Animal Portrayals in Mythology: Eating Animals and Moral Decay – Iblis and Zahhak in the Shahnameh

Animal Portrayals in Mythology: Eating Animals and Moral Decay – Iblis and Zahhak in the Shahnameh.

This also is an interesting case of an ‘absent referent’, who yet is (one could maybe say:) “an absent ethical factor’.

An interpretation by Farangis of ‘Zahhak and Iblis’:

The epic Shahnameh tells us about people’s behavior in a language full of images. The people and the kings decide for themselves and for others. There are the loved and the unloved rulers, everywhere we come across the intelligent, the stupid, the prudent, the weak, the strong, the active and the apathetic.

One tale of the Shahnameh epic seemed of special interest to Farangis, a story which tells about the human behavior in relation to diet or eating habits, in which a normally neglected aspect is being described of how someone experiences a change in character because of their eating habit.

Today we learn a lot about the impact of our eating habits on our physical health. In this story about Zahhak the attention is directed towards the damaging impact a diet can have on the mental condition or on the soul. The story tells how eating killed animals has changed the character of people. Shouldn’t we consider this story as relevant for our current society?

Read the story here: http://zahhak.farangis.de/index.htm, or in an alternative version here: http://www.simorgh.de/objects/131208_1/. The Warner and Warner translation excerpt can be read here: http://zahhak.farangis.de/sources/zahhak_excerpt.pdf. (It must be noted that the original Persian version is completely not alike the Warner translation.)

* the passage in the story mainly referred to, is the section “How Iblis turned Cook”.

We’ve long been featuring this story on this blog in our links section (see below). During the time of our blogging on here we have collected so far a few items on Animal Mythology and on the issue of Animal Portrayals. Please see these sections:

http://www.simorgh.de/objects/category/animal-portrayals/

http://simorgh.de/niceswine/tag/animal-mythologies-and-representations

http://simorgh.de/niceswine/category/sources-for-the-animal-portrayals-series

http://www.simorgh.de/objects/tag/mythology/ (some entries may overlap)

http://simorgh.de/about/category/tierethik-und-mythologie/ this is in German )

Finally: Two protagonists in the Shahnameh eventually find out that the only existing cure to “the malady” is a complete removal of a violence-based “nutrition”; all blood and everything that’s been gained through violence has to be removed from one’s body.

Steve from the The Drag Hook about the urgency of ethical veganism to make the U-turn against global destruction

Steve, vocalist of the vegan hardcoreband The Drag Hook from Cleveland, told us about ethical veganism:

Veganism is an important step on the road to acknowledging and ending suffering worldwide. The fact that the human body has evolved to run most efficiently on a completely vegan diet is a side benefit of living as close to a cruelty free life as is humanly possible in the world today.

Once we stop ignoring the fact that creatures with the capacity to love and enjoy their lives are being tortured and murdered every day in the name of gluttony and greed, we can start addressing this problem and every other form of needless destruction we inflict on this planet and all those we share it with.

We as human beings have a long history of doing terrible things to each other and to all of our fellow earthlings. We must right these wrongs or go extinct trying.

-Steve Osborne XVX
The Drag Hook

Ignorance Is Complicity

they live in the space you ignore
they die on the killing room floor
because they’re born for you to waste
they give their lives for the way they taste
this is real monstrosity
ignorance is complicity
Breed them in new mutated forms
so fat they cant lift themselves off the floor
dying in numbers too large to record
sold to your plate before they are born
this is real monstrosity
ignorance is complicity
everyone knows the difference
between chained and free
there will be a war
until every cage is empty

Not In My Name

let them suffer no more for me
let the walls that cage them topple over, let them be free
let the hand that grips the whip be severed clean
let eyes that witness and do nothing, no longer see
carry their cries out to every ear
let no one enjoy their pain without having to hear
Bread to be tortured and killed
raped into existence then fed to the world
this will not be my legacy
i wont go down with the rest of my species.

Both these tracks are from their January 2014 release: Lethal Dose.

