The Power of Semantics

swastikaThe power of words can never be underestimated. It can inspire people to overcome all kinds of hurdles in life while it can also make them do things that they can justify to any extent.

For instance, let us see the creation of not just Hilter, but the philosophy of Nazism. Hitler was deeply influenced by many, such as Nietzsche, a philosopher and author who was anti-democracy, anti-Christianity, anti-Judaism and anti-socialist.  He expressed his belief in a master race and the coming of a superman in many of his works. Strangely  enough, Nietzche was influenced by Zarathrusthra, the founder of Zorasthtrianism,  who did speak about men working on themselves but was very clear on promoting ethics and values among everyone.

Other than Nietzsche, Hitler had a lot of admiration for Richard Wagner, a 19th century German composer. Apart from composing music, Wagner was one of the intellectual precursors of thought who spoke on  racist and ethnocentric ideology.

It is not just Hitler but Nietzsche too who was a great admirer. Wagner was a “father substitute” for Nietzsche, who had lost his father at the age of four. Later the relationship deteriorated and they broke up but their ideologies about Aryan supremacy was common.

Hitler and Nietzsche both talked about the  blond beast. The blond beast was a man who was unrestrained by values, and therefore had never experienced resentment, which was constructed by the weak for revenge against the strong. Nietzsche’s “complete man,” synonymous with Hitler’s “whole man,” represents a version of the “blond beast,” or “beast of prey,” who returned to the wilderness to ‘free’ himself from the peace of society. Nietzsche died of insanity in 1889, but the seed of hatred in the name of a ‘superman, a super human or a super race’ had been sown.

With the promotion of all these ideologies, entire Germany was drowned in a sea of swastikas in the Nazi context. Why the Swastika? Now, this is the subject of another discussion but for Hitler and Nazism, it essentially meant Aryan supremacy over all others.

Now we all know that Hitler was neither blond nor what he himself would call an alpha male or a superman. All he had in his favour was the skill of oratory and the art of blaming someone else for all wrongs in the world. Even so, Hitler was surely a catalyst in the destruction of a entire community in the most grotesque manner but he alone is surely not responsible.  It is because all Germans drowned in the sea of hatred using all kinds of strange justifications, the primary one of which was “we are better than others”.

This is true of all anti-anybody philosophies. This could be anti-gay, anti-women, anti-culture, anti-national, anti-XYZ community and all kinds of labels.

Again, because of the power of semantics, anyone can justify anything, including anti-humanity as being pro something or the other.

What then is the solution? I truly feel the only solution is never to stop thinking and accepting only those words and actions that we can justify to our own selves, whether we call it the brain, heart or conscience.

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