Date of submission
Humanity and Inhumanity
In his book, “A Moral History of the Twentieth Century,” Glover argues that people have a tendency to speak of torture and cruelty as the most common types of humanity but they forget that the two attributes are human. Glover condemns the manner at which individuals participate in inflicting dreadful torment to the ‘enemies in the war, claiming that enmity is unnecessary. In an experiment conducted by Phillip Zimbardo, College students were subjected to playing roles of guards and prisoners. Surprisingly, the psychologist had to halt the experiment since the guards treated the prisoners ruthlessly and so cruel. The author claimed that human beings are thrilled when pain is inflicted to their counterparts, a very unattractive behavior. The paper will provide insight into the theory of moral resources as conversed in chapter one and apply it in ...view middle of the document...
39). Human beings respond in two ways, with respect or sympathy. In most instances, people can feel the ones that are tortured and sympathize with them. Glover suggests, “Man is under obligation to acknowledge, in a practical way, the dignity of humanity in every other human being” (p.40).
The psychology of the waging war indicates that human thoughts created by images of other sufferings may prompt to distinctive psychological responses. It is easier to inflict death upon the enemies in wars because cruelty makes people lose the sense of humanity. For instance, in the Iraqi war, the American soldiers used cluster bombs in populated areas to eliminate innocent civilians without considering that it’s the leadership that was to be punished. Anger can destroy sympathy, a very common occurrence in waging wars. The theory of moral resources is responsible for the psychology of the waging war. The cruel acts of the first world war made Glover ask, “‘How can people have done these things?’ when he was criticizing inhuman acts subjected to human beings (p.55).
Nonetheless, there exists a psychology that depicts the emergence of ‘tribal’ wars both in the local regions and in a more complex situation like the world wars. Since time immemorial, the psychology of wars has made civilians support their soldiers in war, and this has resulted in mass atrocities. For example, the murder of Stalin and Hitler cannot be directly associated with wars. Their deaths can be linked to psychological weakness of human beings vengeance.
Throughout the book, Glover demonstrates the idiosyncratic patterns of cruelty and heartlessness that have been common in the past to the present. Glover claims, ‘‘we need to look hard and clearly at some monsters inside us,'' not to develop pessimism in us but, “''part of the project of caging and taming them'' (p.28).The author believes that human nature comprises of both destructive instincts and “moral resources.” Therefore, our expectation of the future is influenced by the struggles among these instincts that exist in our countless minds.
Glover, J. (2000). Humanity: A moral history of the twentieth century. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press