In Eating Animals, Jonathan Froer mentions hidden camera footage of slaughterhouses. They are the videos that we’ve seen and were sickened by or maybe made a conscious effort not to see. The ones with abuses and disgusting conditions and an appalling lack of humanity. In both choices, there is this tacit admission that something is wrong with what is happening and our role in it. And a process that backs people into that kind of corner is troubling.

This is a theme in philosophy and real self-awareness as well. To look at that things that make us disassociate. That prompt us to rationalize. Or more banally to not probe something uncomfortable.

It calls to mind a line in Meditations about never regarding a thing as doing you good if it makes you lose your sense of shame or, “desire to keep things behind closed doors.”

Better: a Spartan anecdote from Plutarch about King Hippocratidas when a youth and his lover met him accidentally in a crowd. The two had turned their faces away and he said “You ought to keep the company of the sort of people who won’t cause you to change color when observed”

Written by Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday is the bestselling author of Trust Me, I’m Lying, The Obstacle Is The Way, Ego Is The Enemy, and other books about marketing, culture, and the human condition. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared everywhere from the Columbia Journalism Review to Fast Company. His company, Brass Check, has advised companies such as Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as Grammy Award winning musicians and some of the biggest authors in the world. He lives in Austin, Texas.