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How to be a great landlord

For the past few weeks I have been reflecting on the concepts in a few different pieces of writing. “Hiroshima” by John Berger, “Consider the Lobster” by David Foster Wallace and “The Pleasure of Flinching” all have very unique takes on what I recognize as being a central theme to the works. Initially, I was introduced to the ideas in question when reading the compelling arguments made by Berger. I began to get a sense of what the author wanted the reader to feel in regards to the subject matter, (the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki) as well as what the underlying tension and conflict was: how humans react to the suffering of others. *describe hiroshima* Some people choose to avert their eyes while some choose to justify actions both past and present in an attempt to make sense of how cruel and unforgiving the world can appear to be. Reading this piece of work made me question our sense of morality and wonder what it is that makes us draw into ourselves and seemingly ignore the perils of others. The primary text was full of heart wrenching evidence and stories and brought to light the horrors of the event that many people have shoved under the rug out of guilt, out of indifference perhaps, and out of a shaky sense of self-righteousness. This essay really forced me to confront the ideas, however unpleasant, that Berger was presenting in his arguments and created a lively discussion with other members of the class who had read the text and had differing ideas on what implications it held. Then, I connected “Hiroshima” to a text I worked with last semester which almost immediately came to mind as I was reading. “Consider the Lobster” by David Foster Wallace is also an insightful look into the human psyche in regards to how we deal with moral dilemmas. *describe consider the lobster* Although “Consider the Lobster” deals with subject matter that does not hold the same emotional weightiness for many people, the central concept behind this and “hiroshima” is the same: If we know something is wrong, what tactics does our subconscious employ to emotionally protect us and allow us to continue? In Wallace’s piece he argues that the most common way in which we deal with a moral dilemma, in this case the idea of eating lobster though we know the animal was boiled alive and suffered, is to try and focus on something else or justify the actions we take. We go so far as to create incredulous ideas about how these animals don’t have feelings or sensory organs when it is evident that the animals do. The concept that our actions and words do not match up with our conscience's judgements is known as “cognitive dissonance” and I have found this term to apply to the texts in question. Where the style of the authors differs is in their level of criticism of society. It seems as though the amount importance the author places on the humans folly and shortcomings is in direct relation to the value that society would place on the issues in question. For example, the slaughtering of lobsters is a lot less likely to appeal to the ethos of a reader while most everyone can relate to the death of humans. In this way, John Berger, author of “Hiroshima” could not afford to be as casual as David Foster Wallace in his views on how as humans we enable these atrocities to occur because we are so concerned with our own self preservation that we look away for fear of confronting the truth.