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
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.
Mani and the Manichaeans >
Why the Manichaeans Abstained from Animal Food
> Against the Manichaeans, Augustine of Hippo
St. Augustin: The Writings Against the Manichaeans and Against the Donatists, vol 4 of A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, ed. Philip Schaff (Buffalo, 1887; Google Books: Online Library of Free eBooks).
Much of which is known about “Why the Manichaeans Abstained from Animal Food,” is related by St. Augustin in his Writings Against the Manichaeans from 368-402.
Augustin informs us that the Manichaens in “abstaining from the slaughter of animals and from injuring plants” called “the destruction of a tree or of an animal murder,” with the belief that “in the case of men, we have a community of rights…the same in the case of beasts and trees.” (84)
Flesh, you [Manichaeans] say, is made up of pollution itself. (79)
[According to the Manichaeans] part of God…exists in corn, beans, cabbage, and flowers and fruits. From the beauty of the color…and the sweetness of the taste; this is evident; and as these are not found in rotten substances, we learn that their good has been taken from them. (80)
You [Manichaeans] do not eat flesh, and so your followers must not slaughter animals. (84)…You make this slaughter unlawful even for your followers. (86)
The [Manichaeans] story…is that the heavenly princes who were taken from the race of darkness and bound, and have a place assigned them in this region by the Creator of the world, have animals on earth specially belonging to them, each having those coming form his own stock and class; and they hold the slaughters of those animals guilty, and do not allow them to leave the earth, but harass them as much as they can with pains and torments. (85)
What [Manichaeans] object to in sacrifice is the slaughter of animals.…You [Manichaeans] are merciful to beasts, believing them to contain the souls of human beings. (169).
Augustine asks why “if you [Manichaeans] will not eat flesh why should you not slay animals in sacrifice to your God, in order that their souls, which you hold to be not only human, but do divine as to be members of God Himself, may be released from the confinement of flesh, and be saved from returning by the efficacy of your prayers? Happy vegetables, that, torn up with the hand, cut with knives, tortured in fire, ground by teeth, yet reach alive the altars of your intestines! Unhappy sheep and oxen, that are not so tenacious of life, and therefore are refused entrance into your bodies! Such is the absurdity of your notions.…Why do they not act up to their opinions about other things as well as about animals? Why do they not abstain altogether, and starve themselves to death, instead of persisting in their blasphemies? (170-171)
You [Manichaeans] consider it a crime to kill animals, because…the souls of men pass into them.…[Gentile philosophers] dreaded slaughtering a relative in the animal; but you dread the slaughter of your god, for you hold even the souls of animals to be his members. (261)
And although at first the following two passages might suggest that Augustine was an abstainer of animal food himself, a few lines at the end of the paragraph as well as his continued tirades against “the Manichaeans prohibition against the use of flesh,” confirm that this is not the case.
Many who are strong [abstain] for the sake of the weak; with many the reason for so doing is…but that they may have a cheaper diet, and may lead a life of greatest tranquillity, with the least expensive provision for the support of the body.…Those, then who are able, and they are without number, abstain both from flesh and from wine for two reasons; either for the weakness of their brethren, or for their own liberty. Charity is principally attended to. There is charity in their choice of diet, charity in their speech, charity in their dress, charity in their looks. Charity is the point where they meet, and the plan by which they act. To transgress against charity is thought criminal, like transgressing against God. Whatever opposes this is attacked and expelled; whatever injures it is not allowed to continue for a single day. (61)
It is clear, then, I think for what end we should abstain from flesh and wine. The end is threefold; to check indulgence, which is mostly practiced in this sort of food, and in this kind of drink goes in length of intoxication; to protect weakness, on account of the things that are sacrifices and offered in libation; and, what is most praiseworthy of all, from love, not to offend the weakness of those more feeble than ourselves, who abstain from all things.…Prove then to me your doctrine that flesh eating defiles the eater, when it is taken without offending any one, without any weak notions and without any excuses. (79)
Why speciesism is evil
palang, Gruppe Messel
We don’t need to discuss whether a person or group is evil in all aspects, when we want to evaluate if an act of speciesism (committed by a person or group) is evil and condemnable.
In general often people who commit any type of evil, do not seem to their social environment like they would hold an “evil” potential, meaning, that a person can have different aspects about them, or also purposely mask their not-so-good sides. Another thing to keep in mind is that every chapter of human history taught us, that what some might have felt as beneficial to them, was plain evil to others who were negatively affected by a “gain” of someone else.
Speciesism is a (specific) form of oppression – and as such it is evil:
A.) Assuming that speciesism was merely a historical accidence, would mean to deny that nonhuman animals could have ever been perceived as something else than “objects”, and with that as “objects of speciesism”. Acts of speciesism are conscious acts of violating other (animal) individuals. Nonhuman animals are not automatically only viewable as objects.
My position is, that our degrading views of nonhuman animals today and in our shared history (i.e. the arguments with which we mark the nonhuman animal world as less- or non-relevant), are kinds of attitudes based on a totalitarian layer that society continuously enacts and that is functioning by society’s willingness to accept this form of a system; we compel and force members of our society to adopt speciesist attitudes, however we can step out of such a system and resist, like we can equally resist to take part in other forms of oppressive structures.
