Aspects of an ecocentric sociology: Ressources; Cultures, Empathy, Borders

social_destructivity_1a

The social destructivity exerted by our ‘humanity’ towards ‘animality’ (and all nonhuman life) is the fundamental ethical problem, not the question of indirect damages caused to “our” ressources and interests by this destructive behaviour.

Gruppe Messel, Tierautonomie / Animal Autonomy

ethical_lifestyles_and_cultures_1a

Veganism is really ‘one expression for a holistically ethical lifestyle’, cultural histories give us indications and clues about the histories of such.
Seeing it from this point of view gets us more into ethical pluralities and deeper layers of non-anthropocentric thought.

Gruppe Messel, Tierautonomie / Animal Autonomy

What is EMPATHY? We are rather in a constant process of learning from each other, a failed or active information exchange. There is no constant positive affirmation, even in doubt we learn. We can’t chose – we learn something from one another. All existence does.

Which threshholds do what kind of societal groups not like to cross and be CROSSED by others?
And are different parameters for discussing angles of problems recognized or do perspectives have to be narrowish to seem intelligeble I wonder. #ecosociologies

Inhibiting normalcies within activism

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Activism as a practical focus

  • on the marketing of ready made vegan products
    plus
  • vegan cooking
    plus
  • ones public physical self-presentation as a vegan example

seems to take quite a space in the iconography created by some vegans. It transports a consumerist image to me.

This seems to vary though with current cultural habits, normalcies and practices, as in some places the focus tends to be more on helping and supporting nonhumans and human individuals/groups as a form of visible, political and standardly represented plant-powered activism – such as generally in Turkey and Brazil for instance and in the Black vegan movement and the VegansofColor movement in the US.

In general also I observe the obsession with photographing oneself in public at activist events or activivism-related opportunities. This in itself seems to count as a proven and valid form of expected social integration and a trustworthy marker of activist efficacy. This also requires that you are able-bodied and don’t suffer from any social phobia, it also requires you to accept social patterns of the peer group dynamics you are partaking in.

The problem is about the norms that are created and upheld (…) even with a broader, informed knowledge. Such norms create spaces of social divergence for those who decide to communicate differenlty, also by chosing other forms of expressing their basic political positions.

Image … of a Bestia obscura, by Farangis.de.

Nonhuman-inclusive

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Nonhuman-inslusive

The term ‘veganism’ describes the ethical and practical exclusion of any animal- and animal derived product or animal-involving procedures/exploitation utilized to serve human interests. It does not say or indicate yet how nonhuman animals should be implied actively into any framework that implies humans/human societies, as a solution to the existent predominant catastrophic human-animal relation. How nonhumans can and should be included and reached out for, be addressed, implied constructively in a way that confronts the ‘animal question’ with due justice, in n toher words: the state of positively dwelling together is not so much and only indirectly put forward.*

Similalry ther term ‘speciesism’ describes the condition of ethical exclusion, now on a basically sociological level. It describes foremostly the biological categorisation yet inasmuch also other forms of categorization – such as religion, philosophical, scientific, etc. – of arbitrary derogative barriers set up by humans/’human cultures and civilization’ towards nonhuman animals.

We thought now to express the direct inclusionary level by a simple term which can be used practically and applied as a scheme to test any settings, condition … to check any given situative constellation for its nonhuman-inclusiveness!

This is about expressing an idea:

For checking anything for its nonhuman-inclusiveness you logically have to open up perspectivcs of how your view of nonhumans can be reasonable and ethically complete, appreciative and open-minded.

You can thus explicitly create, observe, discuss, design, conceptualize each and every aspect of human life in a nonhuman-inclusive approach.

Sounds perhaps too practical and maybe this seems to short a description of our idea, but we find it a helpful angle in our activities.

It should be added that our nonhuman-inclusive approach can be extended into a nonhuman-considerate direction where a seeming absence of nonhumans can be affirmative of nonhuman interests also indirectly, by a decided avoidance of promoting human concepts which openly or subtly suppress nonhumanity and nonhuman animals, but this will be discussed in a seperate, later post.

* This becomes clear e.g. in veganic projects, which 100 percent represent the vegan idea, yet exclude the question of animal life in a proactive form. Veganic projects don’t imply space for nonhuman animals to be involved in a just yet existentially directly present way.

