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Schwager, E. (2004). Transforming Dualism and the Metaphor OF Terror, Part II: From xsGenocidal to Dialogic Mentality: An Intergenerational Struggle. Psychoanal. Rev., 91(4):543-589.

(2004). Psychoanalytic Review, 91(4):543-589

Transforming Dualism and the Metaphor OF Terror, Part II: From xsGenocidal to Dialogic Mentality: An Intergenerational Struggle

Elaine Schwager, Ph.D.

Genocidal Mentality

If, even on the basis of the crassest self-interest, we can realize that We and They must be transcended in the totality of the human race, if we in destroying them are not to destroy us all. As war continues, both sides become more and more to resemble each other…. Shall we realize that We and They are shadows of each other…. When will the veil be lifted?

—R.D. Laing, The Politics of Experience

History is a Nightmare from which I'm trying to awake.

—James Joyce, Ulysses

The word “genocide” did not exist before 1943. Raphael Lemkin coined the term to describe Nazi policies of systematic murder from the Polish word ludobojstwo (from lud [tribe] and zabojstwo [killing]). Lifton and Markusen (1990) defined “genocidal mentality” as “a mind set that includes individual and collective willingness to produce, design and, according to certain standards of necessity, use weapons known to destroy entire human populations—millions, or tens of millions of people” (p. 3).

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