The Objective Homogeneity of Humanity

Humanity is complex… that’s an easy one. Just to be more concise, I’ll base this discussion off the fact that society is complex.

Spiegelman makes the argument throughout the whole novel, that when social constructs are removed from the reality we perceive, all humans are essentially identical. We will all possess the same needs and look out for our own well beings. Let me elaborate on this newfound term.

Our society is comprised of multiple social constructs, which are simply subjective realities societies create, accept, and conform to. Examples of this can be culture, religion, marriage, socioeconomic status, art, race, ethnicity, and many more. If you sit and think about it, you’ll realize that almost everything is socially constructed.

When you take the time to remove every social construct from the situations presented in Maus, you realize that in the end, whether it be a Pole, Jew, German, or American, they are all human, and under the objective lens, are all identical and homogeneous.

In page 64 of the first book, Vladek takes advantage of the persona-malleability presented by the social construct of nationality, and by pretending to be a Pole, manages to board a train that will get him far away from the work camp.

Yet a better example of the homogeneity of humanity is shown in page 29 of the second book, where Mandelbaum, one of the richest people in Sosnowiec, is shown to be one of the most misfortunate people at Auschwitz, having horribly mismatched shoes, overly large clothing, and no spoon to feed himself. Auschwitz, in a way, eliminates the social construct of socioeconomic status among the prisoner population; this is key to understanding Spiegelman’s idea, since now that the construct had been removed, all subjective value given by socioeconomic status has disappeared, and all prisoners are at the same level, whether in the past one was rich or poor.

 

Hence, in theory, if social constructs are ignored, one quickly realizes that all individuals form part of an essentially homogeneous population… what makes it heterogeneous most of the time are our social constructs of diversity. Social constructs, although key to society and vital to our survival, are malleable and distort the objective homogeneity of humanity.

 

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