Being radical antispe …

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A very rough expression of a feeling in regards to radical antispeciesism facing a conflict of being stuck in the middle of biologistic ‘animal lovers’ and nonhumanity-oblivious social justice clusters … :

If social justice work categorically excludes animal bodies, it’s questionable to my point of view. Saying this I don’t mean the type of implication that bases on “mild” speciesist, biologistic views of animality.

I come myself from a ‘mixed’race’ background and I have grown up in a country where you would face exclusion if you did not fit into the right image of the virtual “false-ethicity-person” and the right klischee going along with that. It’s not like all foreigners or poc or mixed-race individuals were equally accepted or discrimnated against. Much was and is dependent on the social function society ascribes you to take in the place you live.

Seeing a lot of people who come from socially comparable backgrounds such as mine working rightly for social justice, I wonder why the majority misses out on antispeciesist intersectionality though? To my point of view social justice can’t just evade questions of how concepts about animality and nature have been constructed in our societies. How can social justice turn an oblivious eye on zoocide and ecocide, when exactly those are facts that result from the very same foundations on which other oppressive systems thrived, and when those facts are taking place are all around us?

I believe that justice for humanity can hardly base on the oppressive constructs of animality and nature anymore, without being prolonged types of injustice.

Gender and animal sociology, snippets

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Genderroles, animal sociology and „instincts“
We want to liberate from gender roles for human parenting, yet we assume that nh-animals only lapsed with seahorses, earthworms, kiwis, etc. and their genders and procreational evolution.
What exactly are “motherly instincts”, and what are “fatherly instincts”? Do we even see fathers in the prisoned life nh-animals are stuck in by us? How do we know what would be the typical behaviour for nh-animal families and their social networks in their own chosen contexts?

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Defining Nonhumans as ‘INSTICNTUAL’ is species-derogative and biologistic …
Please quit reducing nonhuman motherhood to “maternal instincts”.

interfaces
Instead of shrinking everything about nonhuman animals to “instinctuality”: I can represent nonhumans by discarding speciesist ascriptions, and frame them with liberated / autonomous perspectives, as mutual interfaces.

Antispeciesism is not necessarily what speciesism isn’t

antispe_and_speciesism

People who consider themselves to be antispeciesists mostly don’t see or don’t want to discuss the links between: ecocide, genocide and zoocide. The term and notion of a zoocide does not even exist for most in that correlation in their terminology. Many still hold the same assumptions about animality that base on ethical histories and theories within philosophy, religion, natural sciences that are the very cause of speciesism. Loving nonhuman animals at the same time as quoting biologist data for instance and instead of coining own liberated terms,
antispeciesism today does not equal consistent antispeciesist thought so far. It helps with the symptoms but harms at the same time, by cementing nonhumans into a slippery slope concept of freedom and dignity pushed upon them.

Rights claimed only go as far as theories about nonhuman animals are compatible with it. Not breaking with the power of human definition, antispeciesism today misses to acknowledge that nonhuman animals are oppressed in the first place in their very own qualities of who they are, in their identities independent of humancentric frameworks. And that happens parallel to them being bereft of their physical freedom and integrity, parallel to being tortured and murdered and physically objectified to a human will to cause them the ultimate pain … .

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Outside looks on cultures of nonhuman animality

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Confining animality
(the actual ‘being-an-animal’)
into biology-centered frameworks
still poses an unsolved problem
within AR.

Gruppe Messel / Tierautonomie /Animal Autonomy

How does someone view other animals:

Changing the images society and people have constructed in their thinking and in their outlooks about animality takes more than our vegan lifestyle, more than campaigning for final goals. It needs that we straightforwardly postulate (emancipation!) different viewpoints, different angles of viewing the world’s animal individuals, their socio-ecological contexts, and their cultures in the given oppressive contexts.

From a biology-centered viewpoint people/society want to assume that nonhuman animals don’t decide, don’t think, don’t reason, don’t experience oppression in contexts of their evolutionary cultures. A biology-centered viewpoint compares animality with humanity and pinpoints certain physical functions as markers for the ability to ‘reason/think’. Philosophy again constructs a notion of borders within reasoning around the human self or certain human selves.

It takes more than animal liberation on the physical level to change and widen the perspectives on human-nonhuman conflicts, quite obviously. Saying this, nonhuman animality isn’t solely a recipient of oppression exerted by human beings in their cultures; in contrast I believe that the human forms of oppressing nonhuman animality has a lot to do with the agency of animality on levels our society typically ignores, levels our society might not have tried, been able or willing to name, but these levels are parts of the animal-nature-continuum and the big scope of its cultural wisdom, richness, smartness, cultivatedness, decisiveness … .

