Neovegan perspectives

erfane-secular_1a

Every living being on this earth has its own place in the universe – practically. The world should not be seen anthropocentrically simply because we can’t fathom the meaningfulness of other life in regards to those dimensions which we don’t know much or even anything about. Other “dimensions” of meaning aren’t restricted to physics and mathematical abstraction: ethics, and its substance (life!) too has dimensions beyond a narrow anthropocentric reach.

If I take the ethical vastness and comprehensiveness into account, I am able to see that every action I can do, and every wrong I don’t do, wherever I am, has an impact on the life around me. Taking the interest of all life into a wide ethical (in a sense of setting oneself in a creative relation) consideration, makes the action of the individual meaningful.

G. and F. Yegane Arani, 5 Neovegan Perspectives

Der Freund als Seele, die Seele als Freund

In der alt-iranischen Kultur galt Gott als das Prinzip aller Dinge und nicht als Schöpfer der Perfektion der Phänomene/der Welt.

Jede Seele eines Lebewesens galt als Haus, Sitz und Mitte des “Freundes” زوُش = زاوُوش – so lautete ein Name der alt-iranischen Gottheit/en.

Gott, der das Prinzip aller Freundschaft/Liebe bildet, ist Seele jedes Lebewesens, und so ist die Seele jedes Lebewesens auch die Grundlage der Freundschaft/Liebe.

In jeder Seele befindet sich dieses Prinzip der Freundschaft/Liebe und es bildet den Anlass der Suche und des Findens.

خدا، در فرهنگ ایران، «ا صل همه چیزهاست»، نه شخص خالقی که فراسوی چیزها وگیتی میباشد. پس جان هرانسانی، خانه ونشیمنگاه و میهنِ «دوست = زوُش = زاوُوش» هست که نام خدای ایران بوده است. خدا که اصل دوستی است، جان هرانسانیست، پس جان هرانسانی، اصل دوستیست. اینست که باید درجان هر انسانی، این دوست، این اصل دوستی را جُست و یافت.

– M. Jamali

How to dismantle speciesism?

Speciesism

– is not something unintentional, even if automatized for a big part in peoples thinking,

– it’s embedded in human history, it did not come overnight,

– it has many forms and problematic facets,

– and it is interconnected.

If we look at the foundations of this concept of species hierarchy (i.e. speciesism), we can see that a.) their fallacies can be dismantled, and b.) there is no option of not trying.

On what does speciesism base?

Different key aspect of speciesism lay in our perspectives and epistemologies coming from our angles of Religion/Spirituality, Rationality/Science, Philosophy, Culture/Civilization, Individuality/Society, in other words: the same factors that influence our outlooks on other humans and nature/the natural world.

The conflicts stemming from the systems underlying our views are comprehensive. Speciesism however is an expression of the fallacies of such systems.

This fragment as a PDF

TIERAUTONOMIE / Gruppe Messel

A not so clear relation: Animal Agency and Morality

Animal Agency and Morality

IS “MORAL AGENCY” A VALID CRITERION FOR CLASSIFYING DIFFERENT FACETS OF ANIMALITY?

The idea of “moral agency” resumes similar anthropocentric allocations in terms of biological and cultural demarkers, such as the conservative (species-hierarchical) hypotheses about Nonhumans have done.

The construction of “morality” as an act, should however ideally draw on non-anthropocentric perspectivic angles, to enable itself to touch upon the grounds of the large spectrum of co-existential modalities.

Questions:

1.) Which features, abilities and attributes are typically assumed as making up “animal agency” and, respectively, as typically making up “not-animal-agency”?

2.) On which criterions do these classifications base?

3.) What would a map of “animal agency” look like from a nonanthopocentric perspective?

TIERAUTONOMIE / Gruppe Messel

What is Animality, and what it isn’t

You are at risk of engaging in rhetorical branding if:

… ANIMALITY equals:

pigeonholing nonhuman animal otherness in (philosophical, religious, scientific, biologistic, aesthetic, anthropologic) terms of excluding zoopolitical spaces of animal autonomy.

… and if HUMANITY amounts to:

“we”, the “Homo sapiens”.

A new discourse needs fresh approaches – not just a new labelling system for an ongoing current of stable fallacies.

