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Reviewed by Robert Rose for Readers' Favorite
In “The Mirage of Dignity on the Highways of Human ‘Progress,” Lukman Harees uses 748 pages to give very specific (and carefully researched) examples from every human organization and institution on how it has and is destroying human dignity. Throughout the book he has quotes from informed sources that vividly portray how those in power in each institution control the lives of those that they say they are helping It shows how they are making them dependent, helpless, and disempowered. “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. They feed them on falsehoods till wrong looks like right in their eyes,” said Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Even in the USA where the belief in individual freedom has been the greatest, the concept of 'entitlement' keeps the poor in poverty, and regards the middle class as robots by convincing them that they need things that they pursue in an effort to ease a negative self image created by even those they elect to make their lives better.
Most of the book accurately explains how the “leaders” develop in those they lead the “bystander” mentality. Bystanders play a far more critical role in society than people realize. Bystanders, people who witness but are not directly affected by the actions of the perpetrators, help shape the society by their reactions - or inaction. Bystanders can exert powerful influences. They can define the meaning of events and move others toward empathy or indifference. They can promote values and norms of caring, or by their passivity of participation in the system, they can affirm the perpetrators. “Although a bystander’s power is grossly underestimated, metaphorically, he is as important to the decision making process as an axis is to a carter’s wheel and the impact on a bystander can be enormous,” says Ludwig von Mises. Bystanders are victimizers and victims. The book is a call to personal awareness, which should lead to conscious actions that will free each reader to end being a bystander and achieve enough human dignity and identity.