Monday, December 15, 2008

The Stages of Desensitization

Very few things—good or bad—happen instantly in this world.

A baby must grow for nine months before it’s ready to live outside the mother’s womb. A dead tree takes several years to completely rot. A country is built into a world power in decades or even centuries—and decays over the same.

Desensitization is the same.

It doesn’t happen in a moment, but progresses over several stages. The progress can occur over a single story, but most of the time it results from a continuous bombardment of the same idea through a series of books and movies.

I’ve identified five successive stages (although earlier symptoms may show up simultaneously during later ones):

Rationalization—questioning the evilness of evil
Justification—“necessary” evil; the end justifies the means
Complacency—anything goes; there is no right or wrong
Snobbery—calling good evil and evil good
Gluttony—the craving for more and greater evil

This is, of course, only a snapshot of the five stages. So over the next few weeks, we’ll look at them in-depth.

No comments: