Alternatives for the term speciesism

PREAMBLE

We need a term that describes the broad discrimination/s or injustice/s exerted by human collectives and human individuals towards nonhumans animals and towards nonhumanity overall – in all its facets in which these oppressive mechanisms, thoughts and actions occur in different human cultural layers, such as religion, science, law, arts, etc.

Also, we need a term for the overall phenomenon of human destruction and destructivity in these regards. I refer to it as faunacide, as far as nonhuman animals are concerned. Some criticize the term “speciesism” on various grounds, I ask everyone to come up with more descriptive terms for what we witness and might conceive differently.

antibiologistic animal sociology

Alternative terms for speciesism

SPECIES/ANIMAL-DEROGATION

SPECIES/ANIMAL-DEROGATIVE

-DEVALUATION

-HUMILIATION

-…

antibiologistic animal sociology

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.

Animal cultures: relations


Animal cultures vs species
Relating to Nonhumans as Humans:
If you segregatively can’t relate socially (including empathically) on all or any level with Nonhumans, you equally create spaces where humanity is condemned to be self-centric: subjectivity can relate and there are no borders in the good and bad.
antibiologistic animal sociology

Destruction by definition

Speciesism = destruction by definition

The “common denominator” is often used to derogate animality:

Like “animals and humans both experience emotions/sensations like pain, joy, hunger, affection” … yet nonhumans are supposedly driven by instinct the same people say at the same time …

The common denominator only is that: a common denominator. It doesn’t explain animality in any sense autonomous from human domination.

Putting ourselves as “humans” in hierarchies over nonhuman animality mostly stays in place with people citing the classic common denominators, where nonhumanity is attributed with any similarities or resemblances we think fit for the nonhuman animal realm.

As long as people explain nonhumanity in terms of biologistic or any other reductive parameters, common denominators aren’t really a step to break up the theoretical disenfranchisement that always makes up the basis for human societies to ‘destroy by definition’.

The common denominator gains its sense when you accept the compared one in their own autonomous and thus inviolable rights.

Animal hatred and ecology

Theriocides are happening unquestioned, while climate neutrality is being envisioned.
Animality’s habitat > ‘nature’ > is continuously being appropriated as being the indisputable space of human domain, while earth’s history has proven that the masters of fostering and retaining a holistic ecological balance are undeniably and almost exclusively the nonhuman ones.

Reverse definitions of Antispeciesism

Antispeciesism is at least a two-way road:

A critique of species-ism could mean to completely deconstruct the notion of “species” in favor of finding new approaches to address the groups of beings we now sum up as the group/s of “nonhuman animals”. It can also mean to cling to that idea, that beings can be separated into “species”, only that we position differently towards the beings we’d keep defining in hegemonic terms.

Antispeciesist Animal Sociology

For the benefit of all nonhuman life

A world free of speciesism for the benefit of all nonhuman life as the foremost goal

In terms of Animal Rights and it’s problem field: speciesism, fighting for bettering the prospects of human survival doesn’t help a lot, because the reason why and how nonhuman animals are oppressed isn’t becoming a subject.
If we protested and criticized speciesism in the forefront, we would > implicitly discuss the protection of nonhuman habitat! The underlying rhetoric makes a difference in the goal reached.
Humanity actually sacrifices the integrity of all nonhuman life for their idea of survival. So we need humans who care about nonhuman life in a way that the direction is chosen > where all nonhuman life is being foremostly taken into ethically prioritary consideration.
Gruppe Messel, Tierautonomie

Segregative approaches

Question about segregative approaches, such as found in the discussion here https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3csydct, where conservationist approaches typically stand in conflict with the concepts of animal rights, for a large part by ignoring aspects affecting nonhuman life as a whole.

We come from a radical antispeciesist approach, hence we need to raise a few questions:

Question 1 about the saving biological diversity approach:

  • Are they for captive breeding programs to halt the extinction of some species? If yes, how do they see the problematics of zoos? Do such problematics matter in the discussion about extinction, its causes and how the driving forces behind natural destruction can be addressed?

Question 2 about the saving biological diversity approach:

  • Life is a net, yet equally individual lives are meaningful (with humans and nonhumans). Positively seen we understand how life is built as an interdependent net. Yet oppressive mechanism also function as a “net”, yet one of destructiveness, meaning: Wildlife stands amidst mechanisms of a systemic zoocide and ecocide. When we name the net of life, we should also discuss the destructive mechanisms of the socio-political scale and not just highlight biological functioning.

Question 3 about the saving biological diversity approach:

  • When we face destructiveness that targets and sacrifices biological diversity, why do we exclude the nonhuman lives that are barred from the natural spaces and locked into machineries? Why is the connection of destructiveness towards life being treated in a segregative way? For the sake of keeping up the notion of taxonomical richness? Definitely not for nonhuman life itself.

Antispeciesist Animal Sociology

Thoughts about Animal Languages


Thoughts about the Languages of Animals

Palang Latif

This text is also part of the Edition Farangis: Animal Autonomy E-Reader 1.

I can’t see how a term such as ‘animal language’ could pose a problem to anybody when it directly refers to an animal’s way of communication. I am however critical of people who ‘translate’ animals in stereotype ways.

Nevertheless I could apologize for using a word that describes the phenomenon that humans see as exactly the very one criterion which most sharply shows the difference between humans and all other animals. The word ‘language’ has evolved in the human mind and possesses as such its linguistic legitimacy.

