RE: Auschwitz

Date: Wed Jan 28 2004 - 12:34:07 PST

Thank you David and Vera for your interesting suggestions.

David wrote:

 "... it is that genocides, however its nature, are
anchored in a culture, any culture, that makes of criminal behavior a
universal principle of what is good as a behavior. I mistrust any
instinctual (or purely instinctual approach) to genocide aggression...

susceptibility to make of collective killing a military or a professional
"career", as lots of people did then and do today. I may add that Eichman's
absence of remorse originates not in what there was left of animal in him,
but in how Totalitarianism extinguished any trace of his/our instinctive
propensity to sociability, sympathy and species identification...

The contemporary media portray some forms of contemporary genocide as
barbaric, and hide some others in the name of "highest" values. I believe
the distinction is a vain (and racist) one: in most of the cases, what has
been lost is a basic reserve of sympathy by the other...

Indeed, as the culture we inhabit trains us for oblivion and involuntary
complicity, as it makes of multiple forms of murder a form of collective
entertainment, we all are not totally immune to the psychology of Eichman.

What the Holocaust teaches me, so, is not a gross distinction between Evil
and Good but the potential of any culture to become, on the one hand, a
normative background that legitimates collective killing and, on the other
hand, a set of tools that implements it."

Vera wrote:

"... the appeal of cultural-historical theory to me is that it places human
consciousness and human activity into a historical context. But do we know
how to connect large historical events, and ideology, with our theories of
learning? ...

There were people who resisted, they too were targets. This raises the issue
of resistance at a broader level and in contemporary situations...

As a theory we are better at dealing with participation, than with
resistance. But we are paying more attention to affective factors, and to
issues of protest and resistance in our daily lives.

We need to address these theoretically as well. We have fewer concepts
available in these domains that in the areas of learning, language, culture.
Is the willingness to participate in genocide learned as is reading? Can we
turn to these questions collectively and collaboratively?"

If I understand both of you correctly, here are your suggestions:

1. all genocides' consciousnesses and activities (attitudes/emotions and
behaviors--individual and group) can be understood in their respective
historical (may I suggest, and geographical) contexts. David's pointed out
that it was not the 'animal' in Eichman but the accumulated Totalitarian
culture that made him who he became.

2. We assumed that, as individuals and groups, we are outcomes of specific
cultural, historical (and geographical) processes. These processes are
heterogeneous and contradictory. Therefore, their outcomes construct
different cultures --consciousnesses and activities. One culture, as David
suggests, 'legitimates collective killing and produces a set of tools that
implements it.'

3. what do we miss if we stop here? As both of you suggest, learning (in
general) and learning to resist (in particular). Vera asks 'Is the
willingness to participate in genocide learned as is reading?

4. If all activities are motivated by the 'objects,' then where do these
objects come from? How the CHAT 'object' is produced both in consciousnesses
(virtualized) and in being projected into the social worlds (actualized)
--in particular historical (and geographical) contexts? And that seem to be
Vera's question: how 'to connect large historical events, and ideology, with
our theories of learning?' She suggests that in CHAT, 'we are better at
dealing with participation, than with resistance.'

5. IMHO, perhaps other people who have had 'to learn to resist to something'
have something to say about this. I am not an expert but can think of post
colonial and feminist artists and writers. What about classics like Fanon
and Freire?

I stop by asking Eugene's question. What do you think?


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