The Ick Factor
Many people have feelings toward objects. When I see beer cans, crack vials and used condoms in a playground, as has happened, I have a strong visceral response. It lowers my opinion of the neighborhood to say the least. This reaction, I don't think is unreasonable. It is relying on objects as the traces of likely events, sort of a poor man's CSI. Broken glass is an indicator that you should park your car somewhere else.
When I see a collection of old weapons, or Nazi paraphenalia, it doesn't disturb me. Some of it might interest me, but certain other folks might find it frightening. They won't want to touch it. I wonder, what does it represent to them? Do they consciously believe that the presense of such historical material indicates the imminence of danger? Are flags of the CSA indicators that whips and bloodhounds are close by? I have already mentioned my reaction to a modern, automatic weapon that my friend showed to me. Was my revulsion rational?Looking at the positive side, I remember that my brother had a favorite Teddy bear when he was a toddler. I don't think I did, although I was quite fond of him. I also remember being surprised once when he tripped over a stone ... and then came back and kicked the stone as if to exact some sort of revenge! Which of us is normal? My children show the same differences.
Professor Bruce Hood has been poking at the boundaries of superstition. He thinks that there are very few rationalists in this world. To prove it he offers to his students a chance to wear a sweater, washed and folded, formerly worn by someone else. He'll even give them 10 quid to do it. There are lots of volunteers until he tells them who the former owner was. For me, it made no difference, but then again I didn't know the name. I probably wouldn't wear the shirt at that price because I'd consider it beneath my dignity [ed: cantankerousness maybe], but I would have nothing against it in principle. I've been trying to think what criminal, or other person, might make me reluctant to wear a thoroughly laundered garment.
9/22/2006 5:25 PM