A new relationship with animals, nature and each other.

“I Am Not an Animal!” – the video

(. . . and join us at the
“I Am Not an Animal!”
symposium in Atlanta,
February 24-25, 2017.
Register here.)

“I Am Not an Animal”

It’s the signature cry of all humanity. For thousands of years, we humans have sought to see ourselves as superior to all the other animals.

How did this come to be, and how has it led to the unfolding of a Sixth Mass Extinction?

“I Am Not an Animal!” the Signature Cry of Our Species
One: What’s driving us to treat our fellow animals as commodities – even as we drive them to extinction. And why the animal protection movement can never succeed.

What Happened at the Tree of Knowledge
Two: How the birth of civilization changed our relationship to the other animals.

The Birth of Human Exceptionalism
Three: How and when we humans decided we didn’t want to think of ourselves as animals.

Taking Dominion and Subduing the Earth
Four: Nothing says “We’re superior” better than having tigers jumping through hoops.

The Psychology of “I Am Not an Animal”
Five: When we’re reminded of our mortality, we react by having a more negative view of other kinds of animals.

The Post-Human Future
Six: Finally, we ask: Where do we go from here, and is there any way out of our situation.

Video: “I Am Not an Animal” – the signature cry of our species.
Michael Mountain on why we humans need to pretend to ourselves that we’re not animals.

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?

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?