According to people like Martin Buber (Daniel Goleman did a much better job articulating it) another sentient being can be seen as a ‘you’ or as an ‘it’. The difference is a you has innate dignity, worth, value and is worthy of empathy. An ‘it’ is an object that you either use or feel threatened by and has no value other than how they relate to you.
Goleman talks about the importance of both relationships (the relationship between waiter and diner for example is a functioning i-it relationship). But they can be unhealthy too in situations of bullying, genocide, abuse, etc.
So what factors go into converting a humanized being into a dehumanized one? What do the reverse?
Erich Fromm wrote that the 4 factors of mature love are respect, responsibility, care and understanding. If you view someone as an autonomous individual with their own goals and agendas (respect) and you feel obliged to help them when they are down (responsibility and care), and you understand who/why they are what they are (understanding) then you have mature love.
So objectification relationships lack all of that. You don’t understand the other person as anything other than an object to suit your transient needs. Woman X is for sex. She has no friends, family, goals, strengths or weaknesses. Man X is a target for bullying because it makes another person feel powerful. They also have no identity above/beyond the identity of object to be used. No respect (aka no autonomy), no responsibility or care, and no understanding.
According to Goleman things like eye contact can build empathy and as a result humanize other people. But aside from that, what works? ie, would a bullying victim forcing his attacker to humanize him by forcing him to understand him and respect him as an individual work?
In another thread I talked about a gang intervention where gang members were forced to watch the consequences of violence. They visited hospitals, met family members of victims, etc. I think there are other program interventions for criminals to force them to see the effects their acts had on victims. These seem to humanize victims, at least somewhat.
But does humanization/dehumanization come down to Fromm’s 4 tenets of mature love, or are there other factors? What about issues like similarity (ie, finding out someone is from the same hometown as you would probably make you humanize them)? Or what about reciprocation? Someone who does good to you gets humanized, someone who does bad does not. Then again, doing good in a dehumanized relationship can backfire and result in contempt.
It seems because of evolution we favor those who are similar and who reciprocate positively. And it seems those things also result in humanization.
Have there been psychologists who are experts in the field of humanization and dehumanization? The only ones I know of are Goleman and Buber. Who are other good writers on humanization & dehumanization?
What about anti-bullying, anti-bigotry and anti-violent crime initiatives, how heavily are those based on humanizing the victims? How do they do it?
What about doing the opposite like was done in Rwanda? Or the process of a bully becoming a bully and seeing others as objects to use and dispose of?