"I Am Not an Animal" – the signature cry of our species
It's surely the most important question in the world today: Why are we humans driving the Earth into a Sixth Great Extinction – an extinction event that will likely include our own species?
Why, despite the fact that there are more animal protection groups and more environmental organizations than ever before, is the situation for our fellow animals and the whole world of nature getting worse by the day?
And why do we humans, a supposedly highly intelligent species, continue hurtling down this catastrophic track?
This is the first in an occasional series of videos and other posts that set out to address these critical questions.
In this video, we look at our need, as humans, to pretend to ourselves that we're not animals and to distance ourselves from the other animals and the world of nature.
Being an animal means being mortal, and we humans are blessed and cursed with a level of self-awareness that enables us to reflect on our past and our future. But when we look ahead and imagine our future, we see the one inevitable, unstoppable event toward which we're progressing: our death.
So we spend our lives in a state of anxiety – conscious or unconscious – trying to avoid and deny this terrifying fact. And we do this mostly by rejecting our own animal nature.
The effects of this on how we treat our fellow animals, and on how we treat each other, are devastating.
This denial of death is at the heart of the human condition, and psychologists who study it have not been able to come up with a way through.
So, is there a way out of this predicament? And how would it apply to each of us?
Guess one of reasons behind this cry also understanding of what, exactly, humans do to animals. We fear to be in the same cage, same situation as we put others in.
Great piece on one of our core assumptions. The idea that we humans aren't animals is everywhere, as I noticed again recently, when asked the dif. between a necropsy and autopsy. According to a go-to source for health stuff:
"The main difference between a necropsy and an autopsy is that a necropsy is performed on animals and an autopsy is performed on humans."- See more at: http://www.healthguideinfo.com/infectious-disease/p50353/#sthash.OoCCWPAo.dpuf
Such a deeply intelligent presentation.All I would add is that for some of us, it may be important to note that while religion can mean a separation between people and other animals – it doesn’t have to.There have been religions throughout history which have held that other animals – and even rocks and stones – have spirits.
"Telling ourselves that 'I am not an animal' is something we all do – even those of us in the animal protection movement who care deeply about what's happening to our fellow animals." I, for one, do not tell myself that, and it really irks me to hear others refer to people they dislike as being "animals." Instead, I like to consider myself a loyal subject of the animal kingdom, and I try to live up to that.
@elizabethdf It certainly doesn't have to. For many of us, identifying with our fellow animals, working to protect, and living in a way that doesn't harm them is our religion - what we believe in and what ties us together.
@elizabethdf Absolutely. I know that many indigenous cultures hold these beliefs, and many of us who were raised in the "Big Three" have gravitated in those directions. Wish there were a whole lot more.
@michaelmountain @elizabethdf I agree that we can live lives that do as little harm as possible to other species, but at the level we have reached, it would be pure hypocrisy to pretend that our very existence isn't based on the wholesale slaughter of other species. Apart from the horrors of animal agriculture, so much of our "developed" world has come to be as a result of enormous habitat destruction. Even at the simplest level of human social organization, our species has been extremely destructive of others. I am a strong believer in animal rights, but the foundation of human society has been based on the destruction of so many other beings.