With the ongoing government tyranny within our borders, and fears abound about an indivisible pandemic, we often overlook the needs of those around us who are other than ‘human’. Yes, I am talking about animals, of course, as this is what this site is all about. Throughout time, animals have had a bad rap. They are the last to be recognized in times of crisis and the first to be used in experimentation. Once revered with deity status, their veneration has now been confirmed to be lost and forgotten in the past.
After the plandemic of 2020-2021, I began to question whether or not the humanitarian, innovative, and creative side of our human condition is progressing or diminishing, particularly with our thoughts and actions on animal welfare. The question came to the forefront when during the early ‘lockdown’ phase of the plandemic people in the United States where adopting pets at a rapid pace, only to return them once the lockdown (and their fears) started to subside and people started getting ‘back to their lives’. It made me sad to think, that we as a species – who are supposed to be caretakers of the world – are so superficial with self-satisfaction being the norm.
However, I like to hope that after our long history of animal welfare dictates, and all our humane and environmental educational efforts, our attitudes and empathy toward animals, and nature in general, might have shown some growth towards communities having a more compassionate viewpoint when it comes to nature and the animals in our care. Oppositely, we are finding this is so. We are still ignorant children in the Garden of Eden, intentionally disengaging ourselves from the millions of animals that suffer each day at our portrayed ‘kind-hearted’ hands – and we are still happy at the claim of ignorance.
There is no doubt that all animals, including humans, have empathy. But are we at the top of the pecking order, so to speak, with our empathic abilities? There is on-going research into that, and we are beginning to see where humans fall. Studies are showing that humans are experiencing a drop in their empathic abilities than their natural counterparts. Without getting into the specific differences between us and our fellow sidekicks, the philosophical question must be asked; are we, as humans, slowly losing our empathic abilities, and if so, are animals now more empathic than humans? And does this decline relate to our moving away from an agriculturist lifestyle to that of a technocratic one? Humm, just something to think about.
When I was a little girl, I enjoyed the long ride along Route 20 to my grandmother’s farm in Richfield Springs. The whole ride, other than messing with my brothers and sister, was a scenic one of agricultural farmland. It was one of those family trips that bonded us together, singing and talking all along the way – with the occasional “tone-it-down” from my father.
As we drove through the small town on the outskirts of where my grandmother lived, we were welcomed with hand waves and hellos and the honorary stop at the local food joint, we were met with lots friendly banter. Later, when we pulled into my grandmother’s farm, we were met with pigs, dogs, chickens, roosters, ducks, swans and cats. Grandma was there, always greeting us with a smile upon arrival.
One of the special things about my grandmother’s farm, apart from the trip ‘out of the city’, as my mother called it, was the relationship that I had with nature. I would often trek up the tall grassy hill, behind grandma’s house and into the woods. I would follow the stone fence deep into the woods and just sit upon an old log. Deer, squirrels, chipmunks and all sorts of critters came and left. They were just as inquisitive about me as I was about them. We looked at each other longingly with great curiosity. It was a special time for me; creative thoughts abounding. I felt nothing but admiration for those that were there. The hectiveness of life, just melted away and I found myself pulled into the calmness and serenity of being.
I honestly believe that humans are born with a sense of empathy and ethical values already assembled, but both need to be refined through community and family. It seems that technology and the fastness of our society today, get in the way; and because of this we, as a society, have forgotten the basic occupiers of empathy – which is essential for working and living together. We are wrapped up in the tech, that we have forgotten to slow down and sit upon that log and reflect on what it truly means to be human.
With that being said, when I see breakthroughs of empathy it gives me hope for humanity. We all have that drive to help where we see injustice, wanting to be a part of the solution. We want to help when we see an animal in distress. We are drawn to the birds feeding on the feeder, the chipmunks playfully running across the patio, the dog barking incessantly, or the purring of the cat in our lap. We cry when an animal we relate to passes away. And we give money to Charities that help those in need? Unlike animals, who base their life on emotions, we have the natural ability to overcome our fears and all other challenges that lay before us. These innate abilities give us the power to put the oppressive emotions of fear, anger, hate, indifference, … behind us, engaging ourselves in becoming; playful, enjoying the fullness of life, getting back to independent happiness, and thus shaping our own future.
It will be hard, I know, due to the fact that we have become such a technology-based society, and we have forgotten how to feel and relate to and connect among other humans, let alone with other sentient beings. I disagree with many scholars and writers that our world is quickly becoming a desolate place, where computer screens and cold science beliefs now control and separate us. If anything, it our tech has provided us with an awakening; toward seeing things as they really are – that we have lost touch with ourselves, with nature, with reality and with each other. One good thing is that we are empathetic beings and will be always; we just need to put tech in its place and treat it as a tool not replacing it for our humanity.
It took a multitude of generations to get where we are. Communities have been slowly moving away from independent empathic individuals connected to the natural world, towards producing clusters of dependent disconnected workers belonging to a greater technocratic whole. Everything we have been taught throughout our life is on rejecting individualism towards a mindset of social production (consumer/product). Like our bonded brethren, when we are born, we are assigned a number in the agriculture market as a “product”. Our number is bought and sold on the open market on how much labor we will produce. Although we are equal in that we are ‘products’ with other sentient beings, our movements as humans are a little bit more gilded. The only difference between us and our comrades is that we can make laws and fight back to make our lives a little bit more comfortable.
So, getting back to the question on whether or not the humanitarian, innovative and creative side of our human condition is progressing or diminishing, particularly with regards to animal welfare. With our eyes now wide open, it all comes down to us. Sit on that log, look around with wonder. Reflect on your own humanity. Teach our children respect for each other, respect for animals, respect for differences of opinion, respect for different species, races, religion, or whatever! Look at animals as ‘equal consideration’ – and that comes from each individual looking at their own ethics and morality.
Refuse to look at the world as a product – but as symbiotic comrades.