Thursday, May 31, 2012
Animals are the only other ‘known’ living creatures we share the planet with and while we could survive on a planet without animals, I can tell you with great conviction what an empty and sad world that would be.
Animals are a part of this world and as the famous slogans or catchphrases go in an effort to bring awareness to the plight of animals and help their cause ‘it’s their world too’
Animals are woven into our sub consciousness closer then our own breathing and even the most of ignorant and apathetic of people perhaps unbeknowns to them are impacted by the existence of animals.
Animals are embedded into the collective consciousness of every single human being on this planet and while there has been debate amongst philosophers and academics as to what the true definition of this word is, in it’s simplest form, it simply means a ‘state of being aware’ and every single human being on the planet is aware of animals through their five human senses that being touch, taste, sight, hearing, and smell.
When you walk outside your front door and your on your way to work, you may see someone walking their pet dog, you can ‘see’ animals. If you decide one day to go out and play golf, you may hear the birds chirping in the background, you can ‘hear’ animals. To elevate the class of this article down somewhat, if your dog needs a wash and smells really bad, you can ‘smell’ animals. If you take a trip with your family to the royal show and see all the domestic animals on display, you may be able to pet them, you can ‘touch’ animals, and if you decide to go on a fishing trip, and you catch a fish, you may cook it over the campfire and eat it for dinner, hence you can ‘taste’ animals.
Whether people love animals greatly such as myself, or whether people dislike them or have no immense appreciation for them. I believe everybody likes or appreciates animals even in the smallest form.
People have just become so accustomed to animals just being there, regardless of what the animals are doing regardless or whether you love them or hate them, they still remain there, just like a great statue (which is the ultimate form of stability).
To give you an example of what I mean when I say everybody likes or appreciates animals even in the smallest form :)
There may be a person who loves their dogs and as they're the worlds most highly revered animal, it’s not hard to see why?
But while that person may love their dogs and treat them with the respect and care that you should extend to all animals, perhaps this person is unwilling or simply not wanting to extend the same courtesy to other animals in the animal kingdom. Why? maybe it’s because they can't connect on the same emotional level as they can a dog, or maybe they just don’t care, have their favourite animals and can't appreciate any others just as much, through misconceptions, ignorance and just a plain human like / dislike, but none the less everybody appreciates animals on every level no matter how small.
Animals have, do an will continue to impact the world until the world is no more, when you stop and think about it, it’s actually quite astonishing the sheer impact they have had, the inspiration drawn from animals can be found anywhere and everywhere from government departments to sporting teams, movies, television, advertisements, cars, toys and so much more.
If you pause a moment from reading this article and look around the room your sitting in, in your home, office, or an internet cafe, the chances are quite high that you may see something that has been inspired by an animal, an attractive girl may have a butterfly tattoo, there maybe a collection of mugs and plates with animals on them, there, might even be a poster on the wall, of the muscle car the Shelby Cobra (drawing it’s name from the snake of the same name).
We need animals, just as much for our emotional health as we do a physical one, animals are very inspiring and many organizations, teams, companies etc, name themselves after an animal in an effort to reflect themselves and project themselves to the world vicariously through that animal and based on that animals individual characteristics.
A tiger for example is one of the worlds greatest animals and is the ultimate symbol of no fear, courage and heart. If a sporting team decides to name themselves the something tigers?
They’ve done so to project themselves as a force to be reckoned with, why? because the tiger is a force to be reckoned with, strong, powerful, courageous, unafraid but as the same time strikingly beautiful. This team has named themselves the tigers because they want to embody in their sporting team all the characteristics a tiger does so effortlessly. No fear, power and courage; and they want all the opposing teams to know about it. Were the tigers! you compete against us and your in for a handful!
Another example could be said of government agencies or departments such as the C.I.A (Central Intelligence Agency) there symbol is that of the American bald eagle.
The eagle just like the tiger is a worldwide symbol of courage, heart, pride and honour, and just as a sporting team names themselves after an animal because they want to embody that animals individual characteristics in spirit and physicality, so does the C.I.A, they are sending a message to everyone based on the eagles individual characteristics. Saying we are strong, we are courageous, we have pride, heart and determination.
Although their reasoning for having the symbol could also take on a hidden meaning, that being the left wing government and the right wing government controlled by one government body, this is just speculation on my part, but there’s a reason why they have this animal as their symbol, and the reasons written above are the most likely.
A big reason why so may people like animals, appreciate them and find solace in them, is because animals embody all the qualities humans beings strive to achieve but ultimately cannot fulfill. Such as living in perfect harmony with their natural environment, not taking more then what they need and living for the moment.
Also in addition to that, animals are physically superior to human beings, there’s no way we can out-swim a dolphin, outrun a cheetah, out-power an elephant, or out-grace an eagle, we wish we could, but because we can't we have to live vicariously through animals, vicariously meaning to live indirectly through something or someone. And we do this by calling a sporting team, the tigers, calling a car, a cobra, viper, mustang.
