Friday, November 7, 2014

Just thinking.

A recent exchange made me think about the different behaviors that we human animals exhibit towards our sister/brother Earthlings. These behaviors seem to fit into some rather easily discerned groupings. Here are five categories (and there would be some shading toward greater or lesser degrees in any category).

More thinking needs to be done, obviously the names of the groupings could easily be changed but I wanted to throw this out and see if anyone else has thought along these lines and/or your thoughts about such a grouping of behaviors. Or maybe you have some snazzier names for the groups. No research or anything has been done so there might be all sorts of stuff that's missing or redundant.

It would be fairly easy to shorthand the groups to initials (RA, N, E a or p R, EP, EA)...I'll keep thinking about names but I sort of like the exploit - restore thingee. For instance, someone who kills for "fun" (a hunter) who also supports the Sierra Club would probably be designated ear. I don't much think I would want to lend them mine though. The Sierra Club itself would be EpR I think and Catskill Animal Sanctuary would be RA.

The groupings are specific to behaviors only, humans obviously change their behaviors and someone could modify their behaviors say from active exploiter to active Howard Lyman for instance. I just wanted to see if I could come up with some general groupings to help me think about how someone (or some organization) typically behaves in relation to the other Earthlings.

By the way, just to think about what percentage of U.S. citizens might fit into each of these categories, a check into charitable deductions as reported on income tax returns for recent years provides a dismal picture. Charity write-off amounts indicate that only about 2 to 3% of all charity deductions are assigned to contributions to environmental/animal welfare groups (they lump them together). Pretty sad.

Restorer – Active
: Vegans who also engage in advocacy against animal use or rescue/assistance activities for animals or the environment.

: Vegans (avoidance of the deliberate use/exploitation of animals for food or any other purpose).

Exploiter (active or passive)Restorer: Consumers of animal products who also engage in rescue or welfare or restorative activities on behalf of animals or the environment. This would include those who limit or purposely decrease their use of animals or animal products (but who continue their use in limited amounts) and individuals or organizations who seek to prevent or ameliorate environmental destruction.

Exploiter - Passive: Consumers of animals or animal products who do not engage in activities directly harming Earthlings or the environment beyond common types of use or consumption.

Exploiter - Active: Consumers of animals who are also hunters, ranchers, slaughter-house employees, animal farmers or ranchers or employees of companies exploiting animals. This includes any environmental or Earthling damaging activity or business or promotion of such activity.

If you aren't at least Neutral (vegan), move there as quick as you can...and if you're neutral (vegan) ...think about become an active restorer. Your sister/brother Earthlings not only need us to stop harming them, they need our help too.


Bea Elliott said...

A restorer - Yes! Like a healer! And a neutral is most certainly the common - Literally and abstractly... Why be ordinary right? You could be vegan RA!

I'm intrigued by your line of thinking these days... It's sends my grey matter to an unexpected learning-journey. I like that. :-)

Howard Lyman was a super-right choice as your example of one who repairs. I remember you wrote once or more about repairing ourselves. And that term resonates here too. Keep these mind-growing posts coming!

Bea Elliott said...

Oh... And the pitiful donations to the issues that really matter is sad for sure. Yet I'm certain that the majority of EA's and some EP's make a profitable and easier life for themselves by the use of Earth-victims. Greed and convenience, I think are the biggest enemies. Yes?

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting Bea. When I read your first comment I realized that the "active" adjective might be redundant...restorer pretty well implies active all by itself without the adjective.

Mr. Lyman was who came to mind, but there were lots of others who could have been named. I'm glad you liked the choice.

If we devoted as much time and energy to restoring as we do to would be a different world indeed.

Have Gone Vegan said...

Hmmm, I dunno. To me Vegan is more than Neutral, because even just avoiding exploitation (within North American culture at least) involves an active rejection of the dominant ideology. Neutral, to me, implies uncommitted and disinterested, which are not terms I would use to describe most vegans.

Okay, I'm not sure how I feel about the terms "active" and "passive" either, for a few reasons: a) whether exploitation is passive or active, they both lead to harm, b) they're part of a continuum so at some point it'll be more difficult to separate the two, and c) active and passive is also a value dualism which has been used in promoting a male/female gender stereotype.

I DO however like the term restorer (and repairer, as Bea mentioned), and almost think that harmer (or exploiter)/restorer (repairer) would do just fine, but maybe that would make me a reductionist? :)

Now, aren't you glad I came back to comment? Snort!

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting HGV. I'm very glad you came back. :-)

Your first point is well taken and one I agree with...that's why I wanted to make clear that this tentative way of thinking is specifically about behaviors as I wrote in the first sentence of the post. I didn't want to include any thinkings or feelings or attitudes or anything like that...only doings.

Your second observation re active and passive is one I wallowed around with too and still am thinking about. Some other options I considered (and still am) are direct vs indirect or intentional vs unintentional or maybe primary vs secondary.

Your observation that they're part of a continuum is exactly what I'm trying to get at. I wanted to fix up a venn diagram to exemplify the various behavior categories to show that there would be (in many instances) overlap amongst the various groupings when looking at someone's behaviors (but a handy dandy venn diagram program was something I didn't have)...but the groupings represent thinking about what constituted the bulk or majority of behavior exhibited by someone or some group or organization.

Insofar as the dualism thingee goes, while it's true that a punch in the face could be thought of as simply a caress that was not well done...I don't have any problem with using disjuncts to specify that a punch in the face (in terms of the effect) is different (i.e., a separate type of event) from a caress. Sometimes that's a useful way to think and likely not problematical as long as we stick to realizing that we're thinking about activities or behaviors and not living beings....and I'm talking more a sort of fuzzy logic instead of a never the twain shall meet sort of dualism. The thing that is nifty about thinking about behavior instead of unchanging characteristics (like skin color or species membership) is that they can always be modified or changed. At one time I would have fit mostly into that grouping that I meant by exploiter-active and now I (in terms of my behaviors) would fit the restorer (probably the active adjective is redundant). Howard Lyman was my example of some who changed his behaviors and moved from one grouping to another.

I was trying to get at the essence that there is a rather serious and profound difference between doing behaviors that result in pain/injury in another vs creating neither pain/injury or pleasure vs creating pleasure and/or ameliorating pain/injury. Those three groupings would be what I was naming, respectively...exploiter, neutral and restorer.

And yes...I'm very glad you came back to comment. :-)