August 14, 2012

Logic Lessons: What Do You See, Feel and Think?

A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal,
But even the compassion of the wicked is cruel.
Proverbs 12.10 NASB

This picture was circulating on Facebook and has upset quite a few people. There are over 30,000 comments on the main photo and 176,000 "shares". No idea how many total with all of the comments on the shared versions. I saw several comments where people wanted to personally harm and even kill the man in the picture. I'm warning you, it is upsetting to animal lovers. Be sure to read this all the way through.

Click for Larger; Picture is viral, original source not found.
From your initial glance, what do you feel? Outrage? A desire to hurt the guy? Sorry for the puppy?

Now, what do you see? A fellow forcing a puppy to drink vodka? Animal abuse?

In addition to the rage that was expressed, some interesting comments and observations were made. There is considerable argument about whether or not the cap is on the bottle in the first place. Others suggested that the bottle was tipped away from the camera so that the neck was not even in the dog's mouth. Also, there is no sign that there is any pouring happening because you can see the bubble in the bottom of the bottle, and no motion in the neck and sides of the bottle. We do not see liquid running out of the dog's mouth and onto the floor.

We also do not know that the clear liquid in the bottle is vodka — it could have been refilled with water.

While the puppy does show discomfort, it may not be forced to drink vodka or anything else.

My point is that emotions are easily fired up into overdrive. In this case, we have "filled in the blanks" in our minds. But in reality, we do not have all the facts. People get emotional and react without thinking. Especially when there is a hot button issue involved.

On a related note, something came to my attention while this article was in process. A homosexual man was a victim celebrity. His bruised face was in the news, as was his claim that he was a victim of "gay bashing". While such a thing does happen and it's wrong, this guy flat-out lied about it. He failed to do a back flip, messed up his face, claimed to be a victim, then was caught in his lie.

Consider this (the hint of the century): People love to believe negative things. Ponder that for a while and I think you'll agree. (For that matter, my own haters detest admitting that I'm right about anything, even things they agree with. But give them something to complain about, and yeeeeee haw, they're fussing up a storm.) Negativity sells. How many good things are on the evening news?

Did you notice that this is typed in an angry shade of red? I'm trying to make some points here, people! In several posts, I have attempted to show that wording can provoke our emotions as well. This one is about visuals.

Think before believing and reacting. Especially in this manipulative political season. Did we have our emotions manipulated by the picture? It is a distinct possibility. More likely, it was our own imaginations reacting without full knowledge of the circumstances. Was it an instance of animal abuse? Nope! The cap was on the bottle, and no animal abuse happened!

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