 

We speak with each other, somehow

First I ought to say I hope that nobody who might be picking up on this will be trying to take the issue in a simplisitc way. It is in no regards.

I’ve discussed the theme of ANIMAL LANGUAGES before in an essay I wrote a couple of years ago, and I am coming back to this topic in form of a additional project that I want to start on this site:

A Human + Nonhuman mutual translation project.

This is gonna be difficult, because I don’t want to imposed neither any potentially restricitve definitions on my nonhuman fellows that I am working with, nor do I want to cater to the chorus of voices who seek to belittle Nonhumans on the basis of their cultures and languages being different and for us not translatable.

But right here I must pause, because: why can’t we translate Nonhuman Animals?

As I previoulsy suggested, as anti-speciesist I don’t see a difference when it comes to trying to unserstand “my opposite” – I think we can try to understand each other possibly, if we come to see our own language (and parameters) as relative.

I come from a non- or der anti-biologistic and anti-humancentric approach, and I only want to turn my views into public input, because it is horrifically ridiculous and more than that tragic, that we narrow down the idea of language to a contemporary and highly restricted definition of the term.

Animals …

We speak. We all have different approaches of how we try to understand each other, but to draw a line based on biology is problematic, as long as we fail to question that parameter of explanation.

I suggest to get away from any speciesist paradigm (see fragment of forms of speciesism) and use plain and naked reason to find solitions to accepting communication as a fact in itself (without further reproach to explicability within a humancentric dominant context) and I believe a broadened classification of ‘language” in terms of our own human language even is needed, and which can’t aswell be narrowed down to a set of neurological and technical terms.

 

A vegan economy? Where to start.

Human society annexes every ‘natural’ space, primarily through societal economic processes.

‘Nonhuman Animal Rights’ thus have to cover all spaces on the globe – within human communities and within the natural environment overall.

In regards to creating a ‚vegan economy’:

1. First of all we should address the history of ‘rule and possession’.

a.) Different economic models have been historically existent. Which components came into play for forming current economical models (i.e. the capitalist economies and socialist inspired economies) in pure economic terms, politically, socially?

b.) Which forms of political rule went along with ‘ownership’ and ‘dominion’ (annexation of ‘nature)? And what created the basis of legitimization in rule, such as in: monarchies, democracies, tyrannies, as grounded for example on: religion, ideology, philosophy?

c.) How did forms of ‘rule’ and ‘authority’ interact with exploitative contractualist agendas such as imperialism, colonialism, nationalism?

An aspect to highlight: Legitimization falters or ends where the ‘entitlement’ for ‘rule and possession’ excludes and comes into conflict with interests / rights of other human beings, other animals and the ‘natural’ realm / ‘nature’.

2. Secondly we should see how ‘economy’, as a societal material construct, and ‘nature’, as an borderless/undefined space, conflict.

a.) What stands at the centre of the conflict between our human-centred economic matrices (as systems of ‘rule and possession’) versus ‘natural’ and autonomous life? What are core reasons for conflict? (The reasons might stand alongside the questions of legitimization.)
b.) Society’s inability for groundbreaking political change, and the inability for change on the private scale (in the individual’s life in society) as being part of society, extends the need for the legitimization of ‘dominion’/’rule’, exploitation and destruction – it otherwise leads to rebellion.

What can be alternative forms of economic societal organization?

3. How does veganism – as entailing some of the key aspects needed to form a pacifist eco-consciousness – offer ways out of economic systems that utilize ‘nature’, nonhumans and “powerless” humans, in different degrees, as resources or as in the case of humans, as partly involuntary collaborators?

a.) Discuss the need for veganism to become aware of its own politicalness, in problem-solving and problem-creating terms.
b.) The core of veganism, taken as a social revolutionary ‘movement’, mainly differs from other liberation movements because of its primary focus on nonhuman animal exploitation and nonhuman animal murder / zoacide … .

Economic ethics or non-ethics:

Where does profiteering from (or/and voluntary collaboration with) ecocide and zoacide mainly begin?

How are humans affected today by the consequences of economically driven ecocide and zoacide, ethically?

How do you think should ethical vegans work against ecocide and zoacide, despite the “vegan revolution’s” minority constellation within society?

Seeing Big Birds

More on: Animal Portrayals.

Big bird cartoon by Ken Eaton

The family of the big walking birds, like the Moas (extinct), Nandus, Emus, Ostriches, Elephant Birds (Aepyornis maximus, extict). They tend to be seen only in regards to their being different than the “typical” flying birds, and their size is highlighted as if they had something absurd about them.

Table I.

We attribute certain animals to certain stances we have towards them; each species, each subspecies, has a certain box that a “human cultural context” holds ready for them.

We lack the ethical barrier, the healthy taboo, to understand that nonhumans are not to be threatened, ridiculed, hated, and relegated into irrelevancy if we want to have a comprehensive ethical outlook on the world – the kind of taboos we have learned and are constantly in a process of learning when we face each other.

Table II.

Seeing nonhuman animals of today, we like to relate them to their ancestors in a fascinated yet freak-show-like way: we look how they compare in sizes, who ate who, and why they wouldn’t “survive” or evoluted, we say they look or looked “weird” or awesome. 

 Table III.

In past cultures and civilizations nonhumans were perceived with myth. Now, even extinct and ancient animals that we have never seen in real life, are placed by us into this taboo free zone, where we feel they reinforce our current objectifying speciesist attitudes.

Images:

TableI.:

“Bones from the moa – a large, flightless and extinctNew Zealandbird – were collected from the early 19th century. Public servant and naturalist Walter Mantell was an important collector of moa bones. He sent large collections to Richard Owen of theBritishMuseum, who was the first scientist to identify moa species. Here, Mantell is fancifully depicted perched on a partly skeletal moa. The document under his arm refers to his government work setting aside land reserves for Māori.”

http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/artwork/37312/walter-mantell-riding-a-moa

Table II.:

Hundsköpfige, Kopflose, Einäugige, Fußschattner (Herodot), Ident.Nr. VIII A 1607. Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Ethnologisches Museum.

http://www.smb-digital.de/eMuseumPlus?service=ExternalInterface&module=collection&objectId=617600

Table III.:

“A rock painting that appears to be of a bird that went extinct about 40,000 years ago has been discovered in northern Australia. If confirmed, this would be the oldest rock art anywhere in the world, pre-dating the famous Chauvet cave in southern France by some 7,000 years.”

http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/news/2010/06/bird-rock-art-could-be-worlds-oldest/

All links: 20. March 2014

 

A fragment on insect mythologies and insect representations, and why symbolism is not sufficient to explain the relation

More on: Animal Portrayals.

A fragment on insect mythologies and insect representations, and why symbolism is not sufficient to explain the relation

Palang LY

This text as a PDF (Link opens in a new window)

Insects in mythology are mostly explained as a phenomenon that stands for a “symbolism”. It seems that authors / researchers find it hard to imagine that for instance the Scarabaeus (attributed in the Egyptian pantheon to the God Kheper), a “dung beetle”, was appreciated for more than just that, what humans attributed to him in terms of their own anthropocentric concept of the earth, its meaning and the universe.

What if for instance the early Egyptians did see a world of unique value in the life and activities of the scarab beetles?

It could likely be that it was fascinating to observe, how the beetles rolled this ball of soil and dung, to think about what meaning the beetles might have given to their existence on earth overall. Maybe it was that ancient civilizations / cultures still had the ability to take nonhuman animals as cultures. A small beetle that rolls a ball like a planet, from which new insect life would spring forth … .

A typical thought you find on the topic of nonhuman animals and nature in mythologies is, that humans would imbue nature with meaning. Quite contrarily, people could have felt that nature did in fact have meaning, and that nature (being) is meaning.

As far as I could find out now, the most prominent mythologies about insects and alike, evolve around: bees, butterflies, spiders, scorpions, cicadas and the scarab beetles.

Additionally, if we add the heavy weight of underlying such a relationship in mythology to our today’s definition of “symbolism” – that is if we say that i.e. such insects were mere symbols for anthropomorphic attributions – then we should scrutinize more closely the epistemological history of “symbols” and the term’s etymology to shed light on the construct we apply here.

Images:

1. Eric Carle, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, 1969, http://www.eric-carle.com/ECbooks.html#anchor707516
2. Carl Spitzweg, Der Schmetterlingsfänger, 1840.