Friday, December 23

Sentiments on Sentimentality

The valuing of emotions over reality.  Sentimentality is widely considered out of touch, weak.  Very often, those who express concern about (or even an interest in) the conditions in which famed animals are raised are disregarded as sentimentalists.  But it's worth taking a step back to ask who is the sentimentalist and who is the realist. 

Is caring to know about the treatment of farmed animals a confrontation with the facts about the animals and ourselves or an avoidance of them?  Is arguing that a sentiment of compassion should be given greater value than a cheaper burger (or having a burger at all) an expression of emotion and impulse or an engagement with reality and out moral intuitions?

Two friends are ordering lunch.  One says, "I'm in the mood for a burger," and orders it.  The other says, "I'm in the mood for a burger," but remembers that there are things more important to him than what he is in the mood for at any given moment, and orders something else.  Who is the sentimentalist?

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, 2009.

This is a segment from his "Words/Meanings" section.  I've read it three times over.  The first time I had an epiphany.  The second time I didn't understand it.  The third time I discovered that it made a lot of sense.  It takes some thinking to comprehend the point that he's taking, but once you pay attention to the words and thoughts he's expressing, you realise that the point he makes is completely mind-blowing!  Has it hit you?  It does take a while.  Some re-reading. 

I don't know exactly why I found this so interesting, but I think the fact that he caused me to think outside of a preconcieved box makes reading like this exciting. 

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