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Hitler: Or, Questioning Your Mind's Sanity

jat93
Posts: 1,440
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11/11/2012 6:37:31 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I think, if you live your life without ever seriously questioning your sanity and feeling like you might be "crazy", whatever crazy means, then you are by definition living crazily/insanely. Because to be skeptical of your sanity is to be skeptical of everything. To be absolutely certain of your sanity is to be way too certain about the "truth"/legitimacy of your own personal subjective perspectives and viewpoints.

One route is deadly and destructive. The other is liberating and necessary. (I mean, the two choices being seriously doubting your sanity at some point, and never doubting it at all). Which one is necessary to live a good life, and which one is destructive? In many regards this is the struggle of my personal existence. I can never decide which is which. To conform, or not to conform: that is the question, the ultimate question of being human and living life in a society with other humans.

Do I pursue my own ego/selfish desires even if literally everyone in society agrees they are stupid and wrong but I honestly, seriously, reasonably think they are justified, maybe even necessary for my well being and/or that of others? This is what all "great" leaders do. Maybe Hitler was really convinced that he was helping out the Germans and doing what he really believed in. In fact, I'm almost certain that Hitler believed with passion that his policies and his leadership were beneficial in the long run. However, he ended up hugely discriminating against Jews, and using them as a scapegoat to bring the parts of Nazi Germany that he didn't discriminate against, together, united. He made a society feel such brotherly love and unity - just by being a German, you were royalty! You were a large, extended family! I'm sure Hitler thought this was a wonderful feat. So did many of the people who lived under his rule.

The question is, though, if he went wrong by pursuing his vision so much, that he gained so much power, that he authorized the deaths of millions of people for the "greater good" of a truly united German society, culture, etc. Let's say, hypothetically, that we could all agree that a single united society/culture is NOT possible without demonizing some foreign symbol, some outsider, and finding unity in opposition to this "threat". (I'm honestly unsure if this can be done.) Let's say we could all agree that such a united culture would also be desirable? Is it worth murdering however many people you have to to get to that goal, if you have the power to make it happen?

This is what Hitler did. I wonder if he struggled with this. He probably struggled with it a lot: he was literally a starving artist as a young man, had Jewish friends, wanted nothing more than to be a painter, he had MAJOR relationship problems and fear of women, and he ended up committing suicide at the apparent failure of everything he cared about: the success of a united Nazi Germany. An a thousand year Reich. He put everything of his essence into achieving this goal, to the point that he literally could not live without it, so he forced death upon himself when it was apparent that his dream: a wonderfully happy, united Nazi Germany lasting for a really long time - would never be able to come to fruition.

I am not justifying what Hitler did, merely humanizing it, empathizing with him, and looking at the man and the society he ruled over (which, by and large, was pretty cool with him being leader) in an honest fashion. And you should know that I am Jewish, lived as a religious Jew in a religious community, for much of my life, and 3 out of 4 of my grandparents had their lives personally affected by the Holocaust - having to leave countries of birth, in the case of one of my grandfathers having to leave his parents, my great-grandparents, for years while he was still a young boy, in the case of my other grandfather he escaped Europe for America but his entire immediate family was murdered ultimately because Hitler decreed their deaths.

But, the case of Hitler does raise a most fascinating and important conundrum as it pertains to sanity and insanity. According to everything Hitler knew and believed, what he was doing was not just right, it was necessary. Now, is there a point that one should consider, if they are in a position to have huge impact over the lives of a lot of people: what if I'm causing great harm to more people than I'm helping? What if I'm wrong in thinking that what I'm doing will ultimately benefit humanity? Or what if I think that the things that it will benefit (my life and/or the lives of those that I want to help) are not worth helping at the cost of ruining life - or even ending it - for X amount of people? In other words, should one question everything one has established as something worth acting upon and affecting your life/the lives of others, or should one just follow what they can't help but believe is the most important, valuable course of action to pursue without questioning it?
jat93
Posts: 1,440
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11/11/2012 6:38:22 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
tl;dr - Here is a summary in the form of a slightly-longer-than-usual paragraph, for those who for whatever reason do not want to read the whole thing:

