Bitching Brew

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A short musing.

I find it impossible to objectify people. I can't help but remain acutely aware that each person has feelings, hopes, fears, dreams and uncertainties of their own. I'm not talking about scientific data; how can a bare statistic be humanised? Only through picking out an individual, or individuals, from that mass.

What interests - or bothers - me is how someone can objectify (dehumanise?) another breathing, speaking, thinking person in their presence. We only need look at various wars and genocides to see the ultimate outcome of this, but the less destructive instances are more common, such as treating people as means to an end. There's a distinction between objectifying someone and treating them badly. Even if you take pains to avoid a beggar's gaze, you're implicitly recognising their humanity. If you kick a homeless guy out of the way, that's objectification.

Oh, there are reams of theories to explain this, scientific and otherwise. I can follow the explanations; however, I can't understand the act. That's probably a good thing... probably.

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