Trauma 1

When nonhumans are forcibly subjected to trauma, it does produce trauma, but translates into a problematic that a biologistic approach to nonhumans won’t be able to unravel. Trauma occurs in context with all fine tunings of psyche and mind – can’t ever be understood by violence.

A Nonhuman can’t be reduced to a symbol

Antibiologism in antispe

CN: Animal Symbolism vs Animal Mythologies

A start to my argumentation:

Animals as symbols is a dangerous terrain to step on, since

1.) images are to be seen in contexts of concrete modes of usage and are never stand-alone, absolute “symbols”.

2.) When you have an epistemic background in which animals are mythological, they can never be reduced to symbols – or would you call deities or your god or your friend or ideals appearing anywhere to ever be just a “symbol”?

A symbol is a proxy for something else that it stands for. When it’s used to refer to real existent individuals you ethically enter a slippery slope, you start reducing the world to pictograms. Reducing the receptive interpretations of animal representations to “animal symbolism” fails to see the intricate languages expressed about human/animal relationships e.g. in arts but also in the iconographies of daily speciesism.

I wrote an English fragment on a difference between symbolism and mythology with this text: https://simorgh.de/niceswine/fragment-on-insect-mythologies-and-representations

I extended this draft in German here:

E-Reader: Gruppe Messel 2018 / 4. Jg. 1 (2018), Heft 4. ISSN 2700-6905, https://farangis.de/reader/e-reader_gruppe_messel_2018_4.pdf

And now I should translate my thoughts back to English. I will try to do this sometime hopefully soon … :

Ein Fragment über Insektenmythologien und Darstellungen von Insekten, und weshalb Erklärungen mittels Symbolismus nicht ausreichen um bestehende Korrelationen zu erklären

Soweit wir zu diesem Zeitpunkt herausfinden konnten, handeln die bekanntesten Mythologien über Insekten und ähnliche Invertebraten von: Bienen, Schmetterlingen, Spinnen, Skorpionen, Ameisen, Zikaden und den Skarabäus-Käfern … . Welches Ansehen welche Insekten wann genossen und warum, steht offen. In einigen Zeiten, Kulturen und Geographien wurden die Tiere oder einige Gruppen dieser, zumindest freundschaftlich, in anderen feindlich dargestellt. Insekten in Mythologien werden zumeist als ein Phänomen gedeutet, das sich primär über einen „Symbolismus“ erschließen soll. Es scheint, dass Autoren / Forscher meinen, es sei schwer vorstellbar, dass beispielsweise der Skarabäus (der im ägyptischen Pantheon dem Gott Kheper zugeordnet wurde), ein ‚Mistkäfer’ also, für mehr als allein das geschätzt wurde, was Menschen ihm, im Sinne ihrer eigenen anthropozentrischen Konzepte der Welt, derer Bedeutung und des Universums, zuschrieben. Was, wenn aber die frühen Ägypter beispielsweise eine Welt mit einem einzigartigen Wert im Leben und in den Aktivitäten der Skarabäus-Käfer gesehen hätten?

Es wäre doch möglich, dass es faszinierend war zu beobachten, wie die Käfer dieses Rund aus Erde und Dung gerollt haben, und dabei dahingehend Überlegungen anzustellen, welche Art des Sinnempfindens die Käfer der Existenz und dem Sein auf der Erde überhaupt selbst ‚lebten’. Tiere haben Vernunft, Tiere haben Sinn. Tiere denken. Vielleicht verfügten manche alten Zivilisationen und Kulturen noch über die Fähigkeit und über ein Interesse daran, nm-Tiere als tierliche Kulturen zu betrachten. Ein kleiner Käfer, der einen Ball gleich einem Planeten rollt, aus dem ein neues Insektenleben schlüpfen würde … . Das ist mehr als ein Symbol.