B.) To assume that speciesist acts could be done without any conscious form of evil will and behaviour, means that we rule out the quality of evil which we face in the given oppressive context that speciesism marks. Every “procedure” done, that violates the physical and mental integrity of a nonhuman animal individual (directly or indirectly), is a conscious act and an act of will – even when the human individual who commits this act, finds and is offered and taught excuses to rationalize his or her deeds as necessary or non-evil.
Speciesism is evil because it masks as being an acceptable form of viewing nonhuman animal others as: ownable, definable, edible, usable, ignorable … as passive objects or “eternal victims”, the list seems endless.
I do think that as an Animal Liberationist one is accountable to tell the facts about the forms of conscious human evil that we face in speciesist oppression.
Revised version of http://simorgh.de/niceswine/why-speciesism-is-evil
We might need to clarify when we say:
“extend our moral circle” in regards to a nonhuman inclusion, weather we keep insisting that moral agency covers only humans or whether we recognize that the nonhuman beings also act as moral agents in the context seen of their cultures but equally touching ours.
Our moral circles can touch, can work like interfaces. How do we define morality?
If it’s e.g. an ethically, value, sense and meaning-inspired social-ability, then we share it in our different ways. If morality is just an arbitrary human concept, it is going stay as a representant for human exceptionalism.
Palang @ Gruppe Messel
“Homo sapiens” – systems of speciesism
What is it in people that makes zoocide and ecocide possible?
The assumption that only the “homo” is “sapient” (knowing) – as in the taxonomical classification of the Homo sapiens as the crown of creation by Carl von Linné / Carolus Linnaeus – expresses that nonhuman animal knowledge and the nonhuman living world is considered to be of lesser or no (relevant) type of knowledge (from a human perspective).
The human is assumed to be knowing, the nonhuman to be not knowing.
This type of thought enabled argumentations for massmurder on the biologistical basis.
If your God decrees you to sacrifice
someone else’s life, other life …
If your God takes pleasure in
another life’s pain, in another life’s death
what God is that?
Religious sacrifice of nonhuman animal life,
Think about it.
Palang @ niceswine
Sacrifices, how dare they sacrifice our beloved ones, our hearts……..
Religion, a choice, and how can someone accept Gods who disrespect our lives? Animal lives.
Some take religion as “god given”, but it expresses only their own, their very own collectively nourished thinking.
Nonhumans talk with nonhumans
Nonhumans talk with ‘nature’
Humans talk about nature
and define it.
Who respects nature more? Who is more positively relevant to nature as a whole?
Nonhumans are. Human societies “love” nature while they negate it.
If you keep relegating animality into reductive frameworks while doing animal advocacy work, your activism isn’t really aware of the scopes of ethical, political, sociological interfaces between nature-animality-humanity …
Messel; Nonhuman-inclusive; Animal Autonomy
Where intersections turn crossroads: shared factors of oppressive functions, separating markers. Seeing what makes each case unique might help putting the puzzles together.
With all the intersections (and what I’d additionally call the interfaces equally) given, there are also clearly factors that in the end of the day categorically separate one system of oppression from another, and in the case of the functionalities of nonhuman animal oppression we have these unique markers that we must address in order to analyse what exactly this phenomenon ‘speciesism’ is.
The mechanisms of sexism, racism, ableism and basically any way in which living individuals are actively and passively negated can be understood in their specific manifestations, that are specifically experienced by the individuals and groups who become victimized and who are affected. Intersectionally in terms of nonhuman oppression we would need the factor of having experienced being designated the role of actual “food” for example in a completely righteous manner, not in an ambiguous state. We can’t deny that nonhumans know what they are the victims of, that would be highly biologistically speciesist. The complexity of oppression is fully known by the affected nonhuman individuals and groups.
That being said one must add that it is true that life is being negated in its dignity in any cases where oppression takes place. It would be problematic to draw lines of known -isms and for example overlook individual cases of denial of the right to life and dignity.
When we involve the complex-of-nature for example we are going to get rather into understanding how life overall is being classified and negated in a fundamental way, and that not just an oppressive class, but the individual enactor of destructivity is the thinking and acting agent that should be taken a look at (after all ending destructivity is an emancipatory process at its best).
If a nonhuman animal that is considered to be a “farmed animal” crosses a street where people walk and don’t expect him/her, and if a human who is oppressed crosses a street, we categorically have the scenario that no matter what the nonhuman animal will be considered a lower life in the specific sense of a food provider and a utilitarian-type “resource”. The nonhuman will be excluded from the human race – which is a problem in itself – but be be relegated in the realm of “nature”, which is the sort of “antagonist” to human”” existence. This makes up speciesism and such type of specifics need to be analysed in all detail.
When activists solely focus on nonhumans, they tend to leave nonhumans within the biologistic speciesist paradigm. Intersectionality gets us away from biologist patterns to a partly ambivalent extent. Yet what makes speciesism speciesism, and what makes oppression oppression, and what makes humanity in total to have lived on a specifically nonhuman animal and nature oppressive basis and on other oppressive bases that affect any life in any possibility? I want to face human-created histories in terms of all existent injustices equally.