Animal portrayals in language 1

CN: animal portrayals in language

Why do speciesists and antispeciesist alike verbally make/cite basic similar descriptions when it comes to talking about Nonhuman activities, referring to instinctual behavior patterns more or less? Observationwise they both obviously fetch their language from the same biologistic box. As if lived subjectivity, outside that of a “human” self, was non-describable. As if an idea of generic pictograms ruled our language about what in reality is the nonhuman autonomy missed by these portrayals per definition.

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.

No shared positions on animal and human ethics


If a high in human ethics is inseparably accompanied by factual animal degradation coming in any form, then such ethics are questionable and can’t be left uncriticized because of the imperative of “humanness”.
antibiologistic antispeciesist animal sociology

Human ethics are questionable in how they function within. To use the notion of “humanness” to legitimate objectifications of animal bodies is part of the prolongment of inner human injustice equally as it is injustice towards nonhumans. The forced, expected exclusive solidarity with “the human” separates the logics of socio-ethical communities from one another.
antibiologistic antispeciesist animal sociology

Pluralism works


Criticizing human supremacism while practicing it?
An animal sociology should in our view ideally be a system of full access to animality, i.e. nonhumans are social agents, the old view of “society” as “the strictly human realm” is passe. We live on earth.
It doesn’t make sense otherwise. #animalsociology #antispe
For an antibiologistic antispeciesist animal sociology!

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….

 

Biologistic speciesism and you

We want to satisfy our basic sensual needs, because we’re instinctual beings – unlike you are. We forage, we breed, we think in terms of territory, we are intelligent and sensitive, but all within the frame of instinct. And that’s more or less all you need to know to understand our kind of being human. This is how biologistic speciesism works – in and outside the animal rights movement (…). It applies a reductive lens to your life, where all you do is predetermined by behavioral parameters they tie to their abstract and arbitrary concept of “instinct”. Concepts like “thinking” are understood as bound to biological markers, language is just seen as comparably primitive – again bound to instinctual behaviour, e.g.
Antispeciesist Animal Sociology

Why speciesism is evil

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

The mild speciesism continuum

 
mild_speciesism_1e conscious

Conscious about speciesism
And yet you study nonhuman animals
Through indirect, abstract, theory-driven lenses
Not through the uniquely and ultimately
emancipated channels
of perception
your antispeciesist views would take.

– Palang LY

See also thought: Defining Nonhumans as ‘INSTINCTUAL’ is species-derogative and biologistic

Dislocation of oppressive systems

seeiDo you think anybody can sucessfully sell their speciesism by pretending to be anti-racist? What about people who believe that racism and speciesism are dislocated systemic forms of oppression and who prefer to stay uninformed about oppressive mechanisms/methods?! 
@tierlichkeit
, gruppe messel
wir_sind_weniger