Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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Chapter 19 

Doubling: The
Faustian Bargain
  Not only will you break through the paralysing difficulties of the time you will break through time itself ... and dare to be barbaric, twice barbaric indeed   
  Any of us could be the man who encounters his double.   
The key to understanding how Nazi doctors came to do the work of Auschwitz is the psychological principle I call “doubling”: the division of the self into two functioning wholes, so that a part-self acts as an entire self. An Auschwitz doctor could through doubling not only kill and contribute to killing but organize silently, on behalf of that evil project, an entire self-structure (or self process) encompassing virtually all aspects of his behavior.

Doubling, then, was the psychological vehicle for the Nazi doctor’s Faustian bargain with the diabolical environment in exchange for his contribution to the killing; he was offered various psychological and material benefits on behalf of privileged adaptation. Beyond Auschwitz was the larger Faustian temptation offered to German doctors in general that of becoming the theorists and implementers of a cosmic scheme of racial cure by means of victimization and mass murder.

One is always ethically responsible for Faustian bargains — a responsibility in no way abrogated by the fact that much doubling takes place outside of awareness. In exploring doubling, I engage in psychological probing on behalf of illuminating evil. For the individual Nazi doctor in Auschwitz, doubling was likely to mean a choice for evil.  
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

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