Ein typischer Gedanke, den man im Bezug auf nichtmenschliche Tiere und die Natur hinsichtlich von Mythologien antrifft, ist, dass Menschen der Natur immer nur im indirekten Sinne eine Bedeutung zugeordnet hätten. Menschen können aber doch auch gedacht und gefühlt haben, dass die Natur tatsächlich eine Bedeutung hatte, und dass Natur (und somit Existenz) überhaupt Bedeutung sei.

Zusätzlich sollte bedacht werden, dass wenn wir solch einer Beziehung in der Mythologie das Gewicht unserer heutigen Definition von „Symbolismus“ aufbürden wollen – das heißt wenn wir beispielsweise sagen, dass Insekten bloße Symbole anthropomorpher Attributisierungen gewesen seien – dann sollten wir doch immerhin die epistemologische Geschichte des „Symbols“ und die Etymologie dieses Begriffes näher betrachten, um Licht auf das Konstrukt zu werfen, von dem wir damit Gebrauch machen.

Interessant ist, dass selbst im Bezug auf unsere Gegenwart wir die Verwendung von Tierbildern in mehr oder weniger ähnlicher Weise deuten. Wir sehen das Tier als nicht viel mehr als einen Symbolismus.

Die Beziehung zur faktischen Gegenwart des ‚Tieres als Subjekt’, das unser sozialethisches Miteinander relevant werden ließe, spielt seitens des Künstlers sowie auch seitens des Betrachters für Kunstkritiker, Kunstwissenschaftler und Kunsthistoriker zumeist noch eine untergeordnete und eher indirekte Rolle, bei der in erster Linie die Subjektivität-des Menschlichen in Bezugnahme auf ‚das Menschliche‘ im Zirkelschlüssen zum Gegenstand des Sinnes von Kunst wird (und bleiben soll).

Der Bezug auf das dargestellte Tier und das Tierliche wird als indirekt gedeutet, auch wenn ein direkter Bezug intentioniert oder zumindest auch mit enthalten ist. Die alleinige Direktheit, die zugelassen wird, ist die objektifizierte und objektifizierende Haltung zum nm-Tier und zum Tierlichen. Die Direktheit wird Instrumentalisiert. Die Tendenz zur Verzwecklichung bei Anthropomorphismen in Tierdarstellungen macht die Beziehung noch unsichtbarer. So können wir kaum mehr von einer Micky Maus auf eine echte Maus schließen, da hier die Maus in der Art Darstellung nur noch ein dem Menschen gefälliges Bild verkörpern soll. Der Bezug zum nm-Tier bleibt aber relevant, denn sonst hätte man ebenso eine nicht zoomorphe Gestalt wählen können als zentralen ästhetischen Bildnisfaktoren. Wir sollten uns die Beziehungen zwischen darstellenden und dargestellten Subjekten viel genauer und tiefgreifender betrachten.

Manchmal muss ‘Neues’ entstehen, in der Form, dass alte Ambiguitäten ihre Klärung finden können: So müssen wir heute klären, warum “Tier” aus menschlich-moralischem Erwägen über ‘Wert, Sinn, Freiheit, Würde … ‘ die Stellung eines Antagonismus (zum ‘menschlichen Ideal’) von herrschenden Mehrheiten humaner Kulturgebilde zugeordnet bekam.

Animality and conceptual corners


Why treat nonhuman concerns in assigned fields, instead of debiologizing the typical stances on animality? “Being a human” is still taken as a sociological state, while “nonhuman behaviour” is routinely relegated into the categories of being biologically driven/dominated.
– Animality can be seen in debiologized ways.
– Embracing existential plurality means wider perspectives than anthropocentrism are required
We can mutually learn as social and ecological beings.
antibiologistic antispeciesist animal sociology

Speciesism and deprivation (1)


Nonhumans are constantly put into a Kaspar Hauser-like situation, where it is assumed that imprisonment and deprival from > social bonds and contexts experienced in relative freedom > creates a justification for further and deeper going discriminatory means, until finally the affected is free to any abuse by anyone of the ruling human collective.
antispe sociology

Cognitions and sentiences in their own ways

Can anybody tell me why anyone needs scientific proof about animal cognition and sentience, etc. Address the individual/group themselves to get an answer in and under their own terms!

