While most of us are preoccupied with what everyone else is doing and thinking, the message of the Matrix mirrors what Sophocles also taught millennia ago: think for yourself. The only way out of the mental prison of the Matrix is to question what you’ve been taught. Overcome denial and face the truth. And then stop supporting slavery in all of its manifestations because it is the very reason why the Matrix got you under its spell in the first place.
“Meat” is the language of objectification — an attempt to turn a “someone” into a “something.” By referring to an animal as “meat,” the meat industry seeks to create a moral vacuum in the minds of consumers, a complete disconnection between the animal’s identity and their flesh product. “Meat” is their packaged commodity, presented just like all the other products on the store shelves, divorced from the living individuals they once were
The Flūther Transversion, with its catalyst(s), flood of memories, deep anguish, and alienation, may also be followed at some point by a sense of energy and renewal. It may be an often-transcendent feeling of all the “pieces” of one’s life — of one’s anxiety, one’s compassion, one’s lack of focus — suddenly falling into place. If before the epiphany of the Flūther Transversion, you had felt useless, or trivial, or nagged by a sense of inadequacy and wastefulness, now suddenly you may have a vigorous sense of purpose.
One of the most potent reminders of how much I’ve changed is the smell of grilling meat from a Persian restaurant that I pass almost daily. It is a smell that I used to associate so positively with countless social gatherings, holidays and traditions. With the knowledge I have now, these memories have been intercepted by scenes of very young animals in the last moments of their very short lives who are in a state of great fear and confusion as they are led down a kill line to meet an untimely, unnatural and violent end.
As a psychotherapist, I occasionally come across professionals who and organizations that research and promote empathy, compassion altruism. I eagerly read about their efforts in the hope that their work will include our relationship with all animals, human and nonhuman. So far, I have found their focus to be on human-to-human relationships only. I decided to write to people, doing this research and at different organizations, to encourage them to see the necessity of including all sentient beings, human and non-human, when understanding and promoting empathy, compassion and altruism. Unfortunately, I don’t expect much of a response, but we have to keep knocking at the door of people’s conscious.
Imagine aliens visit our planet and decide to stay. They are bigger, stronger, smarter and faster than we are in every way. If they aren’t naturally more advanced, their technology is. The aliens can live without doing harm to us, but they can choose to do great harm. There is no way for us to protect ourselves from them, let alone over-power them. All we can hope for is their mercy.
On Mother’s Day, we honor mothers, motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. Attachment Theory, a theory of child development, recognizes the importance of the relationship between a child and her primary caregiver. John Bowlby, affectionately referred to as the father of Attachment Theory, developed this theory by studying evolutionary biology and ethology, in addition to psychology. In fact, it was Lorenz’s imprinting study with geese that showed that attachment behavior is innate and important for survival.
I meet a lot of people that are very close to being vegan (or at least that’s what they tell me). And I know many people as well that consider themselves mostly vegan in terms of their diet. It’s always very encouraging and commendable to see people standing up for what they believe in, even when the status quo isn’t on our team yet. Nonetheless, I find myself often asking, what keeps them from making the small leap to becoming a proud, confident and out vegan rather than one shyly hovering on the threshold?
While some might resign to the popular notion that eating animals is a personal choice, Jenny chooses not to internalize her beliefs and instead seeks to make it a highly visible part of her identity. She wants to have a positive impact so posts regularly on Facebook and invites discussions with family, friends and acquaintances.
The recent horsemeat scandal, in which consumers discovered that the meat they had eaten was from horses rather than cows, has caused nothing short of an international outcry. The unwitting horsemeat consumers (as well as the general public) had a powerful, visceral reaction to the idea of eating the flesh of a different species than the one they had believed would be in their food, and this collective reaction was one of disgust and moral offence.
“I watched this video with growing anxiety as I saw what I already knew to be true but had never seen. Thanks to you and Animal Place, I am ready to be freed from the last bondage of consuming animal products. I’ve thrown away the eggs and cheese in my refrigerator without a moment of regret. My quest now will be to become educated about a vegan diet. I have shared the video Turlock on Facebook and email. I am so grateful. This is the push I needed, painful tho it was.”
It’s easy to be outraged at these slaughterers. It’s harder to understand, however, why they do what they do. It’s not because they are bad people. One of the most difficult aspects in covering the human-animal relationship is that so often very good people do terrible things and have no idea that they are complicit in structured evil. It is thus all the more critical that advocates work to identify and communicate the psychological and rhetorical strategies that prevent a more authentic assessment of what it means to kill an animal that you do not have to kill.
Last month, an employee at a slaughterhouse in Fresno, California walked into work, pulled out a gun, and shot four people, two of them execution style, before attempting to take his own life. Coworkers, many of whom described the suspect as “nice” and “respectful,” claimed to be puzzled by this outburst. The president of Valley Protein, the abattoir where the shooting happened, declared the incident to be a “random act.”
A recent survey conducted by the Neighbors Opposed to Backyard Slaughter found that a majority of Oakland, California residents living in the areas with the highest number of livestock animals opposed the practice of keeping and slaughtering animals in backyards residences. The survey was conducted in Oakland districts one and three. A majority of those surveyed oppose backyard slaughter (52% in district one and 55% in district three).
The artificial breeding, exploitation, enslavement, killing and profiteering from the slaughtered corpses of some 60 billion land animals and another approximate 60 billion to 1 trillion marine animals every year globally is certainly not a personal matter for individual consumers. On the contrary, the animal industrial complex depends on a system of laws, standards, political power structures, institutionalized violence, economics and distribution.
Last week I sat in a brew pub and spoke with a 55-year-old cyclist who was really into fitness. He looked good for his age. When he learned I was a vegan for three years now, he explained to me that he had tried to be a vegetarian for a while and then described the many obstacles that made him defect.