We are trying to tell the world something about ourselves or something and how we want to be, based on that animals individual characteristics and that’s why animals are the inspiration for a seemingly never-ending amount of things.
If I was to write all the things animals have been an inspiration for I would be here forever, but as a short rundown I will name all that I can. Animals are on lunchboxes, stamps, children's pictures books, guitars, album covers, music accessories, they are cartoon and comic book characters, cars are named after them, they are mascots for paints and car spare parts are named after them. Airplanes, government agencies, companies are also named after them, they are in movies television, they are in art, paintings, drawings and so much more, jigsaw puzzles and children's soft toys for example.
Animals are embedded into the human psyche and consciousness so much, we say and do things sub consciously that have been drawn from animals, the sayings or common speech :)
“I live with a bunch of animals” - a somewhat derogatory term unfairly referring to animals as living creatures that cant live without any sense of moral decency. It's said by people to reiterate or force the point that certain individuals are behaving without any moral decency themselves, behaving like animals, because animals do what they want when they want, a justified rational statement as animals are not on the same intellectual level as human beings, but a morally unfair one.
“Unleash the beast within” - is a positive affirmation referring to, as whats’ been extensively mentioned in this article, (to draw strength based on an animals individual characteristics) to unleash the best inside you, to draw power, inspiration, hope, determination, strength and drive from inside your soul; to be like a beast, (an animal) a strong courageous, fearful one, a tiger or bear for example.
Another inspiration from animals is movies, quite possibly every animal in existence has been depicted in the movies, whales, orcas, dolphins, dogs cats, ants, tigers lions and many more.
One of my favourite movies is 1994’s the crow starring the late Brandon Lee, son of the famed martial artist Bruce Lee.
In the movie, Brandon Lee’s character’s wife is murdered and so in the name of revenge he adopts a new persona and sets about avenging his wife’s death, in the process he reinvents himself and the crow is born. Because the bird the crow is black, dark, mysterious in nature and has a haunting cry, it was a perfect reflection of Brandon Lee’s character, who, because of losing his wife, felt dark, black, empty and tortured; and adopted a new persona in the name of revenge based on that animals individual characteristics. Yet another example of how we revere animals so much and can relate to them on an emotional level.
Animals are so great, awesome and inspiring, because it’s ultimately because they can do everything so effortlessly humans being wish they could but can’t. It’s also because of their different shapes, sizes, sounds, colours and ability to do things we just find awe inspiring.
We find inspiration from them because we sub consciously want to be like them in a lot of ways. We want to achieve success in life, (we want to fly like an eagle) we want to be strong and courageous and take life head on ( like a tiger) we want to behave gracefully and live with honour and pride (we want to be like an eagle) who embodies these qualities.
Animals are embedded into us, they are woven into our souls, we draw inspiration from them, and if we are deep thinkers we see them more than just in black and white, we can understand them, their world, we relate to it, find solace in it and want to embrace it.
Animals are here, they share our world and it would be a very empty and sad word without them, just as everything in life you truly don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone. I’ve experienced this and no doubt many other people have as well.
If all the animals were gone tomorrow man would die from great loneliness of spirit, because sometimes and understandably and justifiably so if you cant put your faith in human beings anymore you can always put it in animals, because as previously mentioned they embody all the qualities we wish we could, but can’t, and one of the biggest things humans beings are indefinitely capable of doing, is living for the moment, a trait the humble cat, dog and so many otter animals know how to do so easily, which is why we find in tremendous solace in them.
Animals are a part of us all, and they have to be, because they are part of our home, I'm not talking about your residential block that contains all your material possessions you like to call home. I'm talking about your ultimate home, the earth, because when you think about it, the animals are just like your next door neighbour, you may not know them, you my not ever want to know them, but there there and you know they’re there; you sub consciously find it comforting they’re there, but just like everything else in life, you may not realize how much it meant to have them there until they’re gone.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
And to me the answer is a simple one :)
And that is, is that too many people just see things in ‘black and white’ and can’t think deeply about animals’ their suffering, the sheer heartfelt emotion it brings out in people and the subsequent actions carried out by people in defense of animals as a result of that heartfelt emotion.
If you mention the term ‘animal rights’ or ‘animal rights activists’ to people chances are pretty high they would automatically conjure up images of irrational or violent actions carried out in order to defend animals by people and their subsequent response verbally to these thoughts could very well be “those idiots” or something along those lines.
As we charge forward into the new millennium at full speed ahead the stereotype or stigma that has accompanied animal rights the animal rights movement and animal rights activists is one that has managed to stick even though some of the sheen of this stereotype has been wiped off through advancements in technology i.e.: the advent of the internet, better access to information and a somewhat better universal understanding of animal rights because of that. But as with all stereotypes they all manage to stubbornly endure themselves and adhere to society’s pre conceived ideas for as long as people embody the lifestyles actions or ideals that warrant or welcome such a stereotype.
