Thursday, November 30, 2006

All Together Now!

Strange how the closer together we pack ourselves on this planet, the further we drift from just about everything: each other, our food, our comfort, our feelings...

Psychologist spend an awful lot of time debating whether human beings are essentially noble and good (the Rousseauian Romantic position) or horrid brutes held in check only by the "civilizing" influence of government and religion (the Hobbesian Realist position). Total waste of time.

People are "good" if they think they're intimately involved with what they're doing and "bad" if they see themselves as at a distance from their actions.

Take war for example. During WWII, the U.S. military found that they had a serious problem: their soldiers found it very difficult to shoot AT the enemy. Most soldiers were firing above their advancing heads. Killing the enemy -- even as feared an enemy as the Japanese -- was just too revolting.

But how many pilots do you suppose find themselves unable to push the button that sends the bombs off to kill and maim unseen victims far below?

Another example: meat. Just about all the meat we eat is made from the flesh of animals that we've systematically reduced to a non-life of drugged stupor in a cage. What we allow to happen to other living creatures so that we can enjoy the pepperoni on our pizza would be unthinkable for most of us if we had to actually participate in the process in any meaningful way. Even simply seeing what happens on a pig farm/processing plant would render most of us nauseated vegans.

But as most of us will never see the reality, we keep chewing.

In Iraq, Americans and American policies are killing thousands of people every month, while in America, people are more concerned with shopping. We are as removed from the war being fought in our name as we are from the slaughterhouse. And as unconcerned.


Stanley Krippner said...

"Distancing" is a psychological defense, and it seems to work to Bush's advantage. In my opinion, this is one reason why the terrorists have not repeated their 9/11 attack. It would bring the war too close to home for Americans.

Shaquille Davis said...

that is bulshit people had no problem killing eachother in world war 2!!

Shaquille Davis said...

that is bulshit people had no problem killing eachother in world war 2!!