Are we Human Racists?

Surfing this great site for a few weeks now, I’ve come to a realization that I had heretofore only vaguely formed in my mind.

Human beings are a form of species racists. We assume we are at the pinnacle of development in every aspect of existence. Our very own languages are laced with this notion: we speak of inhumane treatment or human rights or humanly possible or and this is the worst that’s inhuman. I sure you could think of more humanity based phrases that illustrate our obsession with our own supremacy in all things on Earth. Every culture worldwide presumes that WE, I mean people, are above other species on this planet. We do this, if even we revere them as is done in certain Asian religions. More explicitly we do this by our collective actions. That is, by controlling and changing the environment here on this planet. We create cities, and drain the planet of resources and in general act as Gods on Earth. By our actions we loudly proclaim our humanistic racist positions. We go further and form mythologies describing how we have a connection (specifically a descendance) with yet a higher being or beings that inaugurates our human supremacy. To me here, it gets sickening…although not all culture do this… the scientific one doesn’t. Still it affirms our supremacy over all beings not human.

And beyond this, we assume we are the species to go looking others like us. That is, intelligent, self-aware species out to contact others of it ilk. The assumptions we make about our ourselves are so engrained that they are a kind of human racism. I suggest you compare it to intra-species racism and I think you’ll see they are the same.

We in literature, both scientific and religious treat other species as beings of which we caretakers because they are what: inferior to us of course! To those that would quote naturalist cultures worldwide that worship animals and had mythologies built on these notions, I respond, but did they not still subjugate and controls these species. No, no we are human racists. And we can’t help but be that. After all, we have conquered the natural world. We did in the past. In in cultures that would be considered primitive, human beings ruled the joint and preyed on the other species, so it’s not eye-opening that we feel this way.

This idea somehow troubles me. I find our egotistical notion of ourselves as being deeply flawed, and the perhaps the seeds of our destruction. In believing in our supremum position on this planet and by association in reality in general we might be setting ourselves up for downfall.

I must stress that this attitude is common around the world. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a village in a jungle or a great city, we are ALL, ALL human racists.

When will we become humble and not see ourselves the demigods of reality. Rationalism teaches us we can know all things. And I subscribe to rationalism. I am as guilty as you of human racism. I DO think we are the apex of the pyramid.

And on that day when some alien species proves us wrong, I’ll be just as dismayed as you.

Though I am a vegetarian and a big animal lover, I do believe there are different types of power, and in one respect we are powerful. When a species gains the ability to single handily destroy the planet, which we have with nukes or with slowly killing it with pollution, then I would say humans are powerful. Does that power give us the license to use the planet as we see fit? Well that is a moral question and you need to create a moral philosophy to argue that one way or the other.

I would rather appeal to realism and state that humans like all species tries to do what it thinks is in the best interest of itself, and so it will multiply and use the planets resources until it becomes evident that it just can’t do it anymore. This is slowly becoming evident.

I think your argument isn’t very logically stated, but rather emotionally stated. Biologically, a species is solely designed to perpetuate its pattern and that is what humans have done, possibly to its detriment.

my argument is no argument at all.

I’m not making an if P then Q here. I’m making an accusatory narrative of us.

I am not appealing to us as human beings to be more …how ironic this will sound… humane towards other living beings on this planet sir. I am saying clearly we are the most egotistical species yet to grace this planet and worst of all PROUD of it!

But, I think you’re asking me, to not be accusatorily, but suggest solutions.

This I can’t do. I can say, lets start not looking at ourselves are demigods by nature, but that would be ineffectual and unheard.

I’m holding up a mirror to ourselves with this piece. I’m sure it’s been done before in other forums.

How does one become a non-human racist? By respecting other life forms and seeing them as our equals? This reckons back to the self-same sickness within our own species and for which we find no cure.

