Sunday 14 June 2015

Objects or Sentient Beings?

This is not a raw raw raw! post, nor is it an anti-Snoop, anti-space exploration, or anti-media post.
I simply notice something odd and I think we might be getting things mixed up sometimes.  I mean, there are bajillions of sentient beings out there and a bajillion machines.  But no matter how many capitalist pigs say corporations are people, we know it'll never be true.  I listen to the news, perhaps too much at times, and this week alone has brought up this conundrum of perception.

Snoop Dog Lion :) was down east being interviewed by The Trailer Park boys, during which he actively marginalized the camera operator as though the entire point of her being there, was to be graded, marked, labeled like an object.  Stephanie Clattenburg was there to do her job.  That's all. She wasn't there applying for a role in one of Snoop's videos.  She wasn't there to get his autograph OR be complimented!  She was there to operate the camera.  But for Snoop, every woman is an object to be graded.  I don't dislike Snoop;  I dislike marginalizing misogyny.  He objectified this woman in such a way that I think even Bubbles looked more stunned than usual!

Fast forward to today.  I'm listening to CBC about some space thing they sent up a while ago.  I've learned it's called the Philae Lander.  It's a thing, an object, no heartbeat, no pulse, no frontal lobe giving it the ability to reason.  Yet the way the news anchor spoke about this 'thing' urged me to google it to see who this Philae person was!!!

I just had to try to formulate that thought, and here's another one:  I find more and more we identify people as something other than the multi-faceted individuals that we are.  We see people as their gender, their illness, their religion, their race, their skill-set, their work title.  We take one individual aspect of a person and we make them all about that.

A great example is Caitlyn Jenner, formerly Bruce Jenner.  Media has been labeling this individual as one aspect of their abilities for a long long time.  In their lifetime, this person has been:

1) an Olympic hero
2) the guy with the Kardashians
3) a transgender woman named Caitlyn.

Caitlyn is still an Olympic hero, and she's still that individual who's somehow married into the Kardashian pack, and now she's also transgender.  Caitlyn is all of these things and so many more! We give ourselves too little credit when we simply identify ourselves as one thing.

We are quantum, we are individuals living within the science of possibility.  Some of what we are is intangible.  Other parts are immeasurable.  While still some parts beg the existential question and cannot ever really be pinned down or identified.

For instance, I have depression.  So am I my depression?  Is that what I am?  It's how I see myself sometimes when I'm in it.  We do this to ourselves as well as to others.

A friend has MS.  So is she only her MS?  Or is she a woman, mother, sister, wife, friend who also has this disease?

Confusing times all around.  We have a woman with a beating heart being pared down to one word .... "thick" ... and we have a Robot on a meteor that appears to have a sentience that is spooky.

NASA Scientists tweeted out to the world this morning on behalf of the Philae Lander:

"Hello Earth!  Can you hear me?" ... and then ... "I'm awake.  How long have I been asleep?"

But even more odd to me, is one person's response to Philae's initial contact:

"loud and clear well done you are so clever."

So ... this week in the news we have a rapper treating a woman like an object, an Olympic hero squeezed into an acronym, and an object in space being spoken to and lauded like it's human.

That's just weird.

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