Log in

No account? Create an account
Johnboy's Journal [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
John Taylor

[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

[Apr. 29th, 2006|10:42 pm]
John Taylor
[mood |A heartfelt eulogy]
[music |Tegan and Sara - Where Does The Good Go]

It's sometimes hard to remember that abilities are not all that a person is.

We are given rank, honor, status, and power according to our abilities. These things, however, are not all that we are. Sometimes when reputation precedes us, we lose the human element that goes hand in hand with the ability. Any person that others may respect or revere is still just a person, regardless of abilities. They have feelings, they have their own issues they must contend with, they have their own friends, their own relational dynamics, their own health, their own beliefs and parents and upbringing and standards and morals and opiniopns. Yet they are only known through the actions they do. Why is it that the reputation carries with it only a small fraction of what we are?

We can forget that a band is not comprised of rock gods, but is really made of people with musical talent (usually) that still have their own problems. We can think that teachers exist to grade papers or give lectures. We can see a person as only the sum of the parts that they do to affect us. Few people are going to stop for a moment and wonder what a world reknowned doctor's favorite drink or color is. They won't care what an Olympic athlete does in his or her free time. No, the popularity comes solely from their ability to do what others cannot, by being exceptionally good at their job (or being exceptionally good at promoting themselves).

People take on the status of the roles they serve or fulfill and become nothing else to us. They become objectified, they become un-people. They become replaceable parts in an organic machine. And they stay that way in our minds.

This approach becomes rather difficult to escape, even after having met a person and gotten to know some of the personal details of their life. If you befriend your mailman, you'll still refer to him as 'your mailman', not by his identity of an actual person, because other people (yourself included) need a frame of reference to remember him by. We're even possessive about it, calling him "my mailman, Ted" as though his life is to serve us. We'll refer to them either as "Ted, my mailman" or "my mailman, Ted", both of which are equally degrading to the life of a person as more than the job they perform, no matter the order in which the words are said.

Objectification is difficult to escape because it helps with memory and in observing patterns. It's hard to resist because it's useful. It's subtle. Objectification is the counter to intimacy, but they are not mutually exclusive - you can view a person as they are to you, in an intimate fashion, and you can also remove yourself from the equation and see the person independent of your own reaction to them, to see them as an interactive object, a part of the environment. There is no limit to this - you can see them subjectively or objectively regardless of whether you just met a person or have known them for years. "Ted" may always be your mailman, but he can perhaps become more than that if you take the time to find out details about him. His may be the advice or outlook on life that could shatter or change your own approach, to give you a new vantage point. Nature has created us uniquely, no matter how many similarities we might share. Simply do not limit yourself to classifying a person as only what they do - there is always more to the picture.

Because there is no word to describe the human existence.

From: damianguerra476
2006-05-01 05:17 am (UTC)
Objectification is the handmaid of Pure Reason, which seeks to reduce all affectation to fundamental categories. First, he's Ted. Then, he's a mailman. Then, he's a homo sapien. Then, he's an animal. Then, he's life. Then, he's a collection of atoms. Then, he's a substituent part of the universe. That is as objective as you can become, within reasonable limits.

Subjectification is the handmaid of Pure Experience, which seeks to reduce all formality to personal imagery.

The two processes are like differentiation and integration, or like phosphatases and kinases, working in a complex cascade.

Well-written post, John. I wish I could comment more, but I'm sleepy.
Also: I'm not sure yet, but I believe the ERA OF JOHN MALKOVICH might be coming to a close. Mr. Malkovich is turning out to be a bastard. And I'm sick of inhabiting his body. It stinks.
(Reply) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2006-05-04 08:57 pm (UTC)

the giggly one

Objectification, so necessary, so helpful and yes, it can be problematic. Explanation is what leads to a better understanding of life, along with experience. People desire to know and understand connections. You introduce a friend to a friend: Hi Julie, this is Jennifer, my friend from science class. This is how people meet people. If you say hi julie, this is jennifer. Julie will almost always ask the natural question of "How do you guys know each other?" It's part of the way the world works. It avoids confusion and builds similarities. People most of the time respect differences, but naturally bond over similarities. People naturally look for these similarities, because in general, people enjoy being around people similar to themselves. Research supports this. so objectification does serve a purpose. It prevents life from becoming chaos. Is it fair? Not in all cases. People are judged upon their jobs and looked down upon if they are not what society deems as a respectable career. All we can do is the best that we can do to see where other people are coming from. People will never have the exact same experiences or the exact same emotions. Yet, they can relate to similar feelings. Everyone has been sad at one pt. or another. Maybe not in an extreme way that is even comparable to someone who is depressed or just so much sadder. But the relation based upon the idea of pain or suffering is still there. Don't forget that. Use what you have to the best of your abilities and you can feel proud of yourself in most cases. Judgement is not fair, but it is necessary. All you can do is your best to judge as fairly as possible.
(Reply) (Thread)