Friday, July 8, 2011

She has two eyes...

four limbs, two ears, a nose, a mouth, a body, a covering of skin and one head. She can see, hear, taste, smell, detect heat and cold, feel the wind, feel pain, feel fear and joy. She breathes air, eats food, drinks water and urinates and defecates. She feels hunger, thirst, tiredness, sleepiness and anger. She sleeps each day and will often seek shelter when the weather is not to her liking. She may emit vocalizations in various situations and feeling states. She enjoys gentle caresses and dislikes painful or hurtful touches. She has a mother, a father and maybe brothers and sisters and maybe aunts, uncles and cousins.

Yet, depending on what human animals around her decide, she may be cared for, loved, beaten, skinned alive, forcefully impregnated or she may be ignored. She may be pampered, neglected, esteemed or denigrated. Her life may be such that she does pretty much as she wishes or she may be constrained in gentle or harsh ways. She may be free, partially free, imprisoned, enslaved and/or exploited. She may live to the fullness of her years with many pleasures and delights or her life may be full of terror, misery and ended in suffering and pain after only a fraction of her years are lived...all this through no fault or choice of her own. Some of what may be done to her might be illegal, much of what she experiences at the hands of human animals will be condoned by human law.

Who is she?

I started to stop writing with that question but I usually don't like things that 'hang' like that so I'll go ahead and point out the fact that all of that previously written could be applied to most every sentient being on Earth. Chicken, turtle, cow, human and on and on and on.

"Deoxyribonucleic acid — DNA — is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms (with the exception of RNA viruses)...The four bases found in DNA are adenine (abbreviated A), cytosine (C), guanine (G) and thymine (T)." (source: Wikipedia)

A critical phrase in the previous paragraph is "all known living organisms". You, me, crabgrass, cockroaches, George Washington...we all share the same four bases for our DNA...the only difference between any of us is the nature of the arrangement.  It was an astonishing moment for me some years ago when I fully comprehended that the physical evidence confirms that all life on this planet is related...that we are all configured by the same stuff...those four bases.

Some of us are configured so similarly that a fairly detailed series of descriptors such as I've presented above doesn't markedly reduce the field of the different shapes, sizes or types of animals that could be being referenced.

The incredible arrogance inherent in human animals deciding that their 'configuration' is the "best" and that all other configurations should be subservient to human animals is mind-boggling and...if fully considered, rather frightening. There is an unhinged quality to such a self-serving judgment.

Sometimes I wonder if the "purpose" of humanity isn't to serve as a warning of how not to all the other 'configurations' of life.

If you don't want to live like a bad example, then begin to live as an ethical vegan


Harry said...

VE, your last line says sums it up beautifully - Don't be a bad example. And if feeling 'special' relative to our fellow beings, would you consider any of our fellow beings special if they behaved the way we do?

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting Harry. You point at something that emphasizes our hypocrisy, the astounding furor and frenzy that arises if an animal kills or injures a human being (think shark attacks). We certainly don't publicize the millions of animals killed daily by humans. If animals behaved the way we do the human overpopulation problem might be quickly solved.

Krissa said...

At first this post made me cry (not a bad thing, it was at the part where it said 'she might be ignored....' and that is worth crying for), but it ended up making me think again about how far off the path our species has gotten. I'm not sure how I believe that it happened, but I know that there were times where we did live in harmony with nature more than we do now. It will never make sense to me that we never have really treated our fellow animals with much respect at any point in our history, but we sure did get far off from the right path. Like you, I love plants as well as our fellow animals and all life and have respect for it all. But to stop and think of it scientifically how closely related we all really are, it's pretty mind boggling. And it does kind of make it all the more sad that we just don't treat our fellow living beings with the respect they deserve. Plenty of people aren't capable of love, but we are all capable of simply giving respect and not doing harm. Sigh. ... I'm slowly catching up after having no internet during our move so I'll be looking forward to reading more of your posts that I've missed. This one is really good. :)

Penny said...