Just try it, you might very well know how cultures aren’t restricted to humanity – that we all need to build new perspectives on animality, animal individuals and on the entire social codes built between humanity towards animals. Try and ask your vegan friend what she/she makes of establishing an emancipated view (in regards to language, philosophy, and common sense) on the human-animal conflict and human-animal interaction. I assume she/he still thinks that it’s perfectly fine to keep the cornerstones of speciesism in the “active-mode” (i.e. religious speciesism, philosophical speciesism, speciesism in the natural sciences, sociological speciesism, legal speciesism, cultural speciesism, aesthetical speciesism, speciesism in all segments of how we define the scope, meaning, content, value, sense of life) and that she/he will try to not seek for new ways of ending the ‘massmurder taking place on the biological argument’, the individual degradation on the level of cultural difference between speciesists and nonhumans. They will however not be able to accuse you of anthropocentrism, because they can’t rule the aspect of animal-cultures-on-more-than-the-biological-level out.

Religion and Science both have created oppressive constructs about Nature

alternatives

Alternatives in the oppression of nature-as-a-context-of-living-beings:

a.) “dominium terrae” [bible, says humans should rule and subjugate the world]

b.) “nature-as-a-resource” [the endeavours in the natural sciences have always been going along with generating economic benefits for any oppressive human castes]

Both spiritually in most religions, and philosophically in most sciences: Nature is seen as a means, a tool, a “material” that can be reduced in its autonomous sense and value.

Gruppe Messel / Tierautonomie / Animal Autonomy

 

 

 

Five neovegan perspectives

Five neo-vegan perspectives by Farangis G. Yegane and Gita Yegane Arani, revised version as of 1st July 2017.

This text as a PDF; the older version of these fagments.

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Neo-vegan perspectives – 1

Why Animal Rights can’t be treated as secondary to Human Rights

Let’s assume we can’t overcome human conflicts, and let’s assume we do not want to consider animal rights (as an equivalent to human rights) and environmental issues as ways in which we could also find fundamentally better approaches to conflict solution, because there doesn’t really exist an openness in the viewpoints of the majority to allow new or different perspectives on what is to be considered as relevant and ‘sense-possessing’.

Animal rights, even if not considered as touching a sphere of meaningful phenomena, is objectively not a secondary concern.

This is so, since the fact that human persons relegate animal individuals into “irrelevance”, as
a sector created for the nature-animal complex, doesn’t hold any factual account for the leakage we can call an obvious one if we look at:

a) the grade of destruction aggravated by any forms of speciesism (and humancentrism
respectively)

and

b) the essential bond of the human notion of an ideal justice in the moral practice lived by societies (idealism) with the natural and the animal world; and the unknown factors reciprocal
of nature and animals overall as they display themselves back to human society (the other
intelligence – designed by life basically).

***

Neo-vegan perspectives – 2

Animal Rights and Human Rights, your rights, as interconnected

How can animal rights and human rights be interlocked politically in a constructive way, instead of using human rights against animal rights?

We often tend to think that animal- and human rights would exclude each other, and the stereotypical „AR vs. HR” question, about whom you would save first if you had to: your dog or your child, is being asked as if one had to pass a witch-test which is going to decide your fate as a proper human- or animal rights advocate. A more reasonable view would let us come to the conclusion that narrowing things down to the extremes isn’t really a useful approach upon which a rights debate can be lead.

The focus in such a question that seeks to radically separate two instances (two situative phenomena occurring in a wider context) from each other, is almost suggestive if not ignorant in its view towards the facets of reality that make up the complexity of life as living beings experience it.

Put in a situation where we had to decide between rescuing one living being and another, it is
likely that we would not want to decide for one and against the other. We should consider the
perspectival option that we’d want to save every being that’s in despair. We could think for instance: in any situation where a being needs help, a being needs a helper!

As animal rights advocates we clearly want both: a full consideration of (reasonable) human interests and rights and a full consideration of what we can understand to be the rights of other animals as natural holders of such – by virtue of their self-autonomous existence in this world. And to take this a step further: we probably want to interlock animal- and human rights, so that both reaffirm and solidify each other. How can this be reached? And how can this, even more so, be reached in our current human societies, where the notion of animal rights is not regarded as positively relevant for the “’own’ – collective human concern”.

