A new relationship with animals, nature and each other.

How We Go About Insisting We’re Not Animals – Video

“I Am Not an Animal!”
The signature cry of our species

February 24 – 25, 2017
A symposium at the Emory Conference Center, Atlanta

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The big questions we face in the coming years, and how to relate to them.

Session Topics
Presentations, Q&A, and discussion.

Speaker Bios
Experts in the fields of psychology, ecology, philosophy, humanities, law and advocacy.

Why are we humans unable to come to grips with what we’re doing and change our behavior? How this symposium came to be.

Join us for this first-of-a-kind gathering.

Substantial discount available at the Emory Conference Center Hotel.

Video Backgrounders
1. How we tell ourselves we’re not really animals.
2. Why we insist we’re not really animals.
3. What Cave Paintings Tell Us
4. King Oedipus and the End of the World

Video Interviews:
What Zoos Tell Us About Ourselves with Randy Malamud, author of Reading Zoos.
Why It’s So Hard to Think Straight about Animals with Hal Herzog, author of Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat.
How Thinking about Death Makes Us More Supportive of Killing Other Animals with Uri Lifshin of Univ. or Arizona.

First in a series of short video backgrounders for the upcoming “I Am Not an Animal” symposium.

In this first video, we look at our deep need as humans to insist that we’re not animals – not part of the family of great apes – despite all the evidence to the contrary.

The French novelist and philosopher Albert Camus wrote that “man is the only creature who doesn’t want to be what he is.” And the thing we don’t want to be most of all is an animal.

According to those who believe in human exceptionalism, we humans are “above” the other animals. They reassure us that we have souls and minds and intelligence and empathy, etc., and that the other animals don’t.

We build these ideas into our religions and cultures and even our science, and we try to buttress them by treating our fellow animals as commodities and resources that exist primarily for our benefit as food and entertainment and as research subjects. It’s as if, by making tigers jump through hoops and killer whales take their trainers for rides around a concrete pool, we’re proving our superiority over these iconic species.

But what we’re actually doing is bringing about a mass extinction. Today, there are fewer than half the number of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles than were on the planet in the year 1970.

Author and ecologist Carl Safina calls us “a gigantic killing force for almost everything else that lives on Earth.”

So, what makes us such a destructive species? It’s the critically important, key question we’ll be exploring at the upcoming symposium (February 24-25, 2017, in Atlanta).

In the next video in this series, we’ll take a look at the work of the social psychologist who set out to answer this question in his 1973 Pulitzer Prize-winning book.

Next video in this series: Why we tell ourselves we’re not really animals.