'Arrogance' is exactly the word I chose to describe my and other meat eaters' attitude, the day I decided I must become vegetarian. Since then, of course, I've realised that this has to be extended to veganism to make any sense at all.

Thanks for another great post. It deserves a wider audience, as in an omnivorous one. Might it make them think?

Bea Elliott said...

In total agreement that this is a wonderful post. Really? Just 4 biological elements unite us all together? I never knew that!

But the idea that our "configuration" is superior, usually bolstered by the benefit of an invisible "soul" or some other "specialness" irks me to no end!

First we're so much better because we're the "sacred" and rational species... And then we use our "holy privilege" as an excuse to commit the most insane and destructive acts. Now we either are one or the other... But we can't be both!

And another thing that this paradox reminds me of... And equally infuriates me - Is when an animal user will say that a wolf or lion devours his prey - So why shouldn't man also?

Now the thing with this is that IF (in some magical fantasy) the wolf or lion was capable of sustaining himself without killing - But "chose" to kill anyway - They would be demonized beyond all reaches of what they already are... Yet, the same is NOT true for us. We CAN opt for choices that don't require bloodshed - Yet, even when we don't... All is forgiven - And even encouraged! Yikes! What a world! It is inside out. :(

"There is an unhinged quality to such a self-serving judgment." My, but that sums it up to a tee! Yeah, we're a pretty awful example alright. Tsk, tsk on us.

Have Gone Vegan said...

Humans are really not that smart. If we were, we wouldn't be in such deep denial about the kinship between all living beings. Then again, maybe deep down we all "know" that what we do on a daily basis is wrong, otherwise we wouldn't be so arrogantly defensive about it.

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting Krissa and I'm glad you're back. I know how stressful moving can be so I empathize with you. I hope you are settling in and your new place feels good to everyone.

In truth, when we disrespect other life forms we are, in effect, disrespecting ourselves. We are each simply variations on a theme and trying to destroy other themes is no way to make music.

Each thing alive is simply trying to live...we've made that everyday, every-moment striving into a war on all other that if we "win" we lose. That really isn't all that difficult to understand but our species is obstinately trying to avoid reality and live in a fantasy world. Bad and sad.

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting Penny (I still love that photo of you as a little girl...including the hair :-) ).

Arrogant...having an inflated sense of self-worth or is built into behaviors that involve using our fellow Earthlings. Unavoidable. The most of us are told lies, growing up involves seeing through the untruths we were given. It is hard sometimes, but not doing so is much much worse.

We do need to to a lot of thinking (and feeling) don't we?

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting Bea. Yup, A,C,G,T. All life on earth. We are truly one...when we harm or destroy life we are harming or destroying beings and forms that are other versions of ourselves.

Inside-out, upside-down and wrongside-up. Western civilization in a brief sentence. Good observation on your part.

If we don't start exercising more wisdom with our choices, there will be nothing left to choose from. Tsk, tsk indeed!

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting HGV. I wrote an earlier reply and each time I tried to publish it...the network kept disappearing. On some level I think most of us 'know' that our behavior is deplorable. I agree fully with you about that, we aren't totally drifting in the breeze when it comes to being wired to know what is ok and what isn't.

VeganRabbit said...

This is excellent. It's so easy to forget that we are made up of almost identical genetic material as every other living organism on this planet (and who knows, maybe other planets as well?). We're also all made up of the same basic elements. We're all so similar, it's a shame that so many prefer to focus on how we're different. Every configuration is the best at what it is meant to do. No one species is better than another, just as no one race or gender or sexual orientation or religion is better than another. I loved this post. Ethical abolitionist vegans all the way!

veganelder said...

Thanks for commenting VeganRabbit. Yes, we seem to be driven to focus on differences and then to get excited about minute ones. You're quite right, being a living being is not a contest, not a beauty pageant or a mid-term's about living.