As human beings, we believe that we have a dominance over the world upon us. In Heidegger’s The Question Concerning Technology, he discusses standing-reserves. “Thus when man, investigating, observing, ensnares nature as an area of his own conceiving, he has already been claimed by a way of revealing that challenges him to approach nature as an object of research, until even the object disappears into the objectlessness of standing-reserve” (Heidegger, 19). I interpret this as a reason we, humans, use the world and its nature for our own use, even if it is destroying things that should be treated with respect and taken care of. After all, what makes humans so superior?
I decided to jump into the issue of the cruelty and mistreatment of cows. “In the U.S., more than 29 million cows suffer and die in the meat and dairy industries every year. When still very young, many cows are branded (burned with hot irons), dehorned (their horns are gouged out or cut or burned off), and castrated (male cattle have their testicles ripped out of their scrotums)—all without painkillers” (PETA). Not only are these cows being abused, but also traumatized. Some may argue, “well they are just animals”. Why do we, as humans, not see that they have feelings, emotions, and feel pain like the rest of us? “Once they have grown large enough, cows raised for beef are sent to massive, filthy outdoor feedlots, where they are fattened for slaughter. Cows on dairy farms are repeatedly artificially impregnated (in order to keep their milk flowing) and then traumatically separated from their newborn calves until finally their bodies wear out and they are sent to be killed, too” (PETA). Why do we hurt another living, breathing being within nature for our own benefits?
Why can’t we cut back on the consumption, or at least push these farmers/industries to form a less cruel approach to the slaughter? Do humans really need steaks, hamburger, and milk to live? These days, people are starting to live a lifestyle of veganism and being vegetarian. Though, this is not the only answer to this problem. There are alternatives to big industry farming, such as local farms, which can often be found in farmers markets in rural areas.
The reflection of standing-reserve on this topic can be interpreted by realizing that we are using our power over animals, and not just cows. We use our (what is believed to be) domination in nature and destroying it for our own benefit. This is a good medium for the reflection of standing-reserve, because whether you care or not about these animals or what they are being put through, it shows that we, as humans, are using other beings as a standing-reserve, to be looked upon as a challenge and “objects of research”.
The Question Concerning Technology, Martin Heidegger