Thoughts on the difficulty of describing dehumanization – the ‘dehumanization blindness’

Since I often like to write stories I have always tried, for years, to come up with a story that described dehumanization.  No matter how hard I tried I could never come up with one.  I have even tried to find stories, that other people wrote, that described it but so far I’ve not seen any.  This fact shows a basic dilemma with dehumanization:  the inability to describe it.  Dehumanization is of such a nature that it can’t be described.  This makes sense as how does one describe the ‘unhuman’ with ‘human’ expressions?  In many ways, this is one of the basic problems of dehumanization.  It places us in a situation that we cannot grasp.  As a result, we cannot see what it is doing or how it is affecting us.  It’s like being color blind or having contralateral neglect – it’s there but we don’t know it.  This makes it so that the dehumanized aspect of life appears ‘non-existent’.  Because of this, very few people are aware of it, no less write a story about it.


There are stories that come close to describing dehumanization, but they end up failing because they bring it back to a ‘human’ theme.  In fact, in many stories, the ‘human’ side is the purpose of the plot.  But, in so doing, they stear away from dehumanization.  This makes it so that they just barely “touch” it, like nicking the surface.  Many stories that “touch” the surface of dehumanization include:

  • Stories of transformation.  These are often science-fiction.  A good example is “The fly”.
  • Stories of alienation.  These are often psychological dramas.
  • Stories of depression and despair.  These are often psychological dramas.
  • Stories of oppression.  These often end up having political or social messages.

No story, that I know, has ever described the FACT of dehumanization.  The only way to make a story about it would be to somehow keep it in a ‘human’ loop.  Otherwise, it would read more like a textbook than a story.  The life of the main character would be like describing the workings of a machine.  Stories like that are not that easy to write or read.


The reason why dehumanization is so difficult to write about is that it takes us away from the ‘human’.  The purpose of writing, as well as the medium of writing, is in the ‘human’.  Once we move away from that, we can’t relate with it anymore.  In some respects, its like going to a foreign country and listening to a foreign language one can’t understand.  After a while there is a tendency to ‘disregard’ or not listen to any conversation, as it all sounds like meaningless babble.  This shows that the inability to describe dehumanization causes an ignoring or disregarding, simply because we can’t relate to it.  I speak of this as the ‘dehumanization blindness’.  As with color blindness, if we don’t see it we don’t notice is – “out of sight, out of mind”.  This is one reason why dehumanization is seldom spoken about or even referred to . . . but its there, all around us.


Because of the inability to describe or see dehumanization, we do not ‘guard’ against it or try to prevent it.  This situation seems to be prevalent today.  To me, dehumanization seems somewhat rampant and unchecked nowadays.  Its as if it can do whatever it wants however it wants.  It has complete free reign in our lives.  I speak of this condition as ‘free dehumanization’ because it is left to go on its own accord. 

In my opinion, we have become slaves to ‘free dehumanization’Everywhere I turn I see examples of how it is master over our lives as our lives has become nothing but a continuous reaction toward it.  In fact, much of modern life, to me, is nothing but reacting to various forms of dehumanization.  In many respects, it defines modern life.  Humanity has become nothing but a beast of reaction.  And what’s worse, its a reaction to something that we cannot see.  We’ve had to change our identity, our roles, our purpose, our place, our meaning, etc. all in reaction to the modern world.  We have to change to the modern world . . . it does not change for us.  This shows how it runs free and unhindered in our lives.

This entry was posted in Dehumanization and alienation, Modern life and society, Psychology and psychoanalysis and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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