ARE YOU EVEN LISTENING? CAN YOU HEAR US? //Abhay Gupta

I don’t know where to begin. I actually don’t want to begin to tell you the truth. I feel as if I am talking about something that has been spoken about so excessively that I will just fall into the internet cloud of meaningless mumble. However, that doesn’t give you permission to scroll down and skip my masterpiece! Or does it?

If I were to cut off my ear, it really won’t be much off a loss. First of all, the only thing that will happen is that I will be bleed a shit ton—sorry for the language—and become that guy who cut off his own ear. I would still be able to hear, because my ear drum will only become filled with blood that any doctor can remove with a simple sleight of hand.

What I meant to ask is: What would happen if I were to lose my hearing? I would probably start messing with my ear for hours until I go to the doctors and after that I would try everything in my nature to prove the doctor wrong. After my freak out week, I would try to adjust back into life with my new self, my deafened self.

I would start to notice things around me in a different sense. It is essentially common knowledge that our other senses are heightened if one of our five senses is weakened, and with my other senses at my fingertips, I can see things I couldn’t see clearly before. Maybe I am able to see the scratches on my phone. Maybe I begin to taste all the salt on my fries. Maybe I begin to smell the awful odor that comes off my skin and clothes. Maybe I begin to feel the roughness of my mouse scraping atop the table.

Nicolas Leither, my English professor, didn’t just cut off my ears; he lit them off.

Allegory of the Cave – Plato

Sorry about the cheesy pun, I just wanted to loosen the mood a little.

I had to watch “This is Water,” twice. The first time I watched it was twenty minutes before my English class, while I was cramming Nic’s homework assignments and the second time was right as the class started. The second time around forced me to actually pay more attention to the words than just the fancy images and the pretty colors. It showed me, and anyone who watched it, that we need start really looking. Looking at what? Looking at everything.

Today, I was riding on the freeway. It was 8 am and there was the intense peak time traffic, making my one time ride from twenty minutes to about an hour. I was traveling for an interview so I was sweating, shaking and maybe even a little nauseous. At one moment, however, I got distracted a little. It wasn’t even an ordinary distraction like a bird crashing into a window or a hitchhiker on the side of the road, but it was actually the overhang of the trees surrounding both sides of the freeway. It was beautiful. It was as if I was driving in a forest rather than a one stop tunnel. Then, I noticed the clouds, and then the sun, and then putting one and one together—Wah lah—I realized that it was a gorgeous summer day. I really understood that today was my last day of finals and that tomorrow the nature won’t just behind the glass window, but that I can walk into it and become truly lost in its beauty.

I agree with David Foster Wallace in that “the most obvious important realities are often the ones that are hardest to see and talk about” (This is Water).  And I think awareness is probably one of the biggest struggles of our society.

Half of my family has been vegetarian their entire lives. My family members have been vegetarian because they are quite strict Hindu’s; therefore I never expected myself of joining their path, because I do not believe in Hinduism as a religion even though it does in fact preach some great philosophical views. In the beginning of this year, I had become vegetarian. After reading Foer’s novel Eating Animals, I knew how the animal industry ran, and it wasn’t funny. How could I eat meat knowing that “‘Every week,’ [Journalist Scott Bronstein] report[ed], “millions of chickens leaking yellow pus, stained by green feces, contaminated by harmful bacteria, or marred by lung and heart infections, cancerous tumors, or skin conditions are shipped for sale to consumers” (Foer 134). Not only is the meat processing industry highly unsanitary, it has essentially no policy for restricting abusing animals, leading to brutal animal farming conditions. Reading this novel allowed me to know about this secret industry and take a personal stance against it.

But I am not the only person unaware and factory farms aren’t the only thing we are unaware of. In Columbine, I was able to witness the lives of the killers, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, and the people affected by them unfold in front of my eyes. Dave Cullen, the author of Columbine, allows the reader, myself, to really know everything that led up the the massacre as well as what happened afterward. He shows how if only the parents, of both killers, and the police were to pay attention to the signs these murderers released, they could have easily prevented the massacre. They were caught with pipe bombs, thievery, drugs, and excessive violence. The police even found Eric’s website where he explicitly portrays his rage against the society.  Just one step was needed:  a little closer attention to the obvious facts.

Let me just list you some more examples of lacking awareness. In the Nacirema , it depicted our culture to laugh at other cultures on their unusual ways of life, while we can never really look how weird our culture must look to them.  We are quick to attack others, but never are aware of our own faults. In “Bowling for Columbine,” Michael Moore portrays how we, as America, immediately started a war with Saddam Hussein, believing that they are to blame for the thousands of American deaths, whereas America actually provoked the attack. In the show “The Walking Dead,” the people are fighting off zombies; however, while they are fending off zombies, they are becoming zombies themselves. I can just keep going on and on about how our world seems to be so ignorant and unaware.

I have so many examples of awareness primarily because it is, in my opinion, the ultimate focus of Nic’s English class; therefore most of the class topics relate to awareness.  I think Nic has so many examples because there are so many people trying to address awareness and there is so much lack of it already. This is why I have felt like I have only been repeating someone else’s ideas in addition to this blog being placed alongside sixty plus capstone projects for Nic’s class. Yes… I know… you get tired of hearing the same thing over and over… and over… and over again and I am tired myself. But are not everyone is really listening. They are hearing words, but aren’t aware of the severity of these words and the easiest way to be heard is to repeat ourselves over and over… and over… and over again. Because have you really read what I have written and you have just read plain words on paper? Are you really aware of the things around you? Have you listened to me at all? Should I cut off your ear or will you do it for me?

Works Cited:

Foer, Jonathan Safran. Eating Animals. New York: Little, Brown, 2009. Print.

Cullen, David. Columbine. New York: Twelve, 2009. Print.

Darabont, Frank, Robert Kirkman. “The Walking Dead.” AMC. October 16 2011.

MINER, H. (1956), “Body Ritual among the Nacirema.” American Anthropologist, 58: 503–507.

Moore, Michael, Kathleen R. Glynn, Jim Czarnecki, Charles Bishop, Michael Donovan, Charlton Heston, Brian Danitz, Michael McDonough, Kurt Engfehr, and Jeff Gibbs. Bowling for Columbine. United States: MGM Home Entertainment, 2003.

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