The Nazis did not define evil. They were an example.
This is one of the situations humans can get into. It’s like the state of mind of a group shooter, but in a group form. Or it’s like the mass shooter is the guerrilla form of genocide army. Or something.
All I know is that it is possible for people to get used to the idea of killing people to the point that it does not interest them.
As someone with a drug addiction, I am aware of lies. I think the reason some people hit this point where there is absolutely nothing to add another body to is that they just can’t cope with the guilt of the first one or two. It is a cognitive dissonance, and to avoid the pain of recognizing what they did, they have to render what they did meaningless so that it is not painful.
So the cognitive dissonance causes them to act with more evil as a way to confirm that this is what they are now. Because if they stop causing pain, it opens the door. Maybe in an hour or a year maybe good thoughts start creeping into your head again.
And if one day they want to be good, they have to face what they did. So they don’t want to be good but sitting there without causing more pain and destruction is not bad so their minds think of the good again and this causes conflict.
Basically their world is stable as long as they continue to actively do evil.
A person has a painful awareness that he has done something bad. It’s bad because killing is bad
They get killed again, or torture, or whatever. This dampens their awareness of their good side.
Suppressing that good self-image reduces internal conflict with their previous evil actions, that is, they feel less guilty.
Then it’s a positive feedback loop, where it becomes easy to justify each one because they already have that sinister self-image. They match who they are.
One more thing, and I am not sure if it is the same described differently or not.
If you have been killing civilians during the last few days or weeks, and then you have stopped killing civilians, and any disaster that you were killing civilians to avoid does not appear, then the excuse that you fed yourself to killing civilians is proven wrong and you must face that you are a monster.
I model this from drug use, where drug use in itself allows a lack of awareness, so it’s a positive feedback loop, if you stop it causes a lot of emotional pain and moral self-disgust, but if you keep it up then it keeps that pain and moral self-disgust at arm’s length.
You know it exists but medications allow you to separate it from your emotions. I wonder if anyone has ever studied the course of behavioral change of a soldier involved in genocide, from an addiction perspective. (Of course, I don’t mean to point out that it is just a medical problem, because homicide addiction is not without victims as it is in drug addiction).
But behavioral changes and cognitive patterns – specifically patterns of what a person lies about about oneself and using experience to facilitate a lie) can be similar.