Monday, January 21, 2008


In Everyone's life there are things that make you say yuck. Be it really gooey, sticky, slimy textures with yellow chunks within, or a brow and upside down cockroach, your stomach occasionally gets a good roll.

But why those things? Who was it that decided that sticking your hand down the sink drain to unblock clogs is gross? I mean, not to put down those undesirable feelings. I mean, even though they may seem irrational, don't think that I am not scared of Lizards...especially accidentally stepping on and smushing them...

I suppose smushed lizards falls into the slimy icky category, but why are these things gross to us?

An evolutionary response?
Is it related to irrational fears? (is it a fear?)
I don't have a good answer to this one.


Avi said...

i am obviously no philosopher/psychologist (despite my foremost desires), yet I'll attempt an answer (nice website by the way).
I believe it's a conditioned Pavlovian response. I don't believe that these things are innately 'gross,' rather it is a construction of human behavior. Its not quite evolutionary, but a learned response. When we are born, we have no ideas about beautiful or ugly; these ideas are all embedded in us from society, i.e. what's beautiful is good. Now, as to what constitutes beauty, this is also very much instilled in us by society, though as we grow older we may formulate our own ideas of beauty, but still, these ideas are not innate. As was discussed today on my first day of a philosophy class in regards to langauge, there are not many things which have meaning out of context. I believe this is one of those things. The smushed lizard by itself has no meaning; it is only in the context of our society's paradigm of gross or beauty or good and bad that it makes a difference.

Am I making any sense?

H said...

Well that would make sense considering smushed cockroaches is a delicacy in some countries...
Yet why cockroaches, and slimy things?
Was it just some original person who started this society's paradigm of gross?
Was it a group of people? Who did they learn it from?
Why is silly putty so popular?! Its slimy and sticky (and brown or Green)?

the real question is...Am I making any sense?

scarecrowsmyfriend said...

Lizzards, hhhmmmm, I seem to remember a certain iguana in the yard.............

scarecrowsmyfriend said...

cont.... but I have to agree with Avi, I think it is totally a Pavlovian response. I have two parents how ran from a Roach, so, I now do also. Not so much the same with lizzards. I think the same hold true of religious and political beliefs. In a sense, we are a product of our environment. IMHO