A new relationship with animals, nature and each other.

Posts tagged ‘the human animal’

The “I Am NOT an Animal!” Symposium

It’s the big question – perhaps the only one that truly matters right now: “Why is it that, despite the continuing work of animal protection, conservation and ecological groups, the situation for most of our fellow animals continues to go from bad to worse?”

Speaker Bios

Carl Safina Carl Safina’s writing about the living world has won him a MacArthur “genius” prize; Pew, and Guggenheim Fellowships; book awards from Lannan, Orion, and…

Session Topics

Each session lasts an hour and half, divided into three parts: * a half-hour presentation by the speaker; * a half-hour Q&A conducted by an invited…

The Post-Human Future

Part Six in the series “I Am Not an Animal.” In previous posts, we looked at how our anxiety over our mortal, animal nature drives us to distance ourselves, psychologically and literally, from our fellow animals; at how ancient mythologies told of a “fall” from a time when we were in harmony with the other animals; and at how our belief in “human exceptionalism” has led us to treat them.

Now we ask: Where do we go from here, and is there any way out of our situation?

The Psychology of "I Am Not an Animal"

lori-marino-cat-021015(Fifth in a series about how and why our relationship to our fellow animals has deteriorated to the point of an unfolding mass extinction.)

By Dr. Lori Marino

However much we like to think of ourselves as different from and superior to the other animals, we can’t escape the fact that we are, just like them, mortal, physical creatures, equally subject to the laws of nature.

The existential terror that’s caused by this ever-present knowledge has been studied at length by psychologists in the field of Terror Management Theory (TMT).

How Our Immortality Projects Impact the Other Animals

In previous posts we’ve talked about how our relationship to our fellow animals and the way we treat them is driven by our anxiety over the fact that we’re animals, too, and our denial of our own animal nature.

In his book Immortality: The Quest to Live Forever and How it Drives Civilization, Stephen Cave discusses the chief ways in which we persuade ourselves that we’re not really animals, that we can avoid death altogether, or at least that some part of us will live on in some way after we’re dead. Here’s the trailer to the book:

In the first of two posts, Cave explains how, once we decide that we are fundamentally different in kind from other animals, we can then view them as having a lower moral status. And that, in turn, opens up "a whole world of possibilities for how we treat them."

Taking Dominion and Subduing the Earth

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Starting around 9,000 years ago, the agricultural era brought about the large-scale domestication of animals and a fundamental shift in our relationship to them. Less and less beings of great mystery and power, they were becoming, instead, commodities.

(Fourth in a series about how and why our relationship to our fellow animals has deteriorated to the point of an unfolding mass extinction.)

The Birth of Human Exceptionalism

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How and when did we humans decide we didn’t want to think of ourselves as animals any longer? How did we go from thinking of the other animals as essentially our equals to treating them as commodities that exist to be mined from the oceans by huge factory ships and manufactured from birth to death on factory farms?

It’s obviously a long and complex story, but we can get an idea of how it took place over thousands of years in various parts of the world.

(Third in a series about how and why our relationship to our fellow animals has deteriorated to the point of an unfolding mass extinction.)