One aspect that builds an (euphemistically said) “automatic” way to bind animal- and human
Rights together, is, as simple as it may sound the natural environment. Whereby ‘the (natural) environment’ can be a term for what the German poet-thinker Goethe more comprisingly called “das AllLeben”, the all-live – a term that hints at the interconnectedness of all life forms on earth and beyond.

The environment, nature, is the habitat of nonhuman animals and humans alike. It’s the sphere of living existence where both humans and nonhuman animals meet in their natural state of being, and it’s the very political ground (that is: a sphere of life and thus of interests) that needs to be re-captured for the ethical side that is to it in regards to animal liberation and animal rights.

There are three core aspects that bind humans and animals together in their enviromentalistic
and nature-bound context:

a.) existentially we got the shared ‘outer world’ on which life depends in its individual and
collective existential value
b.) the conflict between the (major) life forms is produced by ‘the culture’ in which life finds
its contextualization, ranging from predominantly destructive in current humancentric human societies and, environmentally seen, constructive in animal cultures and their form of relating to the natural
c.) the solution, the bridge, lays in the will for re-establishing a natural balance, that encompasses its participants, the living beings, as co-creatant, co-existential “agents of an self-created contextualizing existence” – that can be understood as something that we emotionally would induce with “dignity”.
Dignity is the felt and the realizable foundation of rights. Being co-existent in this world and
acknowledging the agency of nonhuman animals in the environmental context, is a basis that
should tie human- and animal rights constructively in a potentially fundamental way.

***

Neo-vegan perspectives – 3

Neoveganism as a way forward in our current day Western and other emerging democracies

It seems the more you realize the political scope of human action and human thought, the less
you think of the absurd idea that there would be one single power (the establishment, the fiscal world, a people, a god) that runs everything in a totalitarian style: the big complexes of “might” stifle the individuals power to impact things, but individual action can’t be substituted in democracies.

What can I, as a seemingly powerless individual, do when I see an unfathomable disaster such
as the BP oil spill, a disaster caused by the ‘ruling’ part of our civilization? Our civilization bases (in its majority) upon humancentrist ideals today, it doesn’t need to take the natural environment and its “wild” inhabitants into account. To deal responsibly as an individual means I have to be willing to see the bigger contexts of phenomena, and widen my view over the limits of any anthropocentric limit.

On the opposite side of the big context of things it’s the individual that has an impact on the
situation she lives in: by action (political action, in a basic sense) and by thought (any form of it). It’s an ethical impact living beings ‘live’.

When I make the sensible claim that ethics should be the factor upon which to decide what’s
wrong and what’s right, I should also acknowledge that ethics means to behave respectfully towards life. What is respectful? And what type of life matters and can be treated with which forms of respect?

Every living being on this earth has its own place in the universe – practically. The world should not be seen anthropocentrically simply because we can’t fathom the meaningfulness of other life in regards to those dimensions which we don’t know much or even anything about. Other “dimensions” of meaning aren’t restricted to physics and mathematical abstraction: ethics, and its substance (life!) too has dimensions beyond a narrow anthropocentric reach.

If I take the ethical vastness and comprehensiveness into account, I am able to see that every
action I can do, and every wrong I don’t do, wherever I am, has an impact on the life around
me. Taking the interest of all life into a wide ethical (in a sense of setting oneself in a creative relation) consideration makes the action of the individual meaningful.

When I see that human progress is built mostly on a destructive relationship towards life – that we use and degrade to “resources” – I should be able to realize that the step I have to do, is to take up a plant-based ethical (radical antispeciesist and vegan) lifestyle and go further from that point on.

***

Neo-vegan perspectives – 4

Neoveganism, pluralism and antispeciesism

It should be normal for animal rights advocates (with that I mean people primarily or partially
interested or active in the global animal lights and liberation, etc. movement) to accept different positions, without assuming that divergence would harm the cause. No need to say that exempt from such a form of mutual tolerance would be people who claim to be AR but practically advocate theories and practices harmful to nonhuman animals (euthanasia of “stray” feral animals, “humane” slaughter, hidden forms of speciesism, mild speciesism … ).

