I was just thinking about people who think that they're helping their cause, like humanity, god, earth, so on. but i also wanted to know what made them so sure that they were actually helping. this may be a bad comparison, but Hitler thought he knew what was best for germany, did what he set out to do (sort of) and then fucked EVERYTHING up for his country. i just want to know, what makes their opinion the right one for their cause according to them.
Their opinion and their conviction.
Although we tend to view "conviction" in a favorable light, madmen have conviction.
This is not to say these people are mad, but most of them are convinced they are right.
It's helpful to be prepared and able to reassess one's convictions as circumstances play out, but without conviction there will be no action, or at least not concerted action that might actually affect a positive outcome.
If you're not convinced that your approach to a problem is correct how long will you stick with it, if it doesn't immediately produce a solution?
If everyone's notion of how to solve a problem, no matter how contradictory to one another, is viable, how do you choose the approach to take?
As I have just discovered, you are young, but that's no reason to insult your intelligence. I wonder though if you have yet had the opportunity to be in a situation that could be described as a "crisis?" I'm not talking about a life and death situation, but one where there was a lot of pressure to perform, and not a lot of time to consider options.
In such situations, very talented people who are perceived to be Leaders will frequently prove to be anything but.
You have to be confident to lead. It doesn't guarantee that you will lead well, but without confidence you won't lead at all. Generally speaking the people who are in a "crisis" situation and who do not want to lead, will nevertheless perceive the confidence in those who do, and, more importantly, still be able to measure the sense of the competing leaders' arguments for action.
Sometimes people follow a leader they should not and suffer as a result, but a group of people is usually pretty effective at picking the right one to follow.
Just because they believe they are right, obviously doesn't mean they are, but without a high degree of sureness in their belief they cannot successfully lead. No one wants to or will follow someone who is always doubting themselves.
Perhaps the optimum solution to a problem might come from a prolonged debate among people with no fixed bias or opinion, and no desire to lead the way, but that's not how the world works.
Sadly, most serious problems are not addressed until they are critical, and when a crisis errupts, we need leaders with conviction not people who can't make up their minds.
As you noted, Hitler is not the best example of what you seem to be having trouble with.
In a world where mankind has been crawling around for hundred of thousands of years, and recounting its exploits for thousands, how many individuals have had such an enormous impact on civilization as Adolph Hitler?
You're what? 14? And while you may be more educated and perceptive than many of your peers, your knowing who Hitler is isn't at all surprising.
Yet he died a lifetime ago.
How many of his contemporaries are you aware of, and how many of them would you not be aware of if Hitler hadn't been born?
Generations from now people will know Hitler.
Think of the billions of people who live right now who you know nothing about and realize that there are billions of people who haven't a clue that you exist, and yet one thing you have in common with a great many of them is that you know who Hitler is.
Maybe Hitler honestly thought he was doing well by his people, but I doubt it. Hitler thought about Hitler. That's a fairly common trait among great leaders...egoism. How could anyone presume to lead a group of people, let alone a nation unless they thought pretty highly of themselves?
Sometimes the confidence of these people is justified and sometimes it gets warped by psychosis, but it is always there.
Confidence and conviction in a person can be infuriating when you whole-heartedly disagree with their beliefs, but look around, and the only hint of hypocrisy you might find is that of your own if you likewise have a deathgrip on your beliefs.