Unlearning Human Exceptionalism – Contribution to GTI Forum Solidarity with Animals

| January 23, 2024 | Leave a Comment

Item Link: Access the Resource

File: Download

Date of Publication: February

Year of Publication: 2023

Publication City: Cambridge, MA

Publisher: Tellus Institute

Author(s): Melanie Challenger

Eileen Crist’s powerful essay makes a sequence of essential points, but one of the most important is the dissonance between the systems that perpetuate and legitimize violence, exploitation, and denigration and the affiliative psychology that flourishes in the private and communal, allowing members of Homo sapiens to bond with animals of many different kinds. Crist asks of us: how are we to make sense of nations of pet lovers, readily sentimental about dogs and dolphins, who routinely tolerate, even participate in, the brutal oppression of other species?

Crist is right to signpost certain aspects of human psychology. Human individuals are various, and human cultures are thrillingly diverse, yet we are also a species with common enough traits to offer all the solace of mutual understanding. Today, there are things we can understand about the human psychology of exploitation that can help us to make sense of humans as both animal lovers and animal oppressors.

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