Seeing humanity at different angle
A scene in the science fiction movie “Blade Runner” shows an android holding a white dove, generously sparing the life of a bounty hunter who killed many of his friends. This particular scene makes us wonder about “just what is humanity?” by showing a figure that is not human, but fitting the traits we relate to humanity even more than the actual human in the scene. We do not have to look into science fiction movies to confront this question. We can find it lurking around us, in our daily lives.
In biological terms, the words “superior” or “inferior” do not hold much meaning because most organisms are evolved to fit the environment in which they live. However, in our society, people are using these words as an excuse to use nature as our instrument. Supported by the excuse that animals or any other beings in nature are inferior compared to humans, humans have tortured the nature and used the dead bodies of other organisms as the basis on which we built the world we are living in today.
Then, thrusting out the results, humans are proudly saying that this is proof that humans are superior to other beings. The great contradiction in this is that, all the results we have gained from development are practically based on barbaric brutality, making us wonder if everything we believed in humanity has just been a great lie.
Humans approach animals and all parts of nature surrounding them with violence and greed, considering other beings as objects that can be used freely without guilt. We are surrounded by the results of such brutality. Much of the furniture we use is made of wood, cut without reconsideration. Most of the medicines and cosmetics we use are tested on animals, with unnecessary brutality even when animal testing does not give satisfactory results.
The worst thing is that this human contradiction is not only put to use on nature, but also on other humans who are considered “different” or “inferior” in society. In history, we can see many examples of slavery or brutal massacres, and even today, we can see discrimination against people with different skin colors, against the poor, or even against women even when all of them are human. This act of drawing lines even among people of the same race has always been a problem, preventing people from forming one society as a whole. It also gives us proof that the humanity we know is contradictory even by meaning.
The word often used to represent kindness toward others can become the symbol of great brutality and violence when seen from a different angle. Humanity is incapable of accepting things that are different, and often translates “difference” into “inferiority.” This tendency has caused many problems, such as brutality against other parts of nature that we are living in today, and discrimination against “different” people. Today, as new values that put importance on fairness and coexistence come into society, these problems have slightly decreased.
However, they still exist and take up a place in almost every person's unconscious mind, often resurfacing and causing visible social problems. Even so, there is not much time to worry about things that we have already done. It is time we should worry about something that we are capable of doing. We are becoming technologically advanced more quickly than before, and this development will bring about large ethical problems that we will have to handle.
Entwined with unfinished problems that already exist in our society, these new and more complicated problems will cause great confusion. When problems such as human cloning surface, we should remember that difference is not inferiority and that even believing in the fact that humans have rights over the lives of other beings is a contradiction. If we try to live up to the meaning of the word humanity instead of doing everything to cancel out that meaning, the world we live in will become a much better place.
Goo Bo-mi is a senior studying at Dogok Middle School in southern Seoul.