Week 4 - Plastic Surgery by Esteban Torres

Week 4 - Esteban Torres

carverIt is interesting to try and understand human behavior and human reaction, not from the point of view of a person in our society, but as an outsider.  Society has so many strange things built into it, yet we criticize strange things that try to make their way in because we see them as unnatural.  But the fact is, so many things we do are already so unnatural, this can’t be the reason we are critiquing new methods.  The new methods, such as certain types of plastic surgery, are “un-societal.”  I believe that society gets things right sometimes, and gets things wrong sometimes. 

            We do things to change our appearance all the time.  Just today, I went to get a haircut.  Hair does not naturally cut itself.  Someone had to go in with scissors to cut it.  Yet it is completely normal for me to have gone to get my hair cut today.  I changed my appearance – whether or not it was a good change is hard to tell for me.  Anyway, I altered my body and changed my appearance.  The same goes when someone gets their ears pierced.  Or gets a tattoo.  Or decides to whiten their teeth.  Imagine telling someone at the beginning of the first millennium, that some people today pay to make their teeth more white…  Somewhere along the way, society decided that white teeth were more attractive than dark teeth.  But then again, I don’t think this decision was completely arbitrary and just a stupid decision made by brainless society.  Lighter teeth do seem to look better.  But have you ever seen someone whose teeth are way too bright?  It looks really bad.  And people acknowledge this.  I believe people do have a sort of innate sense of beauty, and the beauty that society praises, although it might not be spot on regarding a REAL beauty, it must be pretty close.  I don’t think that it is ALL teachings of society.  There are things that are not beautiful in this society and they would not be beautiful in any other society. 

            Back to the question of plastic surgery, which we spent a fair amount of time on during lecture.  It seems like it is just one more way of altering your body.  It almost seems that if a person criticizes plastic surgery, they should also criticize haircuts.  But when you think about this statement, something inside you tells you that these two are obviously not the same.  Yes, they are both alterations of the natural state, but they are different.  And here is where I think we should trust that natural reaction that we have.  It is kind of like the sort of “sentiment” that Hume spoke of.  I see the face of a woman that has had surgery to the point where she does not look human, and it is discomforting.  But of course, people should be allowed to change their physical appearance if they really want to, right?

            It seems like the answer should be YES.  You would think, well, it is just a shame that they focus so much on their aesthetics and not on other things that might be more important.  But you think that they can change their bodies if they want to; that they are unfortunate to have such obsessions with appearances.  This seems like a reasonable thing: Let each person do what they want with their bodies.

            But then I though, what if one person decided he wanted to get plastic surgery to make his face look like a horrifying monster.  He would simply be doing what he wants to his own body.  But if you think about it, he will be horrifying to a lot of people, to a lot of kids who live in his society.  If humans choose to belong to a society, which is the case pretty much most of the time, there are certain things they actually have to do to not disturb the society.  I don’t know about you, but if I decided the law, I would not allow a person to change his face into that of a monster.  It would hurt too many people round him or her.

1,057 Responses to “Week 4 - Plastic Surgery by Esteban Torres”

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  2. social issues…

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