The following excerpt is from an essay I wrote during the spring of my senior year in my College Social Science Seminar, a course that shared many similarities and coinciding texts. This essay asked to take a stance on the use of torture and to reinforce this stance with philosophical readings. I incorporated both Plato and John Locke. I believed this essay worked with the theme of human error and its impact on what should otherwise be black and white topics. I bolded the particularly poignant parts that resonated most with me after the readings in this course, in addition to several edits I made.Untitled-document
Torture exploits one of the few human commonalities, and that is the feeling of psychological pain. In terms of Professor Tamura’s unit about the human body, and what it means to have shared features, to inflict physical pain on another is to distance yourself from your own. Our common body comes with intrinsic empathetic capabilities, so when we are able to ignore this empathy, we block out the commonality that is the human body. In doing so, we become less human, as we detach ourselves from the common body that denotes a human experience. As a result, we surrender a crucial aspect of what it means to be human, and that is relating our experiences to others’.
I decided also that torture requires one to renounce their core identity of being human in favor of who claims them. Concepts like the greater good, for one’s country, or a higher entity are used to rationalize these acts, and so I’ve found that our aspects of our identity can overshadow and overpower one another, and not always for the best.