Can the Science of Purpose Help Explain White Supremacy?


From Greater Good Magazine: Having a sense of purpose can help people improve their psychological well-being, weather hardships and trauma, and accomplish their goals. However, a sense of purpose is also shared by white supremacists and other hate groups and can be used to justify violence and destruction.

“The Nazis had a purpose as well. We can hear an echo of that time in the words of today’s white supremacists.

‘When I joined America’s first neo-Nazi skinhead group, suddenly I felt like I could conquer the world,’ says Christian Picciolini, who eventually left the skinheads to co-found Life after Hate, which helps rehabilitate former hate-group members. In an Upworthy documentary, he explains: ‘I’d been kicked out of four high schools, one of them twice, and I met some individuals, and they promised me… that the bullies would go away, that my life would get better, that I’d have a family, and that I would have a sense of purpose.’

That purpose may well have brought good things to Picciolini’s individual life, at least for a little while. But what about the impact of his purpose on American society? Are all purposes created equal, or are some better than others?”

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