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.)
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.)
In the story of the Garden of Eden, our early ancestors find themselves confronted by a choice.
They’re already developing an increasingly complex self-awareness that gives them the ability to think in terms of good and bad. And they’re acquiring an existential understanding of their personal mortality.
As this awareness grows, they find themselves hearing two voices: one calling them back to a state of innocence in paradise; the other beckoning them forward to a future where they might become “as gods” in their own right, taking dominion over the world, freeing themselves from their animality, and even becoming immortal.
(Second in a series about how and why our relationship to our fellow animals has deteriorated to the point of an unfolding mass extinction.)
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?
The horsemeat scandal that’s eating away at Europe isn’t about bad food or labeling or criminal black markets. It’s about the violation of cultural taboos.
Every culture has its food taboos, and for some people, eating horses is one of those. But what we really need is a new set of taboos that aren’t rooted in outdated religions and will engender a new relationship with our fellow animals.
It’s hard to argue that murdering children with an assault weapon is what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they said that a “well-regulated militia” could protect a “free state” at a time when the newborn nation was fighting for its life against the British Empire.
But this is not about rational arguments. Something much deeper is going on. Why are so many Americans afraid of losing their “right” to carry around practically any weapon of their choice? Why are they so emotional about it?