Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Human Animal

Blog Assignment 1

Growing up I was always a firm believer that you, and only you, were in charge of your own destiny. In many ways this is true, but in the past couple of years I realized that you can not control everything. For example, you may be by far the best worker in your profession because of all of the hard work YOU have done, but just because a certain person knows the boss a little better means they get the promotion and you do not. This example clearly shows that even though you do as much as you can and think that you are destined to succeed there will (almost) always be something holding you back. Someone might be thinking what does this have to do with "Life in the Iron Mills"? It is pretty clear that Rebecca Harding Davis thinks that we humans are more like animals. I would have to agree with her after having some of the experiences I have had.

I am sure it comes as a surprise that I, a human, agrees with someone insulting my own species. When I think of animals, I think of something that does not think of its actions and does not realize the consequences of its actions. I may not know much about wildlife but it is fairly obvious that they only look out for themselves or at most their family or others then benefit them, like a pac of wolves or a pride of lions.

After thinking about the ways animals interact it is pretty clear that humans act the same way. Like I said earlier, you can not control everything. A person would like to think that another human would help them out, but when it comes down to it everyone (including me) looks out for number 1 before anything else. One blog I read basically talked about how homeless people should not be asking for food, clothes, ex. It said everyone can work, which is very true but these people need opportunities from others and it is hard to get an opportunity when no one cares about anything but themselves.

Please do not get me wrong. There are plenty of good people out there to offer help. I am just saying that I can definetely see where Mrs. Davis is coming from.


Mike K said...

I like to phrase it in terms of "Us vs Them". It's true, we're not all in it together. Funny thing is, the more like us people are, the more we're willing to help them. First, we help our family. But if it's the USA vs Russia in, say, the Olympics, who do you root for? What about during a Steelers (or whoever you're from) game? There's really no good reason for this. If the US wins the gold medals, it doesn't improve YOUR life any.

Interesting thing to think about: When we consider the robot-infested future, why do we root for the humans? They're not even born yet, and we're already dead (hopefully). Why shouldn't we root for the robots to dominate? As Kent Brockman (Simpsons, anyone?) said famously, "I, for one, welcome our new overlords." Haha.

Adam Johns said...

Beginning with the idea that we aren't as free as we'd like to be, or as free as we seem, seems good to me. While I think we'd all probably agree that Harding is concerned with issues along these lines, you don't get specific. You claim that she thinks we're "more like animals" - this doesn't seem unreasonable, but on the other hand she continuously appeals to _Christian_ rhetoric, relating the human to the divine. This is why you need to work more directly with the text -- to explain why you read Harding this way, and what the implications of this reading are.

Another question, which is more about where you stand than about how you reading Harding. When you acknowledge that most of us are selfish most of the time, what does this mean to you? That we need to try harder (somehow) to act differently? Or that it's hopeless?