You hear comments like: well X group never developed Y form of civilization, but this doesn’t mean they’re stupid or primitive, intra-species apologists argue. But, the larger one, the one that applies to all of us is almost invisible to us. We assume our supremacy and in most cases and are unconscious of it. Even when environmentalists are pleading for us to recognize it. It’s just too engrained in us.

It’s not really about racism, man-- what you’re talking about is political, psychological, something not about human nature but “second” nature… ultimately, I think what you’re talking about is fascism! Why have we become so enamored of power?

How do we not totalize the ecosphere into a planet, how do we avoid over-instrumentalizing nature into the raw material of production, how do we recognize and respect the Other? It’s interesting that these semi-ethical questions about treatment of others have been at the core of the so-called “theological” or “ethical” turn in certain postmodern circles (Nancy, Derrida, Levinas, etc.)

For what–or who–are we so proud, Robleh? Are we just trying to impress our daddies, or is this about power and control? Or we do we even have a conscious idea behind this fantasy of total domination which becomes more actual every instant? It seems most of this is unconscious-- much of it could not exist, people would not cooperate, if people knew what they were doing… But then we’re already back at ideology and false consciousness!

killing is my business and business is good…

ever ask a shark if he feels guilty?

guilt will be bred out of the human animal

-Imp

There’s a word for your topic:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speciesism

Not necessarily. Some white people, for example, are too stupid to realize that the black race is a disaster.

da…dat…tshhh

I am learning to hate everyone equally to older I get. At this point I have absolutely no friends and I couldn’t give two fucks about my “family”. However, the more and more I feel isolated and alone the more I learn to love myself. The only consideration I give to other people is “how to use them to my advantage.” When I look at people, I no longer see “living things” but instead some kind of random accident that shoudn’t have come into existence. Rarely do I look at a person in the eyes when talking to them. This is not because of cowardice. This is because I cannot seriously look at someone today without wanting to strangle them.

For myself, hating is no longer a matter of race but of culture…“consumerism” specifically. These people are like a species unto themselves. Its like when a person is born into a consumer culture, they are given a kit with a short instruction manual and video tape, to learn how to be as stupid as possible, to lie, and to think they are more important than they really are.

Are you familiar with Lynn White and her hypothesis regarding nature and all that?

I think you’d enjoy it. But be sure to read the criticisms too, it is (quite obviously) incomplete.

I was not intending to start a discussion of human hatred or the term that is in vogue now, intolerance. I was addressing our notion of being human and what it meant. I see, the intent of original post has been misunderstood. I’m not making a moralistic narrative on what is wrong with us as species! I am addressing what we are as a species. Though, I do go on to make the point that, it’s not pretty. Another poster said that it’s unconscious and made the case for me misunderstanding what my topic was really about. He says what I’m really saying is we are species driven by a need for control or if you will: power. I can with reservations agree with the characterization. I fully agree we don’t consciously see ourselves as considering our human race as being a supremum of all living things on Earth. When I crush out the stray fly that invades my apartment in summer, I don’t think, ooh poor little living thing, that I’m so far beyond, I killed you. Or more telling, when we slaughter in their millions, cows on industrial farms, which are then sent processing factories for the food industry to be comsumed by us; we don’t realize this a real expression of human supremacy. It is an unconscious act of expressing our will. We are not in a Nietzschean sense making a ‘will to power’ with the non-humans of this planet. We are in power. And we are inescapably in the ‘human condition’.

I guess, the real point I was trying to make is we are trapped in 3D, hopelessly focused on ourselves and survival in 3D, and unable to see anything beyond that. And I guess that does sound like moral judgement. Though, I wished it didn’t.

Lately, I’ve been reading some of the writing of mathematical topologists. And some them describe higher spatial dimensions, that we can’t ever experience, but at least theoretical can exist. For instance if we take an N-tuple of order 10, that is a dimension of 10 dimensions, 3D becomes small and insignificant. The vertices of 10 dimensional figures are large indeed. The perspective in the sense of ‘viewing’ it’s environment is so far beyond what we see. If beings exist in this dimension, then how can we compare?

