Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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Doubling: The Faustian Bargain 
conquering time and therefore death; if the new self will “dare to be barbaric, twice barbaric indeed.”39*

Within German psychological and cultural experience, the theme of doubling is powerful and persistent. Moreover, German vulnerability to doubling was undoubtedly intensified by the historical dislocations and fragmentations of cultural symbols following the First World War. Who can deny the Germanic “feel” of so much of the doubling process, as best described by a brilliant product of German culture, Otto Rank?

Yet the first great poet to take up the Faust theme was not Goethe but the English playwright Christopher Marlowe. And there has been a series of celebrated English and American expressions of the general theme of the double, running through Edgar Allan Poe’s “William Wilson,” Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray, and the comic strip Superman. Indeed, the theme penetrates the work of writers of all nationalities: for instance, Guy de Maupassant’s Le Horla and Dostoevski's novel The Double.41

Clearly, the Nazis took hold of a universal phenomenon, if one given special emphasis by their own culture and history. But they could not have brought about widespread doubling without the existence of certain additional psychological patterns that dominated Auschwitz behavior. These internalized expressions of the environment of the death camp came to characterize the Auschwitz self, and have significance beyond that place and time.
* Mann also captures the continuity in doubling by speaking of the “implicit Satanism” in German psychology, and by having the devil make clear to the Faust figure that “we lay upon you nothing new … [but] only ingeniously strengthen and exaggerate all that you already are.”40   
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

Robert J. Lifton
ISBN 0-465-09094
© 1986
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