I often notice that there exists a self-prescribed narrowness in parts of the AR/AL movement
which hinders the necessary plurality of expressed opinions for the cause. Naturally people hold different opinions about issues, especially when it comes to the details of something that could be described as a newly established consciousness as we have and develop it in the human-nonhuman animal relation today.

Why should animal rights be exempt from a highly diversified discussion such as we normally expect and have practically on every other big ethical, political and rights issue? Finding the truth (the acceptable truths of many insights) upon which to build a reasonable common grounds that reflects the needs of reality, finding a suitable and fruitful political and
also legal language, and a language of liberation needs a full discourse made up of all our individual opinions. When we take our individuality away from our political agency (speech, thought and action) in our daily lives, we lose exactly that which enables us to make progress. Progress is plurality – the exchange of many powers and how they can synergize.

It’s understandable when you take a look at the animal rights movement at its single place in history – possessing a newly understood form of an extended “beyond-social” interspecies context – that people are likely to assume that they would need to follow a school of thought or political opinion. In reality though animal rights is a phenomenon as fundamental as human
rights, so basic and immediate to the individual existence that every person can become clear about her own understanding of basic rights terms in a valid way and that every person can figure out herself how she weighs out what’s right and what’s wrong in her own “common sense” rights-terms.

The relation towards nonhuman animals is ultimately an immediate one, it’s a social connection in a new, antispeciesist way. And I think we should take it as such, if we truly are for human and animal liberation.

On a basis of accepting the presupposition that

a.) we can relate to nonhuman animals in a reasonable way obviously, and
b.) that the relation to nonhuman animals can thus be handled from the individual human in a
similar way in which an individual human can assess human rights issues by applying her
own common sense,

we can take our position of defence when we are addressing the “speciesist lobby”, which usually argues that there exist decisive barriers between the “values” of human and nonhuman animal life, a notion established on the premise that humans have the right to simply give the nonhuman animal world their definitions – in all detail (the result of which is mass murder on the biological argument).

We as animal rights/liberation/autonomy activists can constructively and positively relate to nonhuman animals, and we side with their interests from our position as fellow (human) animal beings. Practiced anti-speciesism to its best level is an ongoing learning process which makes us mature and responsible as human beings or better as basic individuals. Our engagement and fight for the legal and earth-political rights to live, to possess habitat, to be a rights holder under nonhumancentric terms, will re-establish the integrity of an ongoing existential relationship we have with nonhuman animals. And this amounts to an entire paradigm-shift.

***

Neo-vegan perspectives – 5

The face of an animal rights revolution, call it total liberation … it is about making these paradigm shifts

The uncountable deaths each day, every second, are the factual individual nonhuman animal victims that a human humancentrically driven full destructive force are directed against. We have to phrase clearly that speciesism is not just an accidental heritage of our human past which supposedly took place as “hunters and gatherers”, though the question remains open if in fact all human cultures have been hunters at some stage. Speciesism means, in the past inasmuch as in the present, a war by means of denial of rights, namely the right to live and exist freely, that is being waged against nonhuman animals and their world.

The majority of the ‘human group’ determines how this world is to be explained and understood. We, as humans (in a collective sense), don’t accept that concepts which are not born out of a human logic (again, in a collective sense) and which are not shaped by our human perceptions and rationalizations can in fact exist. The revolution for animal rights, animal liberation or a acknowledgement of animal autonomy means to set forth that nonhuman animals have their very ways in which they shape this world. Their ways – their integrity in the natural sphere – need to be protected by rights that we as humans will have to enforce within the scope exclusively of human destructivity. That would at least take the burden of human oppression from the nonhuman animal ‘realm’.

On the ethical side we can state that: in whichever context nonhuman animals are forced to live and to die in right now, their integrity can’t be stripped away from them – since in a fundamental and important sense nothing can negate their independent meaning.

What happens when our speciesist societies confine, torture and kill nonhuman animals is that
Humans collectively claim a total might over the physical life of nonhuman animals, in the final consequence.

Animal rights means to continuously work on the paths towards an anti-humancentrist human society in which the integrity of all animal life and the integrity of the entire natural world are being protected against so called “human interests”; which are in reality profane collective enmities towards “everything” and everyone who is not a human but a nonhuman animal and their natural living contexts.

And finally animal liberation should also mean the deconstruction of speciesist theories: Before the final consequence of physical harm and destruction we need to address the reasons and causes of the collective humancentric enmities and desires to subject animal-others and ‘nature’.