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Volume 65 , Issue 3 September Pages Related Information. Close Figure Viewer.

Cultural impact on behavior

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Mind, modernity, madness: the impact of culture on human experience

And how could the rest of this civilization allow the Holocaust to go on, despite knowing what was going on, for six years, without any concerted effort to extricate the victims or, at the very least, destroy the infernal machine that made the still living among them envy the dead? These are not academic, not even intellectual questions, and no satisfaction can be derived from answering them.


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They are, in fact rhetorical; their significance is our protest: this should have never happened, but did! The damage done is irreparable. Still we ask.

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And, as in our time knowledge rarely comes unsupported by expert scholarship, there are scholars dedicated to the study of the Holocaust. Many document it, uncovering and publishing new testimonies, photographs, memoranda of the participating German officialdom.

Some attempt to explain it, if only for therapeutic reasons, for explanation here just begs the question again. Andreas Musolff uses it as a case in point.

Culture in the Brain

Mind, Modernity, Madness displays an astonishing level of research. Greenfeld further supports her theory with analysis of evidence of the significantly lower incidences of the illnesses of schizophrenia and manic depression in countries where nationalism has not taken hold. Greenfeld turns to America, and the history of schizophrenia and manic depression from its inception to the present day, towards the end of her work.

Finally, the issue of whether anomic illnesses have been and are on the increase is the central concern of the final section of the book.


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In particular, Greenfeld looks to demonstrate the increase of these illnesses in line with the spread of the principles implied in nationalism to large groups of the population whose access to such freedoms had previously been denied women or the descendents of slaves, for example. This provides Greenfeld with the opportunity to examine the difficulties surrounding statistical evidence in relation to these illnesses, with early mistakes in evidentiary recordings leading to the mistrust of statistics, and subsequent refusals to acknowledge the increase of these illnesses.

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