An Oblique Point of View III
Normally, in a conversation, we only see the person we are speaking to. If we’re wearing glasses, we will see the rims of our glasses and a blurred nose might take up some of the field of view, but otherwise all our focus is on the other person. Thus there is a massive difference between how we perceive ourselves and the other person. What would happen if changed our point of view so we saw both people the same way?
Would our empathy increase or maybe we would become extremely self-aware and we would have a hard time focusing on the conversation, similarly to when a mirror is placed behind the person we are talking to. In these #metoo-times, maybe a bit more self-awareness wouldn’t be such a bad thing?
Killing from Afar
In 2010, Wikileaks released a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad.
In the video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-sight, we can hear laughter and inappropriate talk.
The first murders were done with our bare hands, then with a sword, then a gun and now a drone. As the distance increases, the killer is safer and the victim is seen less as a threat. The empathy is reduced as the distance grows. Facial features are no longer disenable and wounds that we instinctively find disturbing becomes red blurs.
When the soldier controls the drone, he sees through a Godlike viewpoint. The natural solution to this would be to put him on the ground so he sees the details of the act. But what if he instead is used to this same viewpoint in other situations and not just in warfare? If he, five minutes before, had seen the coffee break meeting with the same Godlike viewpoint?
“Light ‘em all up. Come on, fire!”
“This Nescafe is really something!”