Connect via
Bandcamp: https://thedraghook.bandcamp.com

Orel Ofoi, singer of Paris-based vegan band FTA, on animal ethics and veganism as global ethics

Orel Ofoi is the singer of the Paris-based vegan band FTA. We asked Orel about how she sees animal- and vegan ethics and their contexts:

My idea of the ethic regarding the respect of animals and animal protection is really a global ethic: The respect for animals will have an impact on environmental protection and on the respect for human beings themselves.

In the Judeo-Christian religion, for instance, the majority of people read the biblical text with the notion that humans stand at the centre of the world, and that they have to dominate the earth and the animals, thus dismissing the image of the human as a shepherd: who is a friend and protector face to face, on the same ground with the environment and other lives … .

I think that we should see the relationship between humans and animals as a relation of “co-creatures”, based on respect, love and protection of the others.

The Earth is our mother, and the human is the most dangerous animal for her and her environment.

An individual awareness all over the world would be necessary to see a real evolution; one, by fighting those who’ve become cancerous to the planet, who murder us physically and alienate us on a daily basis; I speak about Monsanto for example or also the lobbyists (pharmaceutical or agro food, etc.).

I believe that it is necessary to support ethical producers and to not hesitate with sharing the message, because we need to stick together and to be united to see a real revolution and a real ethical evolution.

Not merely human attributes! Friendbeast’s Koala Largess on vegan intersectionality

We asked Friendbeast from Baltimore about vegan intersectionality

Koala the vocalist of Friendbeast told us:

As an anarchist, I look at the relationships of power. This doesn’t preclude the relationship that humans have to the world around them. If we want real anticapitalist structural change, we need to look at the most basic part of our lives, what we eat and how we relate to it – our food. Bodies, hearts, and minds are not merely a human attribute, and forcing deprivation, sexualization, and then death upon other creatures debases our humanity and throws us deeper into a capitalist web.

Friendbeast – Caged

I could sell her to a lab
Euthanize her tomorrow
Society says she’s property
All I want is an end to this.

CHORUS:
Bought
Sold
Kept in a cage

There is no freedom in the exploitation of another

Bought
Sold
Kept in a cage

There is no dignity in the ownership of another

Systems of power
Desire to control
Fuck your disregard
Fuck this domination
No one should have ownership over another
Animals shouldn’t be confined
Alone…
Cold…
Waiting for your curiosity

Connect through
Bandcamp: http://friendbeast.bandcamp.com/
FB: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Friendbeast/465040923548720

Spiknykter’s Simon on intersectional veganism

Swedish hardcore band Spiknykter’s Simon told us on intersectional veganism:

I have been vegan for many different reasons over the years, and I just keep getting more and more reasons why I should continue to be vegan.

Recently I learned that the abuse of animals and sexual violence are statistically connected. Apparently it’s common that the violent part does not start to exert violence on their partner, but starts practicing – so to speak – on a pet or other animals.

That, among other things, made it clear to me that empathy towards nonhuman animals is important, not only for its own sake, but also for being emphatic towards other people too.

Spiknykter – Arg som 17

jag brukade va ledsen, nu ä jag bara arg
på borgare, sexister och folk som skjuter varg
andra skaffar jobb och stil och ilskan klingar av
men jag blir bara mera arg, för varje jävla dag

10 år av aggression
spottar och fräser till pension

jag brukade va uppgiven nu är jag bara sur
på USA och Israel och deras jävla mur
andra går och gifter sig och slutar styra härj
snackar rött men röstar blått och hymlar med sin färg

gamla guben, arg som fan
grinig, sur och tvär vegan

kvar är agget fast jag tappat mitt hår
gnisslar tänder i sömnen och odlar mitt magsår
svär över diskbrock och högerpolitik
över kids som är nöjda och snutabyk

Connect via
FB: https://www.facebook.com/Spiknykter
Bandcamp: http://spiknykter.bandcamp.com/

xNO MOREx – vegan hardcore from Minneapolis on intersectionality

xNO MOREx – vegan sxe hardcore from Minneapolis.

