Saturday, May 30, 2009

He was a good squirrel

Today, I was driving down 28, and a small squirrel ran into my path. Usually, when birds or the occasional tiny mammal does this, I slow down as much as is not dangerous, and honk the horn to hurry it up. But I was going 45, and this little guy ran out at just the wrong time. He stopped, looke up at me, baffled, and just kept looking. It was like he knew he was going to die and was looking to me as some supreme god to show him mercy. I decided his fate. I only had enough time to let out a sharp gasp and try to move the wheels enough so he was between them, and not so much as to go into the next lane of traffic. However, I guess when under the car he panicked, or maybe my perception of where my wheels are was wrong, but I heard a horrible thud and had to pull over. I guess people do this all the time, but apart from insects, and maybe fish, I can't say I've ever been directly responsible for the death of another living thing. Plus, squirrels are so human-like. I think we find human qualities in them adorable because it appears to be this cute fuzzy thing imitating its human superiors. But in actuality, the similar behaivor we have is most likely instinctive stuff that all mammals do, and we just have big egos. I'm not sure if that idea is going to make sense to other people, I'm kind of tired.
Anyways, I was pretty close to tears. I guess with television and the constant barrage of gore, I've sort of taken for granted how serious killing something is. I mean, it didn't even have a name.

Something I constantly wonder about is if people are born with a certain personality and set of morals etc., or if it is a product of our society and the way we were raised. Nature vs. nurture. My advisor was telling me about a study in which a bunch of high school students were shown images while scientists monitored their brain activity. Some of the kids' pleasure receptors went off when they saw images of people beating other people, violent acts, or pictures of people suffering (not quite sure how one would photograph that). That means though, that it is so far down into these kids nerves that they like seeing others hurt. Is that just a product of society? I don't know much about the human brain (though I guess not everything is known about it anyways) but it seems doubtful that nerve reactions could be created as a result of someone's upbringing. I guess people with really negative experiences to certain objects or foods or people could get a memory trigger that would do something similar (along the lines of a contact high, but the opposite).

I'm too tired to produce something more.

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