Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Carnism, the invisible lifestyle

I was interested to come across the concept of ‘carnism’, which is basically the opposite of veg*nism. According to Wikipedia:

"Carnism was coined by social psychologist Dr. Melanie Joy in 2001.[7] Dr. Joy claims that because carnism is a dominant, violent ideology it has remained unnamed and invisible so that meat eating has seemed a given rather than a choice; according to Joy, when eating meat isn't a necessity for survival, it's a choice, and choices always stem from beliefs. Joy maintains that because of the violence inherent in carnism (modern meat production requires intensive and extensive violence toward animals), the system uses a set of social and psychologicaldefense mechanisms to distort people's perceptions and block their awareness and empathy when they eat meat, enabling humane people to participate in inhumane practices without realizing what they're doing.[8][9][10][11][12]

Joy suggests that carnism exists across cultures where eating meat is a choice rather than a necessity. In meat-eating cultures around the world people tend to find a small handful out of thousands of animal species edible and view the rest as disgusting.[13] According to Joy, though the type of animal consumed may change, the belief system itself does not. And, Joy argues, in modern, meat-eating societies, the species a culture deems edible is not based on logic or economics but simply on conditioning.[14]

Joy distinguishes carnists (those who eat meat) from carnivores—which are animals, human or nonhuman, that need to ingest flesh to survive—and also from omnivores—which are animals that can survive ingesting both plant and animal matter. "Carnivore" and "omnivore" refer to one's biological predisposition, but when eating meat is a choice this behavior is based on ideology, not biology. Joy also says that the term "meat eater" is inaccurate in that it presents the behavior as though it were divorced from a belief system—which is why, for example, vegetarians are not referred to as "plant eaters".[15][16] Joy also explains that the term "carnist" is meant to be descriptive, not pejorative, just as, for instance, Buddhist, capitalist, or socialist simply describe a person who acts in accordance with a particular belief system.”

This whole page is an interesting read: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnism

This just goes to show even more how any one of our actions are choices. While they may seem like natural reactions and reflexes, nearly everything we do is based on a conscious thought process, even if this process occurs so fast due to years of habit that it seems like the natural, necessary, and only way to do it.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Adopted & Adored

This is the name of a new collection of postage stamps released by Australia Post.
Their aim is -

"finding caring homes for unwanted dogs at the Dog’s Homes and other animal shelters around Australia. The issue of five 60c stamps features five dogs fortunate enough to find loving, new homes thanks to the work of animal shelters like the Dogs’ Homes of Tasmania."

Funnily enough, I first came across these stamps when I saw one on a letter about an adopted animal sent to me for a book I'm putting together on the cause.

Unfortunately, seeing the number of animals that are mistreated and require new homes to escape tragic fates (including euthanasia) only lowers - even further - my opinion of humans (humanity in general ... I know quite a few wonderful individuals ... sadly humanity in general is responsible for all the problems in the world).

Fortunately for people, animals are extremely forgiving, and people can easily be redeemed in the eyes of a creature given a second chance at a better life.

Mainly though, I just think these stamps are awesome and wanted to emphasise again, the general lack of respect a large portion of humanity shows animals, and the pure awesomeness of animals.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Food For Thought

- There is more food than there are people in the world, yet there are starving people.
- Money is the base cause of most of the world's problems.

Weak, inappropriate arguments covering most major issues in society today:

- "It's been happening for thousands of years"
- "I can't do anything about it"
- "It's a necessary part of the diet" (unless referring to water, or some kind of medical condition, there are always substitutes)

Those who exemplify human selfishness and greed:

- "I enjoy it too much" (with regards to meat eating and hunting)

Then there are those who exploit others who can't do any better, or don't have the knowledge.

Which group is worse?

Thursday, January 27, 2011


We are all earthlings.

As earthlings our collective goal is ultimately survival; survival for the individual and for the group.

As humans, we have (unjustifiably) divided ourselves from the rest of the animal population. For humans, it’s no longer about survival ... it’s about being the best; having the best; even at the expense of those people and other animals who are still solely grasping for survival.

Watch this movie. It will ruin any shred of the pleasant ignorance or denial that so many people have conveniently held on to. We all live in reality though; and this, unfortunately, is reality.