We asked Anthony, the vocalist of xNO MOREx, about the fundamentals of intersectionality and veganism:

This text as a PDF (link opens in a new window)

Veganism comes down to 2 issues. And those are Capitalism and Patriarchy.

I think that with Veganism, we have to realize that although we are clearing our own conscience by not eating animal products or using animal tested body care or what have you, it will only go so far. Veganism is so complex and intersectional to all other aspects of oppression. Unfortunately, its something a lot of vegans don’t seem to realize. Whether it be ableism, classism, sexism, transphobia, racism etc. these are all issues that really come down to capitalism and/or patriarchy.

You look at something like animal liberation. Sure, 5 million vegans in the United States is better than none, but these animals are still not liberated, they’re not free from oppression and speciesism, they’re still referred to as “its” instead of he’s and she’s. Veganism is a spark for something so much bigger, it’s really just the beginning of an eye opening perspective on the systematic oppressions that exist in our society.

Capitalism for example, a system that has been created where you actually have to pay for (work for) food, which is essential to the body to be able to live. What kind of a society have we created when we say, “I understand you need food to live, and it grows out of the ground all the time, but in order to obtain this food, you have to work according to a value somebody else has put on this job that society has forced you to work. The same goes for housing, as recent as 2011, there were thought to be roughly 3.5 million people homeless in the United States of America, and yet, there were 18 million unoccupied homes. But capitalism says that these people don’t deserve to have a home or a roof over their heads because of these fallacies it has created about money, power and “freedom.”

Things like factory farming will always exist so long as capitalism is still in place. People will eat, sleep, breathe and watch whatever they’re told to by these corporations, and cheese burgers are definitely no different. Animals are nothing more than property to these people and corporations, so to them, they see a cow producing milk, they see dollar signs, so they will force that down your throat until you buy, buy and buy some more.

But again, these are issues that a lot of vegans still don’t understand or care to realize. This is why intersectionality is important and vital. It’s all one singular issue of oppression that all leads back to Patriarchy and Capitalism.

Veganism must be intersectional, otherwise its counter productive. It’s ALWAYS important to question how you see things, how you’ve been raised to look at ideas and society. A Vegan isn’t doing a ton of good to the world if they are preaching animal rights but being a sexist or ableist asshole at the same time. You’re taking one step forward in one movement but 2 steps back in another, completely failing to realize that they are the same movement.

Blood Mouth

Murder is Murder, its all the fucking same.
You can wrap it up and give it a nice sounding name.
But your lies just don’t make it humane
269 its all of our names
Years cut short, they still bleed out, all the
fucking same. Grass fed or knee deep in shit.
It’s still murder, all the same.

Intro / Value

I don’t value life based on mental capacity
not on gender, sex, race, or nationality
Humans aren’t the only species who
deserve basic rights.
Eat. Live. Free.

FB: https://www.facebook.com/xNOxMOREx
Bandcamp: http://xnoxmorex.bandcamp.com/

We asked Per Aspera about ethics, veganism and its intersectional grounds

We asked Per Aspera from Chicago, IL, about their stance on veganism, and their thoughts on the “how to” of veganism’s intersectional condition

Per Aspera’s guitarist Nicholas Schmidt told us:

For starters, we strongly believe that it is gravely immoral to support and/or engage in the practice of murder, imprisonment, rape, and torture of living creatures. This applies not just to our fellow Homo sapiens sisters and brothers, but to all feeling beings.

The fundamental logic underpinning our decision to abstain from supporting the animal exploitation industry explicitly requires us to be opposed to all forms of systemic oppression that serve only the interest of the ruling elite. Hence our communal opposition to capitalism, fascism, patriarchy, racism, and environmental destruction are necessary components of responsible, honest, and consistent animal welfare activism.

