As Social Beings, The Innate, Evolutionary Instinct Of

1842 WordsApr 30, 20178 Pages
As social beings, the innate, evolutionary instinct of human beings is to conform to the greater societal norms. To be a nonconformist means that one not only turns their back against society, but they also go against evolution. In other words, to be a nonconformist is to reject the benefits of having the support of a group, thus rejecting better chances at survival. But what happens when the greater societal norms are based on inhumane, monstrous ideas of a crazed political leader? What happens when the greater societal norms ultimately lead to the demolition of an ancient civilization rooted in rich cultural tradition? What happens when the societal norms do not align with an individual’s mental condition? The complexity of a well…show more content…
For example, when one of the men declined to take part in what would be later known as the Jozefow Massacre, his captain was not pleased. According to Browning, “Captain Hoffmann, who had arrived in Jozefow directly from Zakrzow with the Third Platoon of Third Company and had not been apart of the officers’ meetings in Bilgoraj the day before, was furious that one of his men had been the first to break ranks. Hoffman began to berate Schimke… (Browning 57).” Browning shows through the account of the men’s initiation into mass murder that the stigma of not participating in massacres meant that the individual would be a coward, less of a man, or someone who does not support his country made the choice of conformity a tough one. Many of the men stayed silent when the option was presented. However, Browning shows that the one man who chose to decline his participation because he “‘would in in no case participate in such an action, in which defenseless women and children are shot (Browning 56)’” prompted about a dozen or so men to follow his lead and also decline to take part in the massacre. Only when one man acted alone and publicly chose to be a nonconformist, another dozen men were prompted to turn their back against the group and join him. At the end of World War II, it has been found that these men would make up “less than twenty percent (Browning 168)” of the Reserve
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