Obviously because of their separation to dimensional ordering they would never know us, as we would never know them, but it calls in to question this repugnant notion that we’re the end result of existence. Of course no one can physical prove that higher dimensional beings exist, I know.

It’s clear we can only exist in 3D space. If we were to go down a dimension, to 2D, our own digestive tracts would divide us in to two slices, so we must exist in this state. And we are trapped in this dimensional state too. We are not of the highest order of existence is really my point. And with that I’ve said enough.

Detrop’ you off-point comments seems out of character to me. I too find humanity strange. I too believe in existential principles, though I find you on the edge…

It takes a real(sic) communist to truly hate ordinary people.

To be honest, I am certain that I dislike most people. I like Marxist theory, but am more sure I dislike most people. I think technically I cannot be called a Marxist anymore. I sure do want to be an “ist” but I don’t think there is one that would fit me. All I know is that I made a deal with God at twenty-seven, telling him he had five years to do something divine for me (pull a few strings) or all deals are off. He hasn’t. It has been five years. Now, its my turn.

So fuck you, the world, and your God.

Oh, and be a good sport and ask the administrators to remove the marxist description from under my name please. It is time to move on.

Is it still a ‘racism’ if it’s true?

“Speciesism” is an inevitable process of our evolution. We evolved as a carnivorous species with a limited ability to digest a small range of wild plant material- in other words, we heavily relied on animal foods; it is only “natural” for us to think of our prey as “inferior”- selection favors it, as the one who sees animals as “equals” will simply starve for his refusal to eat what our bodies are designed for.

No offense to any veggies here, but IMO vegetarianism is an ignorant and futile lifestyle/philosophy- it does nothing to “save” animals, as vegetarianism can only be practiced within modern civilization with its agricultural products, and this modern civilization is inherently destructive to animals (and everything else), whether you eat meat/animal products or not. If you eat meat, you support killing of individual animals, but if you eat most vegetables and grains, you support the complete eradication of entire ecosystems, which in turn kills many more animals than individual bovines from meat-eating. Not to mention farming necessitates the tilling of countless smaller animals in the fields. Vegetarianism is a choice that can only be made within this destructive civilization, with its reliance upon these ecologically destructive agricultural products (soy, wheat, neolithic vegetables, beans, etc.), and thus, in the end, vegetarianism is just as anthropocentric as any other facet of civilization.

Of course, it must be noted that most meat consumption supports the growing of these agricultural products also(in order to feed the cattle). Ultmately, the problem is modern civilization, not meat-eating, and since vegetarianism is a part of civilization, it is NOT the path to end animal exploitation. Unfortunately, this sounds counterintuitive to most.

Not to mention most plant material is very discondordant with our biology- if I am going to be contributing to animal “exploitation” one way or another (carnivorous or vegetarian), I figure I may as well have full health in the process (animal foods are VITAL for full health, despite what completely unscientific and misleading vegetarian propaganda depicts).

All in all, speciesism appears(in my mind) to be an evolved attribute that arises from for our carnivorous biology.

Are you aware that vegetarianism has been around for over 2 thousand years and dates back to pre-Hellenistic era. Please see the Pythagoreans and their vegetarian diet. Before you start to spout off that vegetarianism is a luxury of civilized society, consult your history. Even in pre-civilized society, it was possible to be a vegetarian.

Please cite an academic source that says that we are unable to live healthy on a vegetarian diet with supplements. Because to tell you the truth, I feel fine and have never been healthier.

I used to date a vegetarian chick. She wasn’t doing it to be healthy, but because she thought it was wrong to eat animals. I’d get her drunk and convince her to eat hot dogs from vendors outside of bars, then make her feel guilty about it the next day.

Sure! You convinced her to eat “hot dogs.” I sure hope there wasn’t any special sauce on them too.

You are mistaken. It wasn’t Mears who convinced her. It was the alcohol. Why do you think he got her drunk man? Because he couldn’t convince her sober, maybe?