With that said, engaging in any sort of radical political thought or action guarantees an intense amount of social baggage to encourage a placid and largely benign movement. When organizing in opposition to such mainstream and widespread power dynamics, it can be incredibly tempting to siphon off oneself or one’s small social clique from the rest of society. The antisocial message so common in punk and radical left circles serves to remove the possibility of organizing mass popular movements necessary to confront oppressive institutions across the whole of society. Furthermore, these tendencies offer no substantive vision and strategy for a society we are indeed capable of creating on this planet, as activism may be reduced to personal lifestyle decisions. Admittedly a somewhat ironic argument to hear from a DIY punk/metal band, we feel that the persistent drive to alienate left-wing struggles from working class culture resembles the same counter-productive prejudices that have plagued social justice movements for so long in regards to women, people of color, the natural world, and now with ever more increasing awareness, our fellow non-human companions.

The liberation of Mother Earth from the systemic diseases we have brought upon her is completely dependent on our ability to reach out, connect, and organize with all people who are experiencing the same oppressions, in whatever form, from our own backyards and neighborhoods, to the world at large. Ya dig?

Per Aspera – Shikata Ga Nai

We live with the lie that everything dies,
It’s only the spectres we perceive alive.
We personify existence in the natural world,
So we can mourn the proof of our own remorse.

I reject the notion that a desert of pain is the only universe that we have to explain.
As the memories of our families evaporate into space.

The hollow woman kicking blood,
Reminds us what waits in our blood.
As she cries for her slaughtered friends,
The vacuum of space hears no dead ends.

So I will cry when my friends die, and I won’t forget to live,
With passion, vigor, love, and fear of losing all that I hold dear.

Bandcamp: http://perasperapunk.bandcamp.com
Tumblr: http://perasperapunk.tumblr.com
FB: https://www.facebook.com/PerAsperaPunk
Contact: perasperapunk [at] gmail [dot] com

Vegan Mergers: Sanctuaries, Veganic Land ‘use’ and Biotopes

This comment comes as two vids on Youtube: Part 1Part 2.

Can we combine sanctuaries / protected spaces, and veganic land ‘use’ and merge them into new intergrative comprehensive models?

For a non-anthropocentric and anti-speciesist inclusionary organic vegan (veganic) agriculture:

There so far is no such thing as a stated “positive” veganic (that means: organic vegan agricultural) animal rights consciousness.

I wonder why it does not occur to most other vegans in the veganic (vegan organic) movement, that humans and nonhuman animals can co-exist without exploitation?

It’s obvious that the forceful exploitation of the reproductive system of nonhumans must be fought against. And any form of overpopulation (especially the forced one) is disastrous for the planet.

Paramount from a vegan standpoint is that we ought to create and protect space for those lives, which had but no choice.

Sanctuaries and veganic projects should grow into comprehensively integral safe-spaces, where all beings find natural spaces to co-exist.

I think we cannot say that it is speciesist and exploitative if both humans and nonhuman animals live together in a natural space without harming, exploiting or using each other.

I believe that we as vegans ought to aim for the civilisatory goal to live together with other animals on this planet in a peaceful manner, and mixed communities, based on the idea of sanctuaries, biotopes and veganic ecological models, could be established.

If we are not going to develop a consciousness for co-existence in practice, we fail at creating an all-encompassing life-affirming ethic.

Why do we perpetuate the mislead assumptions that the only options we can chose from as humans are either degrading nonhuman animals or otherwise totally excluding them and making them nonexistent in a desired perhaps utopian daily reality?

To me the bigger segment of the veganic movement appears as if it creates and expresses a bifurcation in what veganism ideally should and could mean.

As good at it looks now, and as much as vegan farming practices are heading for the major part in a promising, important and ethically inevitable direction, the veganic code of ethics nevertheless comes short at addressing the key factor of veganism which is the ideal of including all animals and thus re-establishing their rights.

As ethical vegans we owe the idea of the animal sanctuary our fullest commitment.

