Arjun Yadav's Webpage

What's Wrong With Objectifying?


I used AI cross-species translator app to chat with one of my dog friend. Apparently he is not happy that I am objectifying him as a source of happiness. The dog protests that he is more than just a depression treatment. You might be thinking what nonsense I am talking about but wait I will explain you everything. So there is this dog which lives in my street, he is my neighbour. If you ask him, he will probably say that I am his neighbor. Although he doesn't have a house like mine, he is not jealous of me. Moreover, as far as I know he does not even own any roof on his name as per government records. Still, interestingly this gentleman has never stepped in a foot into my house without my permission. It's only when I nod him with a 'yes' he enters my house with a nervous posture. Even afraid to touch or smell things. Seems like he fears that he might break something mistakenly and then I will punish him. Interesting, isn't it? a wild animal respecting private property! contrary to this gentleman I invade his household multiple times a day without even alerting him. My man is mostly in his street (his house) doing his chores and people move like they own his house. This reminds me how the concept of private property is not 100% prevalent in humans. I remember one old BBC documentary where they were showing how the Indian government was trying to create modern society on some island where there was a tribe was already living. That video showed this one instance which changed my concept of private property and humans. In that video there were some buildings which were made for Indian government officials. Those house included all the expected amenities such as fruits, fridge, bed etc. into it. This all was unseen by those tribesman before. Their desire to consume such amenities lead to many theft cases on that island. The video showcases on one instance the tribesman entered the house of a government official. He just walked in. Swiftly. He didn't even thought for even a single moment before trespassing. For the savage, trespassing, seemingly wasn't even a thing. For him, I assume, the house of that government official was a part of that jungle i.e the house and jungle are not two but the same thing. To him walking in the jungle, plucking fruits from trees and consuming them is akin to entering someone's house, opening fridge to grab some fruit and eat them. There is no distinction between the two. As for the savage the jungle and house are one and the same thing. He must be believing that he can walk freely into someone's house unless stopped by the laws of nature. What exactly strikes me is how distinct it is from the ideology performed by my neighbour dog. This gentleman dog respects the boundary of my house. Sometimes the instances like these make me realize that these beasts of the nature acknowledges the concept of private property more than that of some humans. We humans boast about our private property laws and stuff but if we in actuality respected the concept of private property there would have been no case of theft. I can leave my gate unlocked and still be sure that the beast living in my street won't enter my house and create chaos or steal food from my fridge. But can I trust even my locked house with proximity of a human?

Anyways, coming back to the topic. Since I was a kid, I always wanted to talk with dogs. But there was a small problem language barrier. A small problem indeed because the bigger problem is already solved i.e the desire to talk. Humans and dogs do come close, they play together. There is for sure a desire to communicate. But there is no means in the form of language. Gone are those days! Recently I got to know about this AI driven cross-species translator app which allows humans to communicate with dogs. The app is quite easy to use as well. You just have to record in your language and then that app converts human language into dog-bark language. No I am not speaking nonsense. This is a real app. If Gaydar can be real then why can't this app be? You don't believe me? then prove this video wrong where a man makes a deal with the dog that in exchange of biscuit the dog won't bark on the man. You might choose to believe or not believe this video but the fact is I used the app to talk with my neighbour dog. I opened the app and said 'Hi' to him. Surprisingly enough, he didn't reply my 'hi' with his 'hi'. I realised that something is strange because a hi should be one 'woff' but it was instead many 'woff' something like "woff woff woff woff so on and so forth". Hence, instead of his 'hi' for my 'hi' he made a complaint to me: "Listen brother" the app barked...I mean translated his bark "it would be nice if you stopped treating me like an object" object? what? and then he continued his bark "You visit me almost everyday. However, the way you think of me and treat me is not right. You come to me. You pet me. for what? you do that to be happy. And only that. You see me as a depression treatment. And only that. As if I am nothing more than that. But that is highly flawed idea. Yes, I am more than just that, I am a friend of someone, father of someone, I enjoy running after cars and bark for no reason or what so ever. So when you see me only as a depression treatment it means objectifying me. And I don't particularly enjoy being objectified in such a way."

When I heard that, I got bit pushed by those words. I do get his pain. But I told myself that his argument seems to be somewhat flawed. I clicked on 'speak now' button on the phone and tried to reply him. But I couldn't. I didn't want to hurt him. So I later thought about it myself instead of answering him right there. He said that I see him as an object, and somehow that's bad. But isn't everything external to me an object? The word object by the definition means something which exists outside me, as I am only subject to myself. So seeing that dog as an object or objectifying him as a cure for depression is not entirely wrong. Historically speaking, objectifying dogs as a source of companionship must have been the primary reason why a ferocious beast such a wolf got converted into a loyal, friendly, tail wagging ball.

But yes I should give him a benefit of doubt. He is right in the sense that there is lot which goes in his life. Which I as his neighbour do not think much about. Yes I do like when he comes next to me wagging his beautiful furry brown tail. But yes, of course he is more than just that. A father, a friend, an individual who has to struggle in order to live. Well indeed if even that dog can respect my private property and can acknowledge that there is lot which goes in my life than just petting him then why can't I think same for him?