Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Poetry Thursday 145 - Human nature

As it was the 70th anniversary of the relief of Auschwitz the other day it had me reflecting on human nature and, of all things, group dynamics. What invisible force takes a set of normally ordinary people and turns them into rabid killers. I am not just talking about IS currently operating in the Middle East but the Nazis, Stalinists, Spaniards, Americans; in other words human beings. Throughout history there have been cases all round the world of groups of what had formally been ordinary folk who became killers.
To begin with,

by Barbara Sonek

We played, we laughed
we were loved.
We were ripped from the arms of our
parents and thrown into the fire.
We were nothing more than children.
We had a future. We were going to be lawyers, rabbis, wives, teachers, mothers. We had dreams, then we had no hope. We were taken away in the dead of night like cattle in cars, no air to breathe smothering, crying, starving, dying. Separated from the world to be no more. From the ashes, hear our plea. This atrocity to mankind can not happen again. Remember us, for we were the children whose dreams and lives were stolen away.

I know that group dynamics can generate behaviours that are out of character, and that issues such as collective bravado overcoming individual's sense of responsibility, have much to do with individual outbursts. However, when we are looking at organisations such as Islamic State, the time factor is not short. Similarly, with the Nazis the movement began many years before the outbreak of WWII and yet the individual members of the party were ordinary hard-working Germans.
So a poem from me demonstrating my puzzlement.

Dark side of Human Nature

Man is even handed and fair
who treats others with great care.

But … !

Humans are capable of copious generosity
sharing wealth and knowledge with luminosity.

But … !

People have boundless, oceans of love
granted to them from God above.

But … !

Humanity has a depth of kindness
shared between us with great fondness.

But … !

Humans are capable of great selflessness
to the benefit of those who have less.

But … !

Beneath the surface is there hatred
laced with varying layers of violence?
A pool of festering bad blood
from long dead, evil descendants.
Undercurrents of death granting evil
careless of those that are targeted.
Enjoying the fate of the gullible
looking for more from life to be parted.

© David L Atkinson January 2015

God Bless