Research Projects


The Concept of Humiliation and Equal Dignity

HumanDHS is primarily grounded in academic work. We are independent of any religious or political agenda. However, we wish to bring academic work into "real life." Our research focuses on topics such as dignity (with humiliation as its violation), or, more precisely, on respect for equal dignity for all human beings in the world. This is not only our research topic, but also our core value, in line with Article 1 of the Human Rights Declaration that states that every human being is born with equal dignity (that ought not be humiliated). We agree with Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development, who advocates the building of bridges from academia as follows, "I have always believed that good scholarship can be relevant and consequential for public policy. It is possible to affect public policy without being an advocate; to be passionate about peace without losing analytical rigor; to be moved by what is just while conceding that no one has a monopoly on justice." We would like to add that we believe that good scholarship can be relevant and consequential not only for public policy, but for raising awareness in general.

Copies of the Fighting Giants by Ignaz Platzer, 18th century, at the entrance of the Castle of Prague (Pražský Hrad ) most dramatically show the downward movement that is at the core of humiliation. We thank Adair Linn Nagata for making us aware of this link.

In Lindner's work, humiliation is a concept that is changing in the course of human history. Please see here Lindner's reflections. Please see also Neil Altman's text Humiliation, Retaliation, and Violence, in Tikkun Magazine, January/February 2004.

Please read Neil Altman's text Humiliation, Retaliation, and Violence, in Tikkun Magazine, January/February 2004. He writes there, "The immediate concrete object over which people fight may be property or land or any other form of material resource, but, psychologically, it is the humiliation of being crushed, overwhelmed by force, and threatened with psychological annihilation that is the most potent stimulus for violence. The psychological counterpart to "kill or be killed" is "humiliate or be humiliated" (Altman, Humiliation, Retaliation, and Violence, in Tikkun Magazine, Jan/Feb 2004).



Please note that the entire HumanDHS website is maintained by volunteers, since its inception in 2003, and this is mainly done by Evelin Lindner. Until 2012, she usually pasted interesting news into this Links section. From July 2012 until 2017, she tagged interesting information on From 2017 onward, you see Evelin's personal list of interesting web links on Twitter:

The System Improvement Process
SIP was developed to solve any difficult large-scale social problem. This includes the "excessive humiliation problem." Systems Engineer Jack Harich invites all researchers to study SIP (in a personal message, 15th January 2013).

Fritzl Confesses to 'Addiction'
Josef Fritzl, the Austrian man who has admitted holding his daughter captive for 24 years, has said he was driven by an addiction that "got out of control". He also said that he locked his daughter Elisabeth in a cellar dungeon to protect her from the outside world. Mr Fritzl made the statement to his lawyer Rudolf Mayer, which was passed on to the Austrian magazine News. Mr Fritzl said he tried to care for Elisabeth and her children by taking them flowers, toys and books. He fathered seven children with his daughter - one of whom died when very young, three of whom were kept imprisoned in his cellar, and three others who went on to live with Mr Fritzl as his adopted or fostered children. Elisabeth has told police that her father started sexually abusing her when she was 11. In conversations with his lawyer Mr Fritzl admitted repeatedly raping Elisabeth, now 42, on visits to the cellar. "I knew Elisabeth didn't want me to do what I did to her. I knew that I was hurting her. It was like an addiction... In reality, I wanted children with her." "I brought... books and toys for the children, and I watched adventure videos with them while Elisabeth was cooking our favourite dish" (Josef Fritzl, via his lawyer).
"I knew the whole time that what I was doing was not right, that I must be mad for doing such a thing. But despite this, at the same time it became completely matter-of-fact for me that I had a second life, which I led in the cellar of my house." He insisted he still loved his wife, Rosemarie, with whom he has seven children. "Since I can remember, it was my innermost wish to have lots of children - and I considered Rosemarie to be the suitable mother," he said. "The fact is I loved her and I still love her." He said that he had locked up his daughter in 1984 as a way of controlling her behaviour after "she broke all the rules" following the onset of puberty. "I needed to create a place in which I could at some point keep her away from the outside world, by force if necessary," he said. Earlier the Oesterreich newspaper also reported that Mr Fritzl had sought to defend his actions, in comments relayed by his lawyer. Mr Fritzl reportedly criticised media coverage of his case as "totally one-sided", and added that he was "not a monster". "When I went into the bunker, I brought flowers for my daughter, and books and toys for the children, and I watched adventure videos with them while Elisabeth was cooking our favourite dish," News magazine quoted him as saying. "And then we all sat around the table and ate together." He also repeated his claim that he had installed a timer-device on the doors of the dungeon so that if anything happened to him, they would open after a certain length of time. "Had I died, Elisabeth and the children would have been set free," he said. Elisabeth and five of her children are now in care with the Austrian authorities, who are protecting their privacy at a psychiatric clinic.
Please see more at

Brain Scan Shows Rejection Pain
Being snubbed socially provokes exactly the same brain response as being physically hurt, say US researchers. Volunteers were asked to play a computer game designed to fool them into feeling excluded, while brain scans were taken at the same time. After the computerised snub, the scan detected activity in an area of the brain linked to physical pain. Experts say the study, from the journal Science, is a hint to the importance the brain places on social ties...
Dr Jaak Panksepp, from the Centre for Neuroscience, Mind and Behavior at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, said that feelings of social exclusion were powerful instincts in animals and humans. He said: "The feelings induced by experimental games in the laboratory, are a pale shadow of the real-life feelings that humans and other animals experience in response to the sudden loss of social support. "Psychological pain in humans, especially grief and intense loneliness, may share some of the same neural pathways that elaborate physical pain. "Given the dependence of mammalian young on their caregivers, it is hard not to comprehend the strong survival value conferred by common neural pathways that elaborate both social attachment and the affective qualities of physical pain."
Please read the entire article at