Saturday, July 2, 2016

Images with info...

I've run across a few images recently that pack quite a bit of information into a compact form.
This first image is a handy guide to visualize how most western European based cultures implement the hierarchical ugliness of groups of humans oppressing other groups of humans. The image identifies oppressor groups and target groups. If you wanted this image to reflect the oppression that's countered by veganism you could add a panel to the top called humans with species in the middle strip and then animals in the lower could also do something similar if you wanted to show environmental oppression.

Two of the myths that work to keep these oppressions invisible to us (especially here in the U.S.) are 'individualism' and 'meritocracy'. The notion that your effort will allow you to achieve anything you want and the notion that those who are "on top" get there because of their merit and/or effort are two deceptive fictions that work to obscure our awareness that groups we are assigned to are pretty much the biggest factors that determine our experiences in life.

By the way, one other thing you can glean from the above image is to be able to identify which group members (on average, there will be exceptions) accurately comprehend things. In other words...the more power any group possesses the less accurate folks that belong to those groups understandings (or beliefs) will be (again, this is on average)

This next image makes me smile for a number of reasons.

I suspect that you know from your own life experiences that people who work at re-calibrating their beliefs upon encountering credible information that contradicts those beliefs are exceedingly rare. Most work at ignoring and/or denying such information instead of struggling with changing their beliefs. One strategy that's often used to avoid modifying beliefs is to attack and/or reject the messenger who brings (or points out) contradicting information. It's almost as if we would rather believe erroneous things than to do the work of modifying our beliefs to more closely correspond to accuracy. That's sort of spooky when you think about it.

For me, doing this sort of changing is really difficult, I've often failed at it...but sometimes I've managed to do it. I've also found that many/most people struggle with this sort of thing. That's why it is a good idea to be rather tentative about how strongly you embrace beliefs, especially those that aren't based on reliable and credible facts...and even then you would be wise to be aware that you may encounter information that requires you to do a re-evaluation of a belief.  

This last image has to do with a big part of why beliefs are rarely changed when we encounter information that contradicts's unpleasant and uncomfortable and even painful. The image uses the phrase "unlearning oppressive behaviors" which would include changing the beliefs that uphold or support those behaviors.

One of the clues that can really be useful that we may be encountering information that contradicts something erroneous (or oppressive) that we've learned guessed it...feeling uncomfortable. Which...may also be a signal that we may be in the presence of something that we very much need to learn. Is it the case that we might need to move toward that which bothers or upsets us instead of away from it? Hmmm....


Have Gone Vegan said...

Yep, for the most part we believe what we want to believe. Confirmation bias plays a big role too, and getting someone else to change what they believe is almost impossible -- they have to be ready to change their beliefs themselves.

My only quibble with the graphic (other than the lack of more than two gender identities as mentioned in your previous post) is the ability category, as it makes it sound as if only physical disabilities are an issue. Other than that, cool graphic. :)

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting Have Gone Vegan. must be willing to investigate/comprehend new viewpoints for outlook change to happen and if you're busy defending what's already in place you probably won't be engaged in examining something new.

I likely did a disservice by posting the birdcage graphic without more elaboration about it. The idea came from the writings/thinkings of Marilyn Frye...she wisely noted that oppression could be likened to a birdcage and that we often are presented with only one wire in the cage (a specific sort of oppression) and when we see that we wonder why the bird doesn't just go around that particular oppression and escape...what we often fail to do is to step back and see that multiple oppressions are usually in place...creating a cage that can't be easily gotten out of. The graphic wasn't meant to be a complete enumeration of the types of oppression that exist...just an illustration that we often fail to notice that rarely are those who struggling against oppression faced with just one "wire" (or type) of oppression. Rather it is that many "wires" of oppression are usually faced creating a cage like structure that is perhaps impossible to escape from.

In our myopic view we then look at the situation of the oppressed and see only the one wire and wonder why those hindered by it just don't go around it instead of noticing that they are trapped in a "cage" of many types of oppression. You can read her words (much more eloquent than mine) here:

I apologize for not elaborating more about the intent of the graphic. You're spot on in noting that many impediments to ability are not easily detected.

Have Gone Vegan said...

Thanks for the link. I had already put her book on my list from an earlier post, but this makes me want to read it even more. :)

As for the door-opening ritual she talks about, my default position for a number of years now is to just open the door for whomever is behind me -- man or woman. This has gotten me a number of puzzled and/or amused looks, but I like to think that at least it puts the rituals of this practice a little more into question. Besides, why not rebel (even in small ways) whenever you can, snort.

veganelder said...

Hey HGV...rebelling against the status quo is something we all need to do more.

Marilyn Frye is one author I found who is eminently readable, comprehensible and seriously thought provoking. While her book (The Politics of Reality: Essays in Feminist Theory) was written over 30 years ago...the contents are timeless.

You can get it for 99 cents plus shipping here:

I have been well served by reading it and re-reading it. Enjoy.