This clip is only a few minutes long. I watched the entire 1.5 hour movie, and I encourage you to as well.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Power of Perspectives

It’s a powerful feeling to believe in something strongly; so strongly that you cannot be swayed by anyone who believes differently or may try to convince you that you’re wrong.

It’s a powerful sort of epiphany when one realises why another may have such a strong belief in something that you may not believe in yourself; it is possible to understand why someone has a different belief to you, even though you still may not share that belief.

Maybe people should stop concentrating – or at least concentrate less – on the more trivial, materialistic things in life, and concentrate more on contributing for a better world, or work on their passion; although these may be interconnected. More often than not it seems one’s strengths come in the form of what they are passionate about; when they abide by their own beliefs and values.

A person might see the world for what it really is; they may desire – crave – change. An overwhelmingly strong sense of compassion and determination is what may drive them to reach their full potential and achieve this wish.

My point is that as people learn more about the nature and origin of other peoples’ beliefs, their views of the world may change. By this, I do not mean what they believe (although this can change as well, but for my point, they do not change), but they may develop a deeper, more complex understanding of the world, its elements and issues, and why different people think the way they do.

Personally, I believe that everyone could potentially share the same beliefs; what is lacking, or restricting this unity, is simply (or not so simply) different education, lack of education, cultural origin and other factors perhaps out of the control of many individuals.

What I’d want, in an ideal world, would be for all those with the opportunity and knowledge to contribute their skills to assisting others less fortunate (although perhaps not less happy in ways), and building a happier, healthier world; and to realise that the economy is not a significant attribute to this ‘happiness’ or ‘health’.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Mind Power Revelation

We see the world as we want to see it. What we see with our eyes is simply an illusion; what a specific part of our brain interprets, and presents to us, from the photons it receives. (For more information about the power of perception, check out this video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqnEGu8VF8Y ...the rest of this post will probably make more sense if you view this, though it's not essential)

"You attract to you the predominant thoughts that you're holding in your awareness, whether those thoughts are conscious or unconscious." - Michael Bernard Beckwith

"Your life is a mirror of the dominant thoughts you think." - Rhonda Byrne, The Secret

If we accept for the present, and for this reading, that reality is an illusion and what we see, hear, taste, feel and smell is an interpretation by our brain, then it makes perfect sense that what we think will be reflected again in our reality. For instance, if we dislike a certain food on first tasting it, from then on whenever we see that food we will perceive the image of something negative. Our values, beliefs and previous experiences determine how we interpret what we see in reality.

Unfortunately, as human nature renders us generally fearful of the unknown, rejection and failure, we are somewhat programmed to perceive many objects and situations fearfully, consequently causing us to shy away from reaching our full potentials.

Why, then, is it so difficult for people to change their ways of thinking? Is it simply that, as we fear so many things that could impact us negatively, it is easier to concentrate on these things to prepare ourselves or to avoid disappointment? The problem with this is, while the bigger disappointments *may* be avoided, negative thoughts will eventually accumulate and could have worse affects.

The most important point here is, our thoughts are what we become.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The world for richer or poorer

Since I've just finished uni and am free from study for a while, I've taken the opportunity to finally start reading through a pile of books that has been steadily growing over the year. I started writing an entry last week after watching My Sister's Keeper and being intrigued by the questions it gave rise to; what does it mean to be alive, to have rights and be in control of one's physical self? What risk is there in intentionally 'planning' a human genetically in any way? Would these particular people start to represent a new class of human? If humanity, or the planet, should be hit by some sort of epidemic or natural disaster, would it be possible - would we go to such lengths - as to 'create' people capable of surviving such conditions to repopulate the earth afterwards?

So many questions - yet it all still leads to the idea that perhaps people are gambling their luck a little too much.

And today, I finished reading 'I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced'. I highly recommend this book; an inspiring true story that provides a great insight into Yemeni culture and the oppression of women.

It all leads to a simple question for me though (and this is definitely wishful thinking.) As so many people say, you should finish one assignment before moving onto the next. How different would the world be if, instead of delving into every new possible technology we can get our hands on, we take time to ensure the world is operating as it should be before introducing even more pieces to the puzzle.

Let me finish with this:
Pretend that the world had never invented currency; communities existed through bartering, and everyone was able to get what they needed through simple trading of goods and services.
Think of the issues that wouldn't exist (or at least to a much lesser extent) if money wasn't involved.
How does money really effect the world?