Monday, June 1, 2015

Temple Grandin's "Thinking Like Animals"

In "Thinking Like Animals," Temple Grandin presents the argument that her autism has allowed  her to be able to see into the minds of animals as if she were one of them. She elaborates by explaining "My life as a person with autism is like bring another species: part human and part animal.  Autistic emotion may be more like an animal's. [...] My emotions are simple and straight-forward like an animal's, my emotions are not deep-seated. They may be intense while I am experiencing them but they will subside like an afternoon storm." Her unique perspective on animals and fear has allowed her to redesign the meat factory industry by revolutionizing the chute system for handling cattle in slaughter plants. Grandin's chute systems are designed to minimize fear and pain for the cattle, which was understandably greeted with praise. What I find interesting about this piece is Grandin directly compares herself to the cattle that are being killed. She essentially designs her own death. Grandin even states in this piece "I had to look my own mortality straight in the eye."

In this 2011 interview with Temple Grandin, she states that today's values/morals have shifted from helping others to helping oneself. I think it's interesting that as a society, we have developed a very dog-eat-dog kind of system that is mostly focused on individuals instead of the community as a whole down to even livestock. What does everyone else think?

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