Those middlemen are never authorized to judge about congnitions/sentiences that they most likely don’t even understand – by measuring limited criteria with limited parameters.

Those middlemen see the animals in question in oversimplified ways, in relation to factual reality, just to offer some well meant biologistic data about your “species” in question.

They’d never use such parameters to describe themselves, as humans, but nonhumans can supposedly be objectified and limited in such scientific ways.

Nonhumans are social subjects/selves/agents not biological objects.

antispeciesist animal sociology

***

Recent thoughts I tweeted about animal allyship when it turns weird: https://twitter.com/tiere_am_rhein/status/1279764646757629960

Weird when people call the human friends of a nonhuman animal their “dad” e.g.,
blurring out that this nonhuman has own parents ( – and these nonhuman families have tragic histories …),
while talking at the same time about what’s supposed to be radical antispeciesism. #antispe

Weird also when humans pose with single nonhumans for photos, acting as if being with a human was the greatest thing, and socialising for nonhumans with other nonhumans would be a bit secondary at that moment. #anthropocentrism

Their is a lot of these type of weird things going on the “our” (the vegan/AR) movement … strikes me weird.

***


Scrap the biologistic speciesism that leads you to assume that nonhumans wouldn’t know that the/ir entire world is being oppressed.
A reductive concept of intelligence leads you to think of nonhumans as having to be pressed into the human concepts of how to measure perception.

The bad thing is that we still run around with views of animals and animality that are not much different to the “animal-machine” model (by Descartes), only on an “advanced”/”diversified” biochemical level. The idea that animals are acting in causalistic ways is still similar.

[1] Eine Frage, die mit einer Frage beantwortet werden muss … Haben Tiere Vernunft und können Tiere denken? https://simorgh.de/about/die-frage-nach-dem-tierlichen-denken-ist-mit-einer-gegenfrage-zu-beantworten/

The german artgerecht is a speciesist term

A very biologistic term: “artgerecht”

The German language holds a term that describes that there can be things/actions by humans that are “artgerecht” for nonhuman animal species. That there human actions/treatments that are suitable for a specific species. This term stems mostly from animal agriculture to legitimate their imprisonment and killing of nonhumans and from zoologists classifying nonhuman animals by defining in a reductive way their specific typical “needs” (…).

Humans wouldn’t want to reduce themselves onto categorical needs such as: foraging, territorial behaviour and reproduction. The term “artgerecht” exactly invites you do see nonhumans and their behaviour basically in such reductive way. All behaviour is classified and traced back to some categories humans hold a definitory might over.

Ecological complexity in regards to nonhuman animal sociology is not really a subject for anyone who applies such typical form of biologistic speciesism. The tragic thing is that many people in the German speaking countries use exactly this term when they seek to defend nonhuman animals, so this kind of terminology is not being reflected critically at all. Like they want justice for nonhumans, but they also want to keep pigeonholing nonhumans biologistically in such fundamental ways.

Meaningful, super complex behaviour becomes belittled with clichés of nonhuman species behaviour.

It’s a term that leaves nonhumans in their situations where they are exposed to human definition, when allies use such term, they are not making these settings visible.

 

***

“Artgerecht” bases much on the concept of “instinct” – which is one of the most questionable concepts to encounter nonhuman animals and animality with

Fragment continued …

“Artgerecht” alsways means the setting is given or influenced by humans.

Interesting is also that the rethorics of the > deliberate or wanted impact of human actions depending on species > which implies that a nonhuman is or should be treated (indirect passive role attributed to nonhumans) “artgrecht” in a manner predertermined by frames humans construct and prepare for the nonhuman, are always scrutinously chosen fitting to each different setting:
labs, farms, households, … and that dependent on how people classify each of the species …
 
So “artgerecht” means: any generic biologistic speciesism, while it consciously pretends to be meant to some advantage for the nonhumans within contexts of human definitory spaces.
 