(oh that’s gotta hurt)

I don’t really have a direct point, but here are a few thoughts that came to me when reading this…

To those that seek to explain speciesism by recourse to biology: Saying that its natural and due to our carnivorous background, or anything similar, does not excuse it, nor does it make it better to be doing it. It is not natural for us to live in houses, yet i would definately say that it is better to do so.

Robleh i think your comments are far too general. Speciesism is definately a common thing amongst people, I agree, but to say that we are all “human racists” is surely to categorical a claim. For instance, are you yourself a speciesist? Simultaneously spouting its immorality and saying that you too suffer from the same condition?

Uccisore’s point is, I think, relevant to this topic, though not totally correct. “Is it still racism if it’s true?” It does not suddently not become racism just because it happens to be validated by contingent facts about the world. Sure, it may turn out that this attitude is correct, or maybe not. Its accuracy bears no relation to its justification (unless you subscribe to some highly dubious externalist account of justification). However, its not speciesism if its justified which it is - at least partially.

I definately want to qualify myself by saying “partially” however, as by no means could it even be possible to justifiy the extent to which our assurance in our own superiority goes. For instance, I think it undeniable that we have certain properties that animals do not, most those that come from our language and our social environment - rationality, reflection, reason etc. I’m sure you know the usual ones. I do not want to say that animals could not have these (except perhaps as a normative point… if they are capable of acheiving these things they are no longer to be considered animals but people) merely that it seems to be the case that no (or few - chimpanzees and dolphins/whales etc are definately at least borderline cases) animals so far have been discovered to have such things.

Whilst I say this, however, I would like to agree with you that by and large people are speciesist towards animals. I like to think that my position on animals is reasonable - i see no reason to posit them having reflective abilities in most cases. However, a common preconception is that animals could not have minds. Descartes is probably the father of this school of thought in modern times (bloody descartes… always coming in here and philosophising and stuff. Can’t he just stay dead?) as he was well known for stating that, even if externally an animal may seem to be doing mental things (you could describe your dog as wanting, liking etc) it would be a mistake as animals could not possibly have minds. What we need to be careful of is not to make this mistake… not to think that those creatures we think are animals are incapable of having minds, even primitive ones. When the external events need explanation by internal ones, we must explain them in this way.

Speciesism towards animals is not so problematic, however, as it is towards our evironment. I’m aware this sentence seems to not make sense… let me explain.

Man has the view that we can take ourselves out of our environment. If you take a man, and put him in space, he will still be a man. To a certain extent this is true, but only because the “environment” is greater than our immediate surroundings. To extract from this to our environment as a whole (this is a tricky concept… it does not mean merely the natural world, but includes social environment, conditions etc…) then it presents problems. It does not truly make sense to attempt to separate our selves from our environment. We are intrinsically linked to it in a way that damaging one damages the other (yes, damaging ourselves damages the environment as well as the clear reversal).

This so called “speciesism” towards our environment is purely the view that we can be totally abstracted from it, thus thinking that we are something substantial (somethign which does not rely on something else) if taken in abstraction. This view is false and is, as Rubleh rather poetically says, the seed of our own downfall.

In summary of my whole points… i think it fair to say that we probably are a “superior” species in comparison to others we know of, but it is only a matter of degree, and it is not the case that we are separate in kind to others. To view ourselves as totally distinct from other creatures is not just wrong, it is dangerous and prejudiced. However, to say that we ALL do this is far to wide a claim and is, i think, unjustified.

Racism to me means that biological differences are seen as meaning something about the quality of the person. I do not heard very many serious complaints about that in conversations.

When I came to the US I found myself in discussions about the behavior of black people and what to watch out for. All complaints and warning could be traced back to culture and behavior patterns. Never did any man relate dangerous behavior to brain or nose size.

Perhaps current racism is actually related to social philosophy conflicts.

Sweet! (As in cool) :sunglasses: