Human Hubris

There is a post over at Treehugger by Christine Lepisto about the effects of anthropomorphism on the environmental movement. Her lead is a viral video of a crow using a jar lid as a sled on a Russian roof. Her claim: our acts of anthropomorphization can be useful and detrimental in the pursuit of scientific endeavors. What caught my eye, and actually prompted me to bring this blog back to life, is this idea that the attention being paid to that Russian corvid is anthropomorphizing.

I’ve been accused of anthropomorphizing animals back when I was vegan–though I maintain I never gave human qualities to any animals as I was far more interested in beastilizing. What is it that makes it so difficult to recognize animals as beings with emotions and intelligences of their own. Is it simply the fact that “serious” people do not deal in emotions?

The irony being that one of the effects of such serious discourse has been the decentering of humans within human discourse. If you or I believe in science then we have no ground to make animals into little instinctual automatons, after all we are animals too, and we certainly don’t enjoy envisioning ourselves as biological wind-up toys.

Even though when we drop the hubris we’re just one out of many varieties of sacks of geologic soup on this big clump of stardust.

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Georges Bataille–Slaughterhouses

Georges Batailles–October, Vol. 36, Georges Bataille: Writings on Laughter, Sacrifice, Nietzsche, Un-knowing (Spring, 1986), 10-13.

P.S. Hopefully I’ll be writing something soon.

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carnism unearthed, or the invisibility of beasts

I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those that haunted Edgar Allen Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids—and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me…When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination—indeed, everything and anything except me.

Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man


Most of the discussion of carnism carry Melanie Joy’s assertion that carnism is an invisible belief structure–that is that most carnists do not even know that carnism exists, or that they are proponents. The linchpin being that they do not realize that they have a choice.
I disagree with this thesis: carnism is not invisible, but subterranean. It resides beneath (Joy’s oft used preposition for describing the location) the surface of our actions, neither subconsciously or consciously, but foundationally. Continue reading

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What Vegans Say About Carnism

From the section for meat-eaters:

In order to eat the flesh or excretions of a once-living being, we need to disconnect, psychologically and emotionally, from the truth of our experience. We need to “numb” our authentic thoughts and emotions, to block our awareness (i.e., we must think that we’re eating “meat,” rather than a dead animal) and our empathy for the animal who became our food – and awareness and empathy are integral to our sense of self. Continue reading

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Another Self Proclaimed Carnist

Turns out there is another self-proclaimed carnist on the scene: food writer, Josh Ozersky. Who proposes the “Carnist Challenge.” Which is the usual making meat-eating cruelty free.

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Oikos and the Ox, or for the ox pt. 3

Perhaps I spoke to hastily in proposing that the liberation of the ox could be found in the plough. History has shown that the increased sophistication and mechanization of the plough (industrialism has made animal labor obsolete). It is foolish to apply analyses of labor to any contemporary animal. The ox is no longer the worker, but has become a new sort of slave. The secondary value of the ox has become primary. Its flesh, once a resource for its potential labor value, has now become a resource like gold or wheat to be harvested for consumption. Its flesh has become meat. Continue reading

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flesh made meat, or for the ox pt. 2

For whom does the ox wait? For no one. There is only the master and the ox, and the master cannot betray ou’s own well-being. And the ox lacks the mental facilities to realize it’s own potential for liberation. As previously mentioned there is little hope for a Hegelian overturn.

So where do we look for the liberation of the ox?

Continue reading

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