(This is an altered version of my comment:  Veganic plus Animal Sanctuaries plus Ethics)

 

Anti-Speciesism, another angle

FRAGMENT

Making Anti-Speciesism itself a subject

We rightly want to ask people to do more than donate money to animal advocacy groups. We rather hope that people make others aware of veganism – in ethical terms. So only or mainly talking about vegan health and cooking (for instance) isn’t doing the job (far less is promoting vegan consumerism).

In which way to thematize speciesism?

1. By comparison …

A lot of the drawings of analogies are taken in reference to racism and sexism. In the discussions though the weight tends to lay more on the specifics of racist and sexist psychology, in those analogies, than on the juxtaposed speciesist type of psychological mindsets.

2. With cases …

On the other hand activists who discuss actual on the spot atrocities that are taking place and which mark those faces of speciesism, they do show the sheer extremes of killing, and those extremes again can’t be directly compared with other forms of discrimination. (At least we are confronted here with the fact that every category of an atrocity has own contextualities.)

How do you thematize speciesism?

In the frame of human anthropology? Or by comparing biological observations and findings on nonhuman / humans … ? Sociologically?

How?

My first suggestion is – cos I really do see that too little we describe how speciesism psychologically works in practice, is: let us have a look at the HOW’S of how speciesism manifests in basically many varying forms.

This is a highly fragmentary list for going into that direction:

QUOTE:

Many forms of speciesism

Objectifying nonhuman animals takes various forms:

– in legal terms nonhumans are classified as property

– in religious terms the separation is being made spiritually, man is preferred and given the right to dominate all that is on earth

– philosophical schools may give an array of different reasons for why whichever form of speciesism might be ethically sound or a right view to maintain

– the natural sciences differentiate between beings driven by instinct, the lower forms of life, the higher forms and man with the supposedly most complex make up of mind and brain.

– carnism could be said to be a term for one form of speciesism that classifies domesticated farm animals only (or finally, as in the case of horses and some exotic animals that are eaten such as ostriches) as “meat” or suppliers of food.

– pets on the other side are. in spite of being loved by our society, also affected by speciesist views on them.

– wild animals are forced to make up the object for hunters and hunting culture’s needs to re-exercise continuously the idea of a primeval and supposedly ideal condition of man as the hunter and gatherer.

– but also wild animals are affected by argumentations that target them in terms of whether they are intrusive species or should be seen as protectable.

For every animal species we seem to get one or more forms of speciesist views, classifications, argumentations. In every aspect that defines the human view on his or her environment we seem to come across a derogative stance on nonhumans.

When we discuss speciesism we should bear in mind how complex and difficult to analyze the subjugative view on animal life is in our cultures and societies.

-ENDQUOTE, source

I think taking a direct look at the cloaked psychology behind speciesism (itself), we can get closer to the framework that enables a speciesist society in the first place.

With ‘cloaked psychology’ I don’t mean a model such as it was discussed with the ‘carnism’-term, which focussed on two forms of speciesism basically: pets that are loved, yet have no rights, and so called farm animals that are being killed for “food”, and have of course also no rights.

With ‘cloaked psychology’ I mean questions of why as a fact human traits are values over nonhuman animal traits, or the same goes for ‘interests’, features, attributes, realities, etc.

By breaking down the probably manifold components of the speciesist framework, we can find our way through a mess of a collective-psychological character, I think.

 

The Orphic vegetarian lifestyle in ancient Greece, Frugivore civilizations unknown, and new perspectives on the “history” of the religious murder of nonhumans

Greek goddesses of revenge, the Erinyes, in a painting by Farangis “raise themselves in a threatening way over the meddling of war, the killing of nonhuman animals, the destruction of the forests and of the life within the waters, they observe life in the big cities.”

