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If they look like my enemy, walk like my enemy, talk like my enemy, that still doesn’t make them my enemy

Snopes quotes Getty Images:

For several days now, Israeli settlers have blocked trucks carrying humanitarian supplies to Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Yes, and how many deaths will it take till we know that too many people have died?

In some weird way I have empathy for people who have been brainwashed into this kind of cruelty.

On a lot of levels I’m not fully onboard with Sartre’s messages about human choice and responsibility and still see us all as being at least partially influenced by our memetic environments, and I’m not sure I’m wrong about that since we see it happening to people in our own lives, too. Folks heading down a right-wing path from YouTube or chan sites, or turning rightwards because of talk radio or “news” TV.

Even as I’m weeping as I’m reading this article, I can understand a life trajectory and circumstances that put someone in that position, but there is a missing puzzle piece for me.

I can’t follow down the mental rabbit hole that makes people homogenize and dehumanize their outgroup to the extent that hurting or killing one is appropriate revenge for something another human has done.

Some ideologies place great weight in the concept of the “individual”, an atomic person. Kind of a misnomer since “individuals” are made up of thousands of impulses and cells and strains-of-thoughts and tensions and desires and emotions. But looking at it from the other direction makes some sense:

A person is in-exchangeable, non-fungible, irreplaceable, non-disposable, not the same as someone else.

They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That’s the Chicago way!

And that’s a bad way, the whole “one of his” idea. I’m no fan of revenge to begin with, even as I’m steeped in a culture founded on a punitive conceptualization of justice, and then from there taking the leap to this incredibly wack idea that if someone hurts us, we can kill someone else to make up for it.

What makes that wack idea even wilder that it’s so often paired with an idea of escalating revenge. Some sorta cockamamie “OK, we couldn’t get the right guy, but at least we killed 100 people with his eye color, that’ll do for now, more killing tomorrow” perspective.

Even killing the right person won’t make things better, and neither will killing a couple of million wrong people.