These are some of the most thought provoking photos that I have come across in a very long time. The one with the elephant put me into a state of shock for a while.
I noticed something very strange yesterday. I came across the phrase “unalienable rights” 5 times yesterday. The first was while reading a book on prose in the English language and the author noted how beautiful Jefferson’s prose was. I’m not sure if this subconsciously led me to watch one of my favorite TV series of all time, but nevertheless about an hour later I watched the John Adams episode where they were voting on the Declaration of Independence. Then I was reading for my history of American capitalism class and came across the phrase in a primary source of a correspondence between two merchants. Netflix is dangerous, especially when you want to procrastinate on schoolwork. So I saw a documentary by Ben Stein in which he was arguing against the establishment of Darwinists, and the mix between my piqued interest and my procrastination need caused me to watch the entire thing. In it, he made an argument that Darwinism plays a role in robbing people of their unalienable rights because first they have no creator in the first place and second because survival of the fittest promotes the interests of only the strong. While I think he’s onto something, some of the meta themes in his arguments are too emotionally fueled, and therefore become too cloudy to scrutinize other arguments. The last time was I heard the phrase was in my sketch comedy club and it was so random that I don’t even remember the context. But when I heard it there, I realized how strange it was that my February 15th had a theme.
These photos are definitely a part of the theme- at least the horrifying ones. It seems like unalienable rights are in fact alienable; as a matter of fact, these rights seem to have never been given to a great deal of the world’s population in the first place. Granted, the violent shots were extreme, and situations like that are more exception than the norm, but it’s still something to think about. The elephant picture was probably the most disturbing to me, however, because what I saw was horrifying and what those people in the photo experienced, to them, was probably a blessing. It makes you feel inhuman in a slightly ironic way. You would think that they would be the bestial savages and I the civilized human, but much to the contrary, I feel like I haven’t experienced true visceral pain and human suffering. In my comfortable apartment, with my good food, I feel almost as if there’s something that I’m missing. I don’t know if I want to experience what it is that I’m missing, but I’m pretty sure it’s out there and that’s what messed me up for that hour.
Happy belated Valentines Day everyone.