REGARDING THE PAIN OF OTHERS

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Things tend to grow on us overtime, you could even use people as an example for that, since I could even say that hearing my friend say, “he and/or she has grown on me”. It happens quite a lot.

Is this the same for materialistic things? Places we visit? Most likely! It is often the measure of time that enables things to ‘grow’ on us. So you could say we tend to like a stimulus the more we are exposed to it? But then when can tire of a stimulus the more we are exposed to it. And things. And people. And places.

Sometimes what aren’t “the finer things in life” can grow on us. In relation to this, I think of my university room and how when I’m here over a long period of time (day in day out), I want to be outside, or a different environment, I want to go home. But then I find that when I’m home, I’ll miss my flat, my flatmates and my room here in Bristol.

‘Better the devil you know’.

Sontag believes, “An image is drained of its force by the way it is used, where and how often it is seen.” I’m in agreement with this, definitely with how an image can be drained of its force according to how often it is seen. It reminds me of this image of that blue/black or white/gold dress that bombarded social networking sites a few weeks ago.

The_Dress_(viral_phenomenon)

SO MUCH SO, that there is even a Wikipedia page on it! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_dress_(viral_phenomenon)

I’ll admit that reading celebrities Tweet about what colours they found the dress to be was quite interesting at first, but then it got boring. So did seeing people bicker over what colour they think the dress is and how someone is wrong thinking it’s white and gold and how someone is right thinking it is blue and black, and vice versa. The dress now bores me entirely. Sorry not sorry.

Sontag also saying, “Images shown on television are by definition of images of which, sooner or later, one tires.” Of course they do!

When I concentrate on the Ebola crisis and how it was 24 hour news for however long, I just picture the people in white suits and the infected Africans who were constantly shown on television. As vitally important as the disease is, for someone to say they weren’t tired of seeing the same images on different television channels, might be a lie.

I find this text very impressive. And it scares me that I’m already on 418 words because I’d love to mention so many things I’ve read within it.

I find Sontag’s idea of modern media and how it hasn’t changed very true to life, as it’s made clear that when we make criticisms, we talk from a privilege position. Even if people think that’s just being in a university lecture with the newest version of the iPhone. I myself, can criticise from a privileged position.

What I do find scary though, is the presence of desensitisation and whether we are starting to become immune to it or not. I’m probably also mentioning this because it reminds me of Big Brother and (shamed to admit it), the show did entertain me. The first ever series was tame, especially compared to now, where transexuals, the introducing of ‘tasks’, and the amount of deviousness continues to make each series even more spectacular than the one before, in order to keep the attention of each spectator.

Social desensitisation is what minimises the horror of crime, war, and everything else terrifying and heartbreaking we are starting to see frequently, especially on television.

Victims being interested in “the representation of their own sufferings”, and wanting “the suffering to be seen as unique” is a rather upsetting thing to read, actually. It represents that these victims feel like the amount of recognition the suffering gets, depends on the originality of it.

A very strong message I received at the near end of this text was how we have the ability to view other people who are suffering, without suffering ourselves and that just seeing it will never be the same as experiencing that suffering ourselves.

Reference:

Sontag, Susan. (2003). Chapter 7. In: Regarding the Pain of Others. New York: Picador. pp104-113.

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