Three Snippets

The Orphic vegetarian lifestyle in ancient Greece, Frugivore civilizations unknown, and new perspectives on the “history” of the religious murder of nonhumans

“The importance placed on the next life encouraged Orphics and Christians alike to defer their pleasures in this one. Both groups sought to live a life of chastity and abstinence (the Orphics were vegetarians) that was incongruous with the society around them. It was also cause for surprise that both practiced friendship to strangers, not merely to people of their own race and creed, as the Greeks and Jews tended to do. But this was a natural conclusion from the principle that each person was in essence divine. Consequently Orphism was the first religion in Europe, and perhaps the first anywhere, to preach what we think of as “Christian” virtues, to promise an afterlife whose quality depended on their practice, and to institute mysteries as a foretaste of the soul’s future destiny. The Orphics had been the first philosophers of Greece and the spiritual ancestors of the Pythagorean and Platonic schools, renowned for asceticism and for belief in the immortality of the soul. Now, in the Orphic revival, they stamped their principles on the new religion. Through numerical coding of key words and phrases in the Greek (New) Testament, Christianity was linked with the Pythagorean tradition, in which music and number were the first principles of the universe.”

Joscelyn Godwin: The Orphic Mysteries (acc 20.09.2017, see also this link otherwise)

See also International Vegetarian Union (IVU) Info on Orphic communities.

***

Plato, The Laws, reference to civilizations that rejected or did not practice animal sacrifice:

Clinias
Of course. [782c]

Athenian
The custom of men sacrificing one another is, in fact, one that survives even now among many peoples; whereas amongst others we hear of how the opposite custom existed, when they were forbidden so much as to eat an ox, and their offerings to the gods consisted, not of animals, but of cakes of meal and grain steeped in honey, and other such bloodless sacrifices, and from flesh they abstained as though it were unholy to eat it or to stain with blood the altars of the gods; instead of that, those of us men who then existed lived what is called an “Orphic life,” keeping wholly to inanimate food and, [782d] contrariwise, abstaining wholly from things animate.

Clinias
Certainly what you say is widely reported and easy to credit.

Athenian
Someone might ask us— “For what purpose have you now said all this?”

Clinias
A correct surmise, Stranger.

Athenian
So I will try, if I can, Clinias, to explain the subject which comes next in order.

Clinias
Say on.

Athenian
I observe that with men all things depend on a threefold need and desire, wherein if they proceed rightly, [782e] the result is goodness, if badly, the opposite. Of these desires they possess those for food and drink as soon as they are born; and about the whole sphere of food every creature has an instinctive lust, and is full of craving, and quite deaf to any suggestion that they ought to do anything else than satisfy their tastes and desires for all such objects, and thus rid themselves entirely of all pain.

1 Or Persephone, daughter of the Earth-mother, Demeter. Triptolemus was a mythical hero of EIeusis, worshipped as the inventor and patron of agriculture.

Plato. Plato in Twelve Volumes, Vols. 10 & 11 translated by R.G. Bury. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1967 & 1968.

***

Animal sacrifice not central to Greek and Roman religious cults, thesis

“Jaś Elsner, whose paper I found the meatiest, so to speak, and most striking of the collection, shows that imagery of animal sacrifice on Roman monuments in many parts (but, importantly, not all) of the Roman world appears to be in decline from around 200 CE, being replaced by imagery related to “vegetarian” (here libation and incense burning) sacrifice. How to interpret this? An actual reflection of a change on the ground in sacrificial practice? A reflection of a change in ideology? If so, it would mean that animal sacrifice was in fact already in decline before the great Christian polemics against it, which seized on bloody sacrifice as a central image of all that was cruel and misguided about pagan practice. Elsner has grave suspicions that the modern theories that insist on this centrality of animal sacrifice are strongly influenced by the ideological claims of both Christian polemic and the official Roman reaction to Christianity and that we have been duped by this ancient propaganda into overrating the importance of animal sacrifice in actual practice and demoting other forms of offering such as libation and incense burning (see esp. 163; cf. Scheid 95).”

From: Christopher A. Faraone, F.S. Naiden (ed.), Greek and Roman Animal Sacrifice: Ancient Victims, Modern Observers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Pp. xiv, 209. ISBN 9781107011120. $95.00. Reviewed by Alexander Hollmann, University of Washington. (acc 28.06.2013)