desensitization is alive and well

When the people sitting behind me on the plane this morning asked the young man sitting next to them what he does (I think having already found out he was in the military), he replied in a friendly, conversational tone, “I build bombs”. I was horrified. In fact, I hadn’t heard anything in the conversation up to this point, but the sheer horror of that statement caught my attention. He said it so calmly, as if it were the most normal thing in the world to build things to kill other human beings. Of course, I realize that the weapon industry is huge, so it isn’t exactly a strikingly unusual occupation, but he seemed so detached from the awfulness of bombs. I also realize that most people, unlike me, are desensitized to violence and can easily detach themselves from the negative consequences of their or someone else’s occupation. However, I don’t encounter a live example of that desensitization very often and it was shocking. Such detachment comes at a price to both the individual and the world, and I want to do what I can to work towards a world where people are not numb to the horrers of war and violence, but instead feel deep compassion for the other human beings who are hurt by these things.

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2 Responses to desensitization is alive and well

  1. fjd says:

    Your next post fits very well with this one. My view is that many individuals who would be horrified to have a job building bombs have lifestyles — without realizing it — that essentially require others to build and use those bombs.

  2. Sarah says:

    That is a good point. I agree that many people are hypochritical in that they abhor the war, in the abstract, and yet do not analyse their own life to see how they are contributing to the existence of that war.

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