Thoughts and Questions about Lecture
What I found most compelling about this lecture was the question of the
relationship between technology and death. Technologized death,
(i.e. airplane bombings, atom bombs, guided missles, machine guns
but also events such as car crashes)
have fundamentally altered the experience of death in the 20th century.
However, what happens when
technology is not the agent of death,
but rather begins to represent death and dying? Does the medium of
film, television, or say, the internet, necessarily distance us
from our own bodily processes and if so, how?
Do these technologies entail a desensitizing to death because
they overload us with images rather than a "direct" experience of mortality?
If so this raises an interesting question: namely, why do images
seem to, on the one hand desensitize us and on the other hand
horrify us more than other media,
such as text, radio etc...?
Also, as Wendy pointed out, don't these same technologies seem to give
us a greater "connectivity" and a social experience of death? It seems
that events like Hiroshima become more powerful because images can be
quickly and universally disseminated, allowing the horror of the events
to unite people across national and linguistic boundaries.
Remeber also that the victims of Hiroshima (see left) left shadows imprinted on
the walls and streets of the city for much the same reason that
I think what I am getting at is the question of the
political responsibility involved in mourning at the collective
scale when confronted by images
of death in Palestine, New York, Japan, South Africa, or any other country.
Do these technologies allow us to gain a broader worldview and enable
us to suffer and mourn with others or do they desensitize us to the
situation of others and keep us from direct contact with death as well as
the socio-political institutions that perpetuate it. Does it become
normal, almost comfortable, even abstract?
Granted, this exploration
is a long way off by now from what we covered in class,
but it's what I got inspired to think about based on lecture.