I had an idea yesterday when scrambling to make sure I didn’t lose any Mexican jumping beans from a bag I spilled. I was concerned about their safety even more than my future ability to hassle these clicking owl-heads. And lord knows I like to hassle those who can’t fight back! (just ask my baby half-brother, mwa-ha-ha)
Here’s the idea: in I, Robot, there was talk about how some little girl was treating ill her robot. She told him to do all sorts of things without considering the bot’s robo-feelings. Though there were no direct ill consequences of this (the robots are programmed to enjoy this!), the idea was that she would learn to treat other humans the same way. So, what’s the consequence of us treating objects as mere objects?
Traditional cultures had/have a worldview in which everything is alive and in which other animals are our (humanity’s) brothers and sisters. Even things that weren’t strictly living had spirits (like rocks, rivers, etc.) Is our seeing of this as all false inadvertently making us just a little less civil, a little more cold in our dealings with other people?