Never questioning your sanity is by definition insane given the uncertainty, subjectivity, and relativity of being a human with thoughts and emotions and convictions in a society with millions/billions of other humans who have thoughts and emotions and convictions. Then again, if you question your sanity too much, it might be hard to live and succeed in society. So should you ultimately do things for yourself or should you conform or should you find a compromise somewhere in between. In Hitler's case he did what he thought/felt like he had to do for a thriving, united Germany: and in so doing, he literally devoted and sacrificed his life for that cause. Now, we all have important and strong beliefs/proposals about ourselves and the way society should work. If you have the chance to follow your dreams for humanity by forcing your will upon a massive group of people, should you do this, given the relativity and subjectivity of all human opinion, since given the relativity of everything what YOU want should be the deciding factor? Or should you refrain from forcing your will, your deeply held convictions, upon a massive group of people (the only way to bring about change in society), precisely because all human opinion is ultimately subjective/relative and based on either authority of humans or popularity of a given idea among humans, and therefore no one vision for society is inherently "good" or "bad," and there's no such thing as good and bad, just competing values for how human society should work?
Seremonia
Posts: 114
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11/11/2012 7:16:27 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Our standardization for mind's sanity could be different in between us, even if we are using our reasonable consideration. It's because our reasoning could place us on different level of understanding.

But at least one point should be noted in this case. It's where we can't be open minded and put our arrogance as the basis of judgement, and it will lead us to accept ourselves as the center of the correctness. Or it will put ourselves on long lasting confusion. Why? Because arrogance (in this case) tend to focus on specific direction, where our reality (sometimes) put us on different situation with different ways to solve.

They didn't know their insanity because they thought it was reasonable since they found connection on reasoning.

Questioning Your Mind's Sanity

Just "to be open minded" and lower your arrogance, and hopefully we will see greater possibilities. Besides, (at least) we are always guiding and to be guided.

It's not to follow others or vice versa, but it's to put us on proper acts which eventually will put us (hopefully) closer to see our own fallacies and to be corrected personally for greater self development. And eventually (hopefully) it will put us away from insanity.
I am free not because I have choices, but I am free because I rely on God with quality assured!
OMGJustinBieber
Posts: 3,484
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11/11/2012 7:42:51 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Or should you refrain from forcing your will, your deeply held convictions, upon a massive group of people (the only way to bring about change in society), precisely because all human opinion is ultimately subjective/relative and based on either authority of humans or popularity of a given idea among humans, and therefore no one vision for society is inherently "good" or "bad," and there's no such thing as good and bad, just competing values for how human society should work?

If you're going to conclude that no vision is inherently "good" or "bad" then it really doesn't matter what you do from a rational standpoint. You could force them all into concentration camps for all it matters.

Regardless, yes, I do believe in taxation so in some sense I'm "forcing" myself on others. You have be more specific for what you mean by "imposing a vision" because certainly I'd never point a gun to someone's head to believe something. I will, however, vouch for the idea of promoting certain values over others because I genuinely believe certain values ought to be promoted. So I suppose you could say I believe in some vision that I'd be willing to openly support, but that vision does not involve the destruction of free speech or basic liberties.

Thank you for the tl;dr.
Lordknukle
Posts: 12,788
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11/11/2012 8:55:41 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
If nobody attempted to impose their opinions onto each other, then we would all live in an isolationist society with no contact with anybody. The act of speech is a form of coercion and if nobody has a right to coerce anybody because morality is subjective, then there would be no communication. People would live in their own little own little cubicle of the world for... not very long. Effectively, the human race would seize to exist. On the other side of the spectrum, we'd have perpetual warfare between virtually every single individual. So, unfortunately, as with everything, a compromise is needed.
"Easy is the descent to Avernus, for the door to the Underworld lies upon both day and night. But to retrace your steps and return to the breezes above- that's the task, that's the toil."
Sidewalker
Posts: 3,713
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11/11/2012 9:38:57 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I completely agree, I find it liberating and necessary to question your sanity too.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater