Sadism, Sexism, Altriusm, and Justice

What different words: sadism, sexism, altruism, and justice. The only thing I feel these words have in common is mankind’s ability to embrace them. While a lot of the readings in the anthology offer polarized views of human tendency towards good, or evil traits, I feel that our consciences are more complex. In this DB I hope to offer my views on our capabilities to experience a wide variety of tendencies, both good and bad.


Does man have a tendency towards inflicting pain? I like to think not, but the despicable actions of several people make the topic questionable. We can look at the actions of man throughout history to see such injustice. The slaughtering of American bison, the tortures of Vlad the Impaler, the Stanford prisoner studies …I could make an endless list of historical situations in which peer pressure brings out “the worse in people.” In the case of the Stanford experiment, “One third of guards exhibited sadistic behavior” (Sadism Website). Peer pressure…I like to think this is the reason people can diverge from their naturally good-hearted tendencies.  In the case of animals, when one ignores “in a number of animals we observe gentleness and fierceness, mildness or cross-temper, courage or timidity, fear or confidece, high spirits or low cunning, and, with regard to intelligence, something akin to sagacity,” (Anthology 412) the rest follow. By blotting out the human like qualities in animals, we silence our conscience and allow ourselves to inflict pain.

Whether our own species or another, some seem to enjoy inflicting pain.













Sexism and Speceism

I hadn’t really thought of this comparison until I read the Joan Dunayer’s piece, “Sexist Words, Speciesist Roots.” Because “man divides all beings into two contrasting categories” (Anthology 393), there is always room for man to put himself above others. In this sense I mean “man” as “male,” not mankind. There is no doubt that man has historically asserted himself superior over woman and animal alike. I specifically agree with the idea that, “speceism is even more deeply entrenched within us than sexism…” (Anthology 378). Animal cruelty is well hidden, and animals do not have the ability to communicate their pains as well as woman can. When it comes to speceism ,”in organized disavowal of this torture, voices are raised-minority, weak, marginal voices, little assured of their discourse, of their right to discourse and of the enactment of their discourse within the law…” (Anthology 405). Regardless we can definitely point to our mistreatment of women and use it as a tool to avoid speciesism. We can use the degradation of our own species through sexism as a warning. Power leads to more power, and unchecked power leads to subservience, and subservience leads to suffering.

We have already seen some of these scenes, but the director of Earthling’s discusses speciesism in this interview:


I really have faith that altruism is a natural habit for humanity. Acts of goodness and altruism are too often overshadowed. Unlike Costello, I feel that evil is nothing but humanity’s suppression of naturally good forces that exist within all of us. Let us work to embrace emotional intelligence and ultimately justice. If we put behind our own wants to embrace the needs of others, there is only room for good.

Published in: on November 19, 2009 at 3:52 am  Leave a Comment  

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