Animal rights is not immune from this with the people who defend them physically and academically being forced to endure a lot of mis-understanding from people (particularly the ones they are fighting against) and perhaps even more so from people as I’ve referred to earlier in this article who just see things in black and white when it comes to animals, showing empathy for them and defending them.
In my tenture as an animal rights advocate I’ve heard many things from people who I think just don’t get the animal rights movement such as :)
“anyone who has more empathy for a whale then a human can leave the gene pool” or
“stupid animal loving hippies” and the most powerful statement the other side of the animal rights movement has and uses which is :)
“the humans are more important then the animals”
Now this is where it all gets out of hand because too many people think that just because you believe in something and embody a lifestyle as a result of those beliefs ie vegetarianism or veganism that you don’t or are unwilling to understand or accept the way things are. Which in some cases may be true, but with a lot of people is not.
What you’ll find with lots of animal lovers is that they’re deep thinkers they can think deeply about things (see the bigger picture) the way things were before, they way things are, and the way things should be, and even though there’s no guarantees in life it’s almost safe to say they the greatest majority of them are non-violent people who embody a lifestyle and a way of being mentally and physically based on their beliefs.
Lots of people love animals and animals mean a lot to a lot of people emotionally, physically, spiritually, and religiously and when you love animals and believe whatever you believe in their defense, it can be very hard sometimes to accept understand or want to accept anything other then what it is you believe to be true, and if you take the above paragraph and flip it upside down that’s exactly what the people who don’t get the animal rights movement think? "well why cant the animal lovers see this?" or “why do they go upset at what were doing here killing animals or culling animals I just don’t understand these people” and because of one side's or one person's inability to understand another? that’s why the animal rights advocates / activists will always be met with criticism contentiousness and un-acceptance? because people just don’t understand the others point of view and way of looking at things?
In an ideal world animals wouldn’t need protecting but they do and the animal rights ideal is one that will always be here for as long as animals inhabit the earth, and for as long as there are compassionate and empathetic people in our world (which there will always be) people who want to uphold the morals and ethics we’ve set as a civilized society and strive to live by, by wanting to protect animals.
I believe in the new millennium people have developed into a new breed of animal rights activist or advocate one who is better informed on the issues relating to both sides and one who has a better understanding of both sides of a particular animal rights issue, but having said that though, one who still remains very staunch in their beliefs pertaining to animals.
People who don’t understand animal rights and why the animal rights activists / advocates do they things they do in defense of them simply as mentioned before just cannot, don’t have the ability to understand? or don’t want to understand and if they do and are willing to accept the animal rights activists way of looking at things, them, just as the animal activists will remain staunch in their beliefs as well (which could perhaps change if they’re exposed to the issues in a gentle non-threatening way and then left to make up their own mind in relation to it) and vice versa.
The bottom line with all of this is simply standing up for what you believe in and protesting in many different ways and through many different mediums to express a primal scream theory of sorts with you expressing your anger concern and compassion brought out by the injustices and atrocities committed against defenseless animals in many different ways?
What makes people believe a stereotype and adhere to it is a consistent reinforcement of that stereotype by people for example if animal rights activist always use violence in order to achieve an objective in defense of animals then that stereotype of animal rights activists as violent irrational people will never cease to go away because it is constantly being reinforced. But sometimes in order to achieve a morally right objective it’s acceptable to do something bad or extreme and this is an action animal rights activists have had to use when diplomatic avenues have failed or when legality is used as a cover for morality.
Just as there is a stereotype as animal rights activists being irrational violent people, there is also one as vegetarians or vegans being lazy, void of energy, and irrational which is an exaggerated stereotype that few embody.
Passion for something inspires the passionate defense of it and when your passionate about animals you’ll passionately defend them and when you love animals greatly is safe to say that you can draw or connect on an emotional level far greater then people who don’t, and because of that connection you’ll understand them a lot more, their plight, the injustices that face them, their place in the world, what they mean to people, and be more inclined to help in any way possible to help them because you understand them, connect with them, and are interested in them.
Animal rights is an ideal that will always have it’s stigmas attached to it such as “the animal lovin hippies” or you animal rights freaks” and an enduring unfortunate but often justified stereotype as irrational violent people ; and because animals do not share the same relevancy as human beings (a big reason why people cant get drawn in on the same emotional level to animals) and because people cannot get drawn in on the same emotional level as someone who loves and appreciates animals greatly these stereotypes will always be there.
But in a world as ugly as it beautiful we have no choice but to protect animals and as responsible custodians of the planet and as people who wish to uphold the morals ethics and tenants of a civilized society we will always have that reverence for life and because of those beliefs animals will always be defended and stuck up for and whether the people who rag on animal rights activists have or don’t have the ability to understand our actions in defense of animals is irrelevant.
Because it’s not and has never been about them, it’s always been about the animals and how important they are to the state of the world emotionally, physically, religiously, spiritually and environmentally and perhaps if the opponents of the animal rights advocates and activists could understand that statement then perhaps our jobs could be made a little easier to defend them.
But in a world where every problem is caused by human beings it’s wishful thinking at best.