on meaningless, unimportant, brain-dead shit.



That said, after watching all three programmes, I was struck by the testimonies of some of the German people, who grew up at the time.  They were taught that they, the Germans, were superior in every way and that the Jews were less than human.  I understand that.  I don’t agree with it, but I can understand it.  As children, young people, even impressionable adults, we tend to believe that with which we are presented, don’t we?  I don’t think that excuses murder/mass genocide, of course, but then denial is a powerful thing.  How much did people ‘look the other way’?  We can probably never really answer that question.  But, if we are not talking about such things, how can we realise that we should question things.



I don’t want answers from someone else.  I want to question things for myself and raise my children to question things for themselves.  It is probably a bit frustrating for my daughter when she asks me questions that are tricky, because if I don’t know the answer I either help her read about it, or I tell her as many sides to the argument that I do know.  Usually starting sentences with ‘some people think… other people think…’  Then I ask her what she thinks.  Annoying, I’m sure, but I think it’s important.  I try not to sugar-coat things either, not that I don’t have fun and make-believe with her (Santa, Tooth Fairy etc.), but I don’t want her to have such unrealistic expectations of people that she will be set up for a lifetime of hurt.  She is growing up in this world, our world, which is full of scary people.





That’s another thing I am fascinated with, accounts of serial killers on CI (Crime and Investigation Network), ID and in books.  Ewwww!  How morbid!  I hear you cry.  No.  Real.  Making yourself aware of what people are capable of, I think, is important.  Also, interesting when thinking about basic societal concepts like morality, which is brought into focus by watching such programming, and shown to be not such a basic or clear concept really.  If you really think about it, really talk about it and really question it.  From where do we learn morality?  Is it from religion?  (If so, see Nietzsche.)  Is it innate?  Or is it something passed down through generations?  (If so, what makes that ‘right’?  See Socratic questioning).  Why don’t we discuss such things?  These are interesting to me and more than worthy of my time and attention, when I can give it.



Keeps my mind busy when I’m stood at the checkout anyway – beep, beep, beep.

Questions?  Abso-fuckin-lutely.


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