Obstacles are placed in our path in life, not to defeat us but to be surmounted.
More pages and density with this chapter. So much so that I can’t do my usual “quote every significant paragraph I see” method and comment on it. I’m going to have to resort to the typical condensing of information and using my own words to express what was said. I hate using that much brain power.
Chapter 2: Years of Study and Suffering in Vienna
So after Hitler’s mother and father die, and he fails to get accepted into a proper college due to his paintings that were deemed not to be of high enough quality (they suggested he be more fit for architecture drawings), he sets out to make a living in Vienna. From what I gather, this is similar to Americans trying to make a living in Los Angeles, or New York, New York, or some big metropolitan city of a similar nature. He also expresses regret for not caring more about the other subjects of study in school that he, at the time, didn’t give a wit about, as doing so would’ve increased his opportunities. Regardless, to Vienna he went, to work alongside the lower-middle class workers. Which is where he learned a great many things about how workers can suffer through various means. The knowledge and wisdom he acquires through these years of experience is invaluable to what is placed in this section of the book.
[…] it is in youth that men lay the essential groundwork of their creative thought, wherever that creative thought exists. I distinguish between the wisdom of age — which can only arise from the greater profundity and foresight that are based on the experiences of a long life — and the creative genius of youth. The latter blossoms out in thought and ideas with inexhaustible fertility, without being immediately useful, because of their very exuberance. These ideas furnish the building materials and plans for the future. And it is from them that age takes the stones and constructs the building — unless the so-called wisdom of age smothers the creative genius of youth.
He discusses how the separation between the lower class and the bourgeois (middle) class is greater than one may believe. How the bourgeois never wish to return to that lower rung of laboring, the fear of that happening, and being unwilling to interact with that class because they find it repellent. Which ultimately destroys any sympathy that is to be had.
Thus begins Hitler’s lamentations on how Germans can be unsympathetic to the plight and condition of other fellow Germans. He goes through much of the chapter detailing how this indifferent attitude becomes prevalent in all the classes, lower middle and upper. And he begins as he began, by going from a middle class individual to a lower class individual.
The man who has never been in the clutches of that crushing viper can never know what poison is. An attempt to study it in any other way will result only in superficial talk and sentimental delusions. Both are harmful — the first because it can never go to the root of the question, and the second because it completely evades the question.
Consequently, and to their own astonishment, they find that the ‘social conscience’ on which they pride themselves never produces any results; rather, it often causes resentment. And then they talk of the ingratitude of the people.
— p. 79-81
How poverty and repeated job loss take their toll on a man, physically and mentally. How the people who have become bitter and indifferent through that process poison the mind of those who inevitably mix with them, who initially hoped to make an honest living and have a stable job with stable sustainable income. They become broken down, and become frequently unemployed through no fault of their own (I can relate, to a small extent). Thus becoming exploitable by those who call for strikes. Strikes against who for what reason? Due to their indifference, it doesn’t matter. And they lose any sense of nationalism and patriotic pride. The “deplorable results of deplorable laws.”
He even takes aim at welfare systems, which he titles “charitable relief,” which he states is “ridiculous and useless.” But he does have a solution in mind:
First: Create better fundamental conditions of social development by establishing a profound feeling for social responsibilities. Second: Combine this feeling with a ruthless determination to prune away all incurable tumors.
It’s at this point I was able to foreshadow some elements of this solution with radical elements that challenge his love for his fellow Germans. Jews aside (that gets addressed in the last quarter of the chapter), he would later implement systems that would put the queers and retards in the “incurable tumors” definition. Because he indicates that “selective breeding” is one of the main steps forward for a better future for the country. He doesn’t state anything about singling out queers and retards, but that is something that, if I was taught history correctly, is something he would ultimately end up doing at some point during his time in power. The question is, and some would be appalled at even having this asked, could this end up being a good thing? What could they contribute if they are either unable to function adequately in society, or choose not to make and raise a family of children that they themselves created?
