I have finally had the chance to catch up on some reading I have wanted to do for a long time.
I have looked at attitudes and methods behind modern society’s treatment of animals and (linked to) the way humans have often treated each other, most notably during the Holocaust. With regard animals, especially those who suffer in intensive / factory farms now days, all people are considered Nazis – for the animals it is an ‘Eternal Treblinka’.
To be honest, I found the reading hard to swallow /read in most cases – the emergence of human beings as the ‘master species’ and their domination over the rest of the inhabitants of the earth. The way in which man has dominated and caused suffering of his fellow human beings was just ‘sickly’. I am giving a few examples below.
You then have to ask as mans self opinionated view as the master species has allowed him to cause the untold suffering to many animals – especially those in the factory farm systems. Was this learnt from the Nazi system where they viewed themselves as the master race – having total control and domination over the Jews for example ?
Did the Nazi treatment of Jews establish the modern factory farm system ? – did the Nazis ‘control’ over the Jews in the extermination camps set a precedence that has now moved into mans domination and control of animals in intensive systems ? – was the keeping, control and extermination of the Jews by the Nazis a ‘system’ which has now moved species from human suffering during WW2 to that of animal suffering in this modern age ?
A few examples of mans inhumanity to other man is as follows:
‘The great chain of being’ – created by Aristotle’s teacher Plato; who formulated the belief of the Greeks that they ranked higher than non Greeks, women, slaves and of course, animals. Plato had a full range of human beings in ranked hierarchically, from the immortal gods at the top, down through humans, to animals, plants, and with stones and dust at the very bottom.
Medieval Christendom translated Plato’s image into a ladder which had Christian God at the top, and European Christians on the highest rung of the ladder, which included the animal species. This positioning granted them a divine mandate as God’s overseers and stewards to ‘rule’ over the rest of the ladder below.
By the time civilisations emerged from the river valleys of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, India and China, the exploitation of captive animals for food, milk, hides and labour was firmly entrenched in the religions. The Judeo-Christian tradition sanctified the notion that the world had been created for the sake of the human species.
According to Genesis, God created the beats of the earth and the cattle according to their kinds; and everything that creeps upon the earth. God then made man in his image and gave him dominion over the fish of the sea; and over the birds of the air; over the cattle and all the earth. Philip Kapleau writes that some historians and environmentalists think that these fateful words of the Bible have determined the destructive course of Western civilisations for over 2,000 years. Ian McHarg writes that if you wanted to find one text which will explain all the destruction and all the despoliation accomplished by Western man for at least 2,000 years; then you do not have to look any further than this ghastly, calamitous text.
To be continued – Mark.