The chapter starts out by describing Virginia Woolf’s book Three Guineas and how men are the people who make war. She goes on to say how both women and men see something different when looking at a picture of war and agree it should be stopped. We know war can never be stopped permanently, but we can punish those who commit violations in war. These pictures create a consensus of shock among people and are directed at those who are privileged and safe enough to ignore war. War ruins, and we don’t hold this as a reality when it is. In her pictures of Spain, Woolf shows innocent civilians who were killed to show how war affects everyone. Many times both sides are guilty of this atrocity, and the photographs may create a response in people that either calls for peace or revenge.
War is ruin that is created by men, and war photographs are important for people to see in order to raise awareness of the atrocity of war and call for peace even when it may seem hopeless.
Everyone is drawn to violence and is inclined to look at it even when we know we shouldn’t. In order to explain why this happens, Plato describes how desire to look overwhelms our reason. With modern technology, it has become easier to see that we all look at violence because suffering creates something powerless that people think they can fix. Even though we look at violence, we cannot bear when those close to us are in pain. It creates a feeling of it happening too close to us rather than it being far away and easy to dismiss. Because of entertainment such as television and because of more wars, we have become more insensitive to violence. “Compassion is an unstable emotion” that needs to be used “or it withers” (pg. 101).
Everyone is inclined to look towards violence even when our reason tells us not to because we have a desire to look at something we don’t see everyday.
Human wickedness creates suffering “in the world we share with others,” and people who are shocked by this have “not reached moral or psychological adulthood” yet (pg. 114). No one should be protected against the knowledge of human wickedness because it creates a warning we often forget. Remembering the past has an ethical component, but history has created a scene where we don’t want to remember and cannot come to the conclusion of peace. Suffering around the world has reached more people through modern technology, and it is shown in order for people to pay attention to it. Whether watching from across the world or next to the violence, it is still only watching.
Watching violence is not wrong because many times we cannot change what is happening, but we should not forget the wickedness humans are capable of when we see this destruction happening around the world.