The word ‘language’ belongs to one of the core conceptions of the most drastic forms of negative speciesism. Regarding this presumed ground I have to stand upon, I apologize for the insufficience of my attempt to communicate something for which I can insofar only borrow this word, and I dare to ask you to perhaps think of a second word ‘language’ – free of value in a sense – which would only describe what we may not be able to describe yet within the borders of our set of regulations as we have them currently in regards to language; I am well aware that people usually don’t want to accept that this one human term ‘language’ can be used tightly paralleled to animal language, and that so far the word ‘animal language’ has only be tolerated on a scientifical level to refer to human parameters that have been applied to animal communication.

Animals speak their languages, but what their languages consist of, could only be understood if we communicated with them on a level that allows them to use their language.

Animal languages work like human languages, where you can translate what you understand and try to put how-you-can-understand-the-message or that what you understand into your terms of your language.The same happens when I talk to any other individual: I comprehend what she/he/it conveys in the restrictedness or unrestrictedness of my own terms. My terms don’t merely underly semantics – though they might be translated back and forth into semantics, morphems and syntax. My own terms and concepts have, in spite of their belonging to my system of language, a restricted meaning. In a very basic sense I have to rely on that what I understand or confer to that what I perceive.

The languages of animals (there are more animal languages than human languages of course) are seen by us as having a super restricted meaning. If we take the position of the nonhuman side in general, we can say though that human languages are restricted in that they only apply to humans. And seen from a standpoint which takes into account the question of perspective, I can say that if I don’t understand a dog, it’s because she belongs to a different animal ‘group’ when compared to my human group.

‘Communication’ infers meaning to the act of communicating on any level of any sound produced by a communicative agent.

Does language necessarily have to be connected to the history, the past, the present and the future of human progress? Why should animals have ever evolutionary or in any wise chosen to contextualize their existence with the human existence? A being of an animal group or I’d like to say an animal culture, clearly differenciates that what is important to their own existence; and I would call this rather their philosophy instead of just an evolutionary occurence.

I find it permissible to use a word of the human language to describe something I witness, on an experiential basis, about the side of someone (animals) who uses another language. Also ,I prefer to call the expresssed existence of nonhuman animals a philosphy, since it is too simple and anthropocentrically self-serving to underlie animal existence pure evolutionary ends. I do draw from my personal observations which seem sufficient for me to make my own judgements in this case and to make a decision about what to think here.

Basically I think that everybody knows that animals have their languages, but that we usually deny that these languages, that we don’t understand, have any meaning at all. But how would we not deny any meaning of animal communication that would go beyond the notions that our societies generally have about even the being itself of animals; we deny the fact of a self-authorative being of animals in itself in it’s whole meaning. So, no surprise that we draw major qualitative lines. In terms of language, we create a complicated building of restrictions to exclude the nonhuman animals from the comparatively tolerant perspectives that we have in regards to the pluralism of human languages. (It’s ok for a human language to be completely different, just because it’s human.)

We deny another animal that it’s not instinctal, because it’s not a human. You can indeed call everything an instict. Still you can’t really prove that it is “instict”. You can just put the ‘supposed carrier of an instict’ in a setting where they are treated as such instinctual things and seen as such, and interpreted as such.

Possibilities

Human rights in favour of animal rights may hopefully be another way to convey that an opinion of a human majority can’t represent a truth about any individual animal and the whole animal groups:The animal individual itself is a truth-bearer since it exists, and simply by that it represents, through how it lives (in its own rights and in its own terms) a truth. Just like I judge humans I meet by the impact of truth (their actions are possible just by shere existence), I would want to be as just as I can towards the ways in which individual animals live.
Art doesn’t function through semantics, since there are shapes and colours!
Micky Mouse doesn’t function through semantics, since there are figures and action!
Snowball doesn’t function through semantics, since there is Lisa taking her seriously enough!
Music doesn’t function through semantics, since there is play and composition!
Oppression doesn’t function through semantics, since there are suppressors
Love doesn’t funtion through semantics, since there is understanding and misunderstanding
Peace doesn’t funtion through semantics, since there are underlying actions … And this array could go on and on. Anyway, and still this is all part of our language?

What we do when we speak about ‘animals’ and ‘language’ is: We reduce the complexity of animal communication to linguitstical terms into which they may not fit. Instead of admitting the existence and relevance of other communicative systems as being really independent from our systems and thus not explainable through purely and solely biologcal criteria (insinct).

I have compounded two things:

1. the function of the term ‘instinct’ as a) serving to restrict the notion of a socio-ethical plane as to only having developed in and being attributable to humans and ‘human groups/cultures’ and b) its intended reduction of the scope and meaning of communication in nonhuman animals to a biologically explainable and manipulatively determinable code,

and 2. I have defined linguistics as an inadequate means of setting general rules for a communicative validity.

Instincts and linguistics are things that are working in our systems of categorisation.

In regards to the self-cetegorization going along with this, I also want to point out that our own language does not base a) on merely a functional basis neither in connection to the agent that uses language nor in connection with the subjects that language seeks to deal with, and b) that our language might also not just be a compound of what linguistics (and maybe physiological aspects of speaking added or so) alone can make out of it.

Generally: Cultural (in a non-homocentric sense, i.e. implying “the natural” on an equal scale)) and individual aspects play a role too, as well with humans as with animals when communicating!

I do state again that the word culture can to my opinion also be applied to animals – if one allows a culture to be really and profoundly different [from “our” cultures] too.


The Image on top is from the illustrated story “Morgh va Tokhm” by Farangis G. Yegane.

This essay ist also on my veganswines.com site at: http://www.veganswines.com/andishe/animallanguage.htm and published in my veganswines reader 08 (Paddling of the Ducks educational press) in a printed form.

See also: The species-derogative ascription of instinct, https://www.simorgh.de/objects/the-species-derogative-ascription-of-instinct/