Last night I watched an old favorite movie that I hadn't seen in a long time--Pink Floyd: The Wall! I first saw it when I was 17 during a difficult period of my life. Like Pink (played by Bob Geldof), I, too, spent most of my life building walls around me. The Wall came right around the time I first learned I didn't have to live my life behind a wall. (Although I've built several more walls throughout my life since then. I guess old habits die hard.)
Whenever I tell people about The Wall, the one part I have the most difficulty explaining is when Pink turns into a fascist demagogue. Kinda of a real left turn, once you think about. Here we have Pink, your typical burned out rock star smashing up his hotel room and shaving off his body hair, and then all of a sudden he's a Nazi! But I think it makes sense. I think Roger Waters was trying to say that when you isolate yourself from the world, and live your life behind a wall, you can easily lose your humanity.
It's happened to me several times.
No, I never became a neo-Nazi or anything like that. I could never bring myself to hate one ethnic group; I always hated everyone equally. All of the anger and self-loathing would build up inside of me until finally I started projecting that anger onto others. It didn't matter who that "other" was; they were going to feel my wrath in one way or another.
Of course, like Pink, I had to eventually stop and think, "Wait a minute. Have I been guilty all this time?" In fact, I still have to do that when I feel like I'm falling back into old habits. Believe me, it's way too easy to just build up a wall instead of actually processing through the pain.