One Man’s Thoughts

Today was a somber day in Germany for us. We visited the German concentration camp in Dachau and were led on an informative, but heartbreaking tour through the barracks, gas chamber, and yards of the concentration camp. The say if you do not learn from history you are doomed to repeat it, but genocide, hate and racism continue to this day even with historical education that exist. As a future engineer my mind is obsessed with finding solutions and as I walked around camp I thought about what causes such events such as the Holocaust and how they can be prevented moving forward. One of the simpler solutions would be more education focused on analyzing and application of ideas. If we took the massive budget invested into military and defense and supported global education focused on diversity, cooperation, and acceptance the possibility of such events should be decreased. However is not simply enough to hear or read about
these events, true learning involves action and application. As students we should be pushed to teach younger generations about history and current tragic events. Hearing the story from someone three times your age creates a disconnect between you and the event because it seems “so long ago.” By involving the younger generation it not only draws attention to global issues, but ingrains the ideals into the young adult populations about equality and collectivism we as humans should adopt.

As I continued to think about the world and why we humans can commit such atrocities against each other, I began to wonder if it was a part of human nature. Was it something in our DNA that caused us to categorize people in races and believe one group was superior to the other? It is suggested that race and hatred are taught and are societal creations but it would make sense that they could only arise if there was a capacity for them to exist in our genetic structure. If someone is given an empty jug they can fill it with dirt or water or rocks much like the mind of a child can be filled with love or hatred or knowledge. However if you add holes to the bottom of the jug you can no longer fill it with water. If this idea could somehow be applied in genetic alteration of DNA to remove the capacity to feel hatred or to dehumanize another individual it would follow that the ability to commit crimes, such as genocide, founded on hate and dehumanization would cease to exist.
Even with a solution such as genetic engineering there would be many flaws. Who would decide what was to be removed? Would current populations be able to assimilate into the new society? What happens if a few humans get through the system? When I think about the future I am not optimistic such negative qualities of human nature can be solved or even should be solved; and so I’m stuck pondering ideas and thinking about issues without action. Inaction that allows such atrocities to continue. I want to end by making an amendment to the saying mentioned earlier. Rather than “those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it” I would propose “those who do not teach others about history are willing to repeat it “

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