I was uncomfortable from the minute I walked into “Critical Thinking and Writing” at 5:25pm on a Monday–the first day of my college career. I was uncomfortable being in a new state, surrounded by new people who had new interests and perceptions of what was “in” and what wasn’t. I grew even more uncomfortable when my teacher was late and one of my classmates insisted we all get in a circle and chat. That was not me. I was also very intimidated by the idea of critically thinking and thinking for myself. I had become very good at keeping quiet and reading the classroom and then reiterating exactly what I knew the teacher wanted to hear on whatever assessment came up. In fact, if I was directly asked my thoughts on something I would mutter an “I don’t know” and quickly divert my attention. Critical Thinking and Writing? This was not my cup of tea, to say the least.
“The first time I was exposed to farming issues was when a friend showed me some films of cows being slaughtered. We were teenagers, and it was just gross-out shit, like those “Faces of Death” videos. He wasn’t a vegetarian- no one was a vegetarian- and he wasn’t trying to make me one. It was for a laugh” (Foer, 90).
America’s carnivorous consumers are drawn towards the violence they see in the media. Whether it is videos of cows being skinned on kill floors of slaughterhouses or media coverage of school shootings, these meat-eaters are attracted towards the fear and angst they feel when these cruel acts are viewed. By eating unethically, these consumers must find a way to justify their support of the inhumanely raise meat they are putting into their mouths. The violent images depicted on television are used as rationalization of their cruel treatment towards the animals they eat. Similar to the inhumane acts they are witnessing, these consumers kill their prey in a violent manner. The plethora of media coverage on the Columbine school shooting, fascination with the hunting behaviors of sharks, and meat butchering challenges on the popular television show Top Chef support this notion of utilizing attraction of violence as justification for consumers’ inhumane slaughtering of animals.
Many of us students at Santa Clara University know at least one individual who loves to go on roller coasters, has been skydiving, or is always driving far above the speed limit. We call this individual an “adrenaline junky.” Just as the roller coaster gives a feeling of euphoria to the adrenaline junky, a murder often delivers the same feeling to the mind of a serial killer.
Humans naturally have a fear of the unknown. Space, the afterlife, and infinity are just some of the things that people cannot wrap their heads around. We as a species like to have an answer or information to everything, that is the reason we are so concerned with the infinite, because there is no finite answer to describe them. The same can be said about the question “Where does violence come from?” There is no specific answer that will cover the entire topic of where violence comes from. Philosophers like Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jaques Rousseau looked at the situation too simply. Thomas Hobbes believed that “…in the first place, I put for a general inclination of all mankind, a perpetual and restless desire of power after power, that ceaseth only in death.” (Hobbes 61). Essentially that means that he believes that men are naturally violent. Rousseau on the other hand believes that “Since no man has a natural authority over his fellow, and force creates no right, we must conclude that conventions form the basis of all legitimate authority among men.” (Rousseau 3). That means that he believes that civilization brought violence and men before that were peaceful. However those are both very black and white views on the subject, and like most things, the violence that humanity exhibits is not that. Continue reading Infinity // Michael Pierotti
Almost every time Americans turn on the news, watch a movie, or read the newspaper, they witness some form of violence–often glorified. The news constantly focuses on incidents featuring cruelty and brutality and places more emphasis on reporting news involving violence because, while triggering the gag reflex of most Americans, it draws their attention to the subject at hand (Paskova). Violence is like an accident on the side of a freeway: no matter how horrible it is, people cannot help but observe it–they enjoy watching it. Because violence is eye-catching, the news covers violent events like murders and war to pull in more viewers (Paskova). Americans see violence, such as offshore conflicts, on the news so often that they lose the sense of impact that it once carried; they become desensitized. That word, “desensitized,” is common when talking about violence. But what isn’t so common is how that desensitization might affect our daily lives, our perspectives, or even our choices. Would it sound crazy if we suggested to you that watching violent film and television influences the way you choose your meat in a supermarket? Continue reading Saving the Humans: Are You an Accomplice to Murder, Cruelty, and Some Really Bad Decision Making?
“Hide and Seek”
America has been the birth place of some of the best inventions of all time such as cell phones, the Internet, airplanes, television, etc., however, the most influential creation from the US is a little game called “hide and seek.” Merriam-Webster defines hide and seek as “a children’s game in which everyone hides from one player who tries to find them” (Merriam-Webster). How can a children’s game be one of the most influential inventions in the history of the US? Continue reading AMERICA: HOME OF HIDE AND SEEK // CAMERON AKHAVAN