It never means the nonhuman animals are understood as self-creative active agents in any environment in a sense beyond instinct, beyond biologistic and/or any other determinism for nonhuman animal behaviour.
Any behaviour becomes subject to reductive interpretations. No open space in terms of definitions is allowed from the human defining side.

***

Fragment three

“Artgerecht” always means the setting is given/influenced by humans.

Interesting is how rhetorics, that imply that a nonhuman is or should be treated (…) “artgerecht”, tend to just modify ideas/institutions of domination.

The details for the staged normalcy are always chosen carefully dependent on setting and animal group:

labs – agriculture – captivity – mingling with wildlife.

The idea behind the progress supposedly aimed at by the “artgerecht” treatment/measure (…) always sets forth that a nonhuman is basically instinctual.

This is the old prejudice about nonhuman animality not be self-creative….

 

An autoethnographic note


This poem is a biographical sum up of what I think about the condition we live in, the zoocide we as “humanity” as a collective commit or support in some form of compliance unless we speak out against the fundamentals of (foremostly I believe biologistical) speciesism these days …

I wrote this in the 1990, posted it with a pic of myself from 1982 in 2007 here as a pdf: http://www.simorgh.de/philozoe/animalgardens/pdfs/breath.pdf

Now I blog it.

BREATH

SheHe puts himherself at the centre of alleverything – they
have sex and heshe comes out new and fresh –

again one more to add up to the all-human universe –
animal waste is waste that matters animals – adding up waste, mouth open for waste, so that
something fresh can come out healthy humanely, as necessary necessary necessary
human, for humanity enlargening its meaning with own individual density
human genuis 6 billion fold unity –

to add up animals inferiority dying out – on TeleVisi weighed out in just scales one dying out,
the big rest spreading out animal waste in secrecy –
breath human breath animal breath nonhuman non-existence. only in breath!

shehe put himherself at where shehebreathes, where else could the human individual feel
himherself triggering another desire, to put the outbreath in the centre outside –
dying out animal irrelevance no relevant breath –
comes from nonexistence tomorrow, in nonexistent animals that waste himher self-centers,
tomorrow shelved in memory history –

its blood takes part as supporting her his individual strength, the sex that procreates –
as history and in their own self important memory, the self-centred memory that is
commonly shared, and human individual sex history can’t be shared by unuseful genetic
aberrations in her desire – in his desire he makes the game his game – unifold
togetherness against unifold genepools that won’t make the game – …A=>

A=>… heshe share theirs to clear up more animal waste.
the I, the you, the us, the heshe “self-centres”, that keep up the game.

it turns on to be the superior game and it thrills to use reality, the physical fact, against
reality. a new nature game and the self-centered own history that finds itself in humansexual individuality, in the human individual physicalness, runs the game in the universe,
makes the game a rule, takes a bit out of the impossible (impossibility!) makes it it it it pain
waste

Speciesism as a structure

Speciesism as a structure

It’s useless to choose the same pattern, the same structure that makes up structurally the frame and the architecture of an oppressive system. But we see this happen in the environmental movement and we see this in the antispeciesist movements. The structures applied to convey informational exchange and communication of ideas and thoughts about the issues, co-constitute the effective informational outcome and co-establish the inner contents themselves.

If you apply hierarchically driven structures, you repeat humancentric patterns in “that” specific sense of humanhood. People though have a huge inhibitation to omit classical, typical human hierarchical cultural patterns. And they convey and transfer these patterns contentwise onto the fields of their activism.

With the entire plurality of animalhood having a manifold pattern, we still don’t assume their practical patterns of social self-organization, instead we discuss them on the level of our hierarchical cultural concepts.

