When one thinks of an enemy, one should not think of them as less than human. Calling them slurs or railing against them, calling them trash helps to dehumanize them. It makes it easier to harm them. I get it. But it is a mistake.
When we dehumanize our enemies we erode our sense of their capabilities. We convince ourselves by rote comparison that because they are trash, they couldn’t or wouldn’t take a action or make a plan or think a thought. It narrows our view of what is possible and doing so narrows our options to combat them.
An enemy who is thought of as human can be seen as having all of the same complexity as we do. When making plans, one must take into account that there will be counter moves and unanticipated actions. Seeing them as equal to yourself allows for these actions to be at least counted if not accounted for.
Tactically, it is the right course.
But, it is also the correct course for our mental well-being. When we dehumanize, the consequences of our actions ‘in the moment’ become easier. However, when we have time to think later, those mental gymnastics have real world consequences. Either by cutting yourself off from your emotions or by making empathy for your fellow humans much harder.
The best course is to think of everyone as a feeling, thinking, equal person, First. And anything else that they may be second. It’s a hierarchical way of thinking that may be difficult but it helps. Because there is also the flip side. When we contemplate moving against them, we no longer see them in the position or place they are in, rather we see them as human. And humans are fragile.
In the end, thinking of your enemies as human also forces you to think of everyone as human. This helps. In many everyday ways. It also helps to realize that the things we tell ourselves about ourselves and each other have real emotional and rational impact on how we view the world and ourselves. Discounting this leads to underestimation. And the downfall of self.
I noticed this for the first time today. It’s something I knew. But something I just took on faith. That of course that is how I see it. And it’s a pretty simple revelation. If realizing that the thing you thought all along is really the way that you think can be considered revelatory.
So what was it?
Pretty simple. If I am emotionally invested in a person then I just see them. What I mean is this: I notice changes but only so that I can compliment them. I notice changes so that I can cement the image of who they are right now in my heart. But then I discard it. It’s not relevant and on a day to day basis I just see them. If I found them attractive before then I continue to find them attractive. Who they are is the thing I like. Who they are is where my emotional attachment and, as a result, how I perceive them. Why is this just coming to light?
A Acquaintance level 2 and a Friend level 1 both have lost weight recently. Both lost enough to effect their physical appearance. One drastically. But I don’t see it. Or rather it’s not relevant for me to consciencly notice. I saw a side by side comparison of one of them and I thought wow they lost a bunch of weight. But when I see them in person, it doesn’t enter my conscious mind.
So I just don’t see primarily cosmetic differences. I’m happy if they are happy. Who they are hasn’t changed. They are more confident but I always saw them as more than they accepted of themselves. So it’s just good that they are coming to realize that.
I know, it’s odd to see and think like this. What can I say, but that if you are not examining the why’s and how’s of your thinking, then how will you become the self you are trying to be?
For some perverse psychological reason unknown to me whenever one of my relationships ends, I become intensely and nigh continuously turned on. It’s like some gleeful imp in my brain is capering and laughing as the internal tension ratchets up. “Now that you have no outlet,” he barks, “here’s a cauldron full of lust.” My brain is such an asshole.