I ponder stuff like this, and then I think of Stephen Hawking, and what he was able to contribute in spite of his condition. I’m thinking Hitler would’ve been better off if he had scientists focus more on cures for such conditions. Then again, maybe that was a part of those fucked up Nazi scientist experiments I’ve heard about (I never really bothered looking in-depth on those, so I’m just speculating; speculating that they did human experiments on retards and cripples in an attempt to make them more functional in society). On the other hand, I guess they decided to settle on sterilization laws and be done with it. On the other hand, keep in mind this wasn’t something exclusive to Germany. During that time period, the U.S. had its own sterilization laws which were done for the same reasons. So I look at this less as a hypocritical stance of Hitler and more as a prevailing mindset on an international scale regarding how that demographic was viewed. But it meant enough to the Nationalist Socialists to where they made a film about this in 1935 titled Das Erbe (and no, I haven’t been able to track down a subtitled version of this).
But just to blur the line between good and evil even more (though honestly, I’d call this making black and white topics more mixed and grey), even Zionists during that time period had implemented this same thing before the Nazis did (source). You know, to create the master Jewish race. How’s that for inconvenient history?
When the individual is no longer burdened by his own sense of guilt, then and only then will he have that inner strength and outer force to ruthlessly cut out the parasitic growth, and to root out the weeds.
Ah yes, Hitler goes on to state that one shouldn’t be guilt ridden over past deeds of their family and of the nation (the modern equivalent to white guilt). There must be a pride for the country and for fellow countrymen. And he states this must be implemented by being taught in school in a subjective way. Uh oh, here we go again. The whole thing about the best way to teach students in schools, particularly when it comes to history. While I do agree that students shouldn’t be taught in such a way as to outright hate their country and what it stands for (which is something that is prevalent in America today, and I’m sure that country isn’t exclusive in this), they also shouldn’t be taught to be prohibited from being critical of present aspects of it. After all, how can one hope to improve their own country (there’s always room for improvement, no matter how far along it is) if one can’t be critical of it?
Likewise, one shouldn’t become overly critical of it, which is the main problem. Whether its from anti-nationalist teachers filling their heads full of that shit, or due to troubles at home with parents (who have been broken down by the system in a fashion similar to the workers) constantly bickering and shouting at how shitty things are, both of which end up making the kid bitter and indifferent and overly critical (which in turn could cause them to suffer in school, assuming they were in good hands there to begin with). Which thus results in lack of respect for fellow citizens, or even for humanity as a whole. Which makes them ignorant and cynical with an overall negative attitude. Something that can also be compounded by films, plays, books, and newspapers that regurgitate the same negative/nihilistic messages. In fact, Hitler gets more specific in stating that “theoretical literature” with this form of propaganda is designed for the middle and upper class (in the present day context, that can also extend to film), while the newspapers (mainstream news media) are designed to bombard the lower class with that propaganda.
Hitler even manages to give examples of what happens as a result of anti-nationalist teachings, how that makes people overly critical, and what results from that.
Everything was disparaged: the nation, because it was an invention of the ‘capitalist’ class — how often I had to hear that phrase!; the Fatherland, because it was an instrument in the hands of the bourgeoisie for the exploitation of the working masses; the authority of the law, because that was a means of oppressing the proletariat; religion, as a means of doping the people, so as to exploit them afterwards; and morality, as a badge of stupid and sheepish docility. There was nothing that they didn’t drag through the mud.
In the context of modern America, white people and confederates for having black slaves. Shamed so much that statues are removed of people who are too complex to be simplified into just being racists, as if that aspect of them should overshadow everything else.
But anyway, Hitler states that this can be avoided by nationalizing people. Teaching them to be proud of their culture, teach them economic knowledge, and teach them to respect their fellow countrymen. Because you cannot love what you don’t respect. And you cannot respect it unless you have knowledge of it. In my opinion, they should be taught both the good and the bad, and be taught to respect an individual for what respectable attributes they did have, and what good deeds they accomplished, in spite of whatever foul deeds and attributes they had in their life. Because no one, without exception, is without flaws. Besides, a person without flaws is boring. A person without flaws is someone who has no obstacles to overcome. And we should all want ourselves and others to overcome their flaws. And if we’re to point the flaws of a deceased individual, utilize them as a lesson on how they didn’t overcome flaws, how we can succeed where they failed, and also point out the more positive aspects of them in the process. Otherwise, if we’re to dismiss that, then we mine as well as dismiss stories such as Macbeth. I don’t see any of those books getting fucking burned because he succumbed to immoral temptations. It also allows for more understanding of the world, including the political one.
Those who have no understanding of the political world around them have no right to criticize or complain.
Well this is getting to be too long of a post. Guess I’ll have to break Chapter 2 into 2 parts.