Culturally we create clusters of “popularity” as markers of social importance, and the weight of the contents created and conveyed is predetermined and shaped thereby. With our collective constructs we practically demolish the reality of other, nonhuman-shaped social constructs, by negating their effectiveness and relevance in communicative, reciprocal terms. That means also: we could learn from the specific social forms of (communicative and therewith fundamental) self-organization of the individuals, groups, living beings and entities we defend.

The first inhibitor, also driven by our structural approach, is of course the definitions we imprint onto the nonhuman realism, and the lack of a will to understand and open up toward others with their own social codings as the standards. If we prioritize dominant, nonhuman-derogative human value systems (as kinds of specific human value systems) we inferiorize the values, the meaningfulness of other views and positions in this world.

What is a must in animal advocacy and environmental activism, is to let go the hierarchical patterns when we approach systems that exist in the not-human realm. Our own dominant patterns are not nature given and “for all to be swallowed”, our patterns of prioritization as a group of dominant human beings is restrictive and stifling as a structure itself. People who uphold our typical cultural speciesist (…) patterns, that suffocate other perspectives, are dominant by exactly aiming at social denying and negating plurality.

Gruppe Messel

Being a lifelong vegan does not guarantee that the person is not speciesist

I met a lifelong vegan who says that killing nonhuman animals would be totally okay in this person’s opinion.

This makes me think that:

  • veganism is too little understood as what iit originally is > a lifestyle about ethical pacifist relations towards nonhuman animality
  • that people are underinformed about ethical implications of a constructive human-nonhuman-animal relation in society as a whole
  • that people are also underinformed about interfaces of socio-ethical and eco-political concerns regarding human-nonhuman relations

It made me feel very upset to hear such an attitude from a lifelong vegan. I wonder why someone in that case even wants to call him- or herself a vegan, when they consciously exclude nonhumans from the frame of their constructive ethical relations and when they practice blatant speciesism.

Veganism unfortunately is still working much at the level of a trend, and I think it is exactly a trend for the reason of a raising moral and ethical awareness and growing sensitivity towards speciesism in society but that nevertheless veganism being a “trend” mostly serves as a buffer, it makes you cleared of guilt and blame, yet a vegan person might still reserve for themselves a speciesist stance in society so as to keep being mainstream. Some vegans hold a conservative position insofar as they want to cater to the omnivore mass society.

I said to that person that I feel offended and that to me saying killing nonhuman animals for consumption is okay would be similar to bigots telling me that racism was okay or sexism, and that I think it’s problematic that when I talk about this perspective of mine, my standpoint would easily be counted as provocative and inappropriate, from that mass-oriented standpoint which makes the human-nonhuman-animal divide, in which it is okay to objectify nonhumans.

The other person compared the scenario of killing nonhumans for food with the unhealthiness of alcohol consumption then, and said that she was often upset when people defend the consumption of alcohol, but that one should be tolerant of other people’s views. I said that I thought this comparison would be inadequate, since talking about killing nonhumans is talking about subjects and absent referents, whereas talking about alcohol consumption is talking about humans consuming an object (alcohol). She said that alcohol consumption would also take lives. At this point I realized that the discussion is mainly about polemics.

This experience makes me frustrated at how fellow vegans can be basically only technically be vegan yet practically be avid speciesists. I tend to think this is a legacy of the vegetarian movement, which emphasized to much on health issues instead of leading a debate about ethics such as the antivivisection movement comparably did ( – talking about the European debates of the late 19th and the early 20th century), also it’s an ongoing inheritance of “human” hierarchism towards nonhumanity.

Ethically being a technical vegan is an interesting position to be in, yet I think it’s out of a sensible line.

When veganism becomes directed at a wellbeing that pushes the wellbeing of others into a secondary or irrelevant position, when foremostly the integrity of individuals similar to ‘oneself’ is considered to be of primary relevance whereas concerns relevant to individuals who are different to the ‘self’ (or the own status) are decidedly ignored, we face a danger of technicality in vegan ethics that can be addressed by a meaningful discussion about the problematics veganism as a practice implicitly and explicitly addresses.

Antispeciesist Animal Sociology