reflects on circumstances blocking or supporting
the ethical treatment of animals.
We are not propagating any particular philosophy,
religion, organization or political party.
People's psychological development relates
with how they act. The focus of this article
is on mental growth and inner liberation,
and when possible a link is made with man's
actions and it's consequences for animals.
is a strong relationship between religion,
animals and food. Man observed a certain respect
and modesty towards animals as a source of
food. Up to 30 years ago, it was general practice
to give thanks (to God or to the animal that
served as food) before a meal.
||In nature, animals
live free. Many people find spiritual experiences
in nature. There must be something in nature
that evokes these experiences.
It is striking that very few people searching
for spirituality take into account the fate
of animals. The animals living in isolation
in the stables of factory farms are ignored.
We think this is unjust.
between man and farm animals has diminished
over time, while meat consumption and the
lack of freedom for animals has increased.
People are increasingly finding themselves
ways of becoming freer. We call this progress.
may seem like progress. This is not always
the case. Often a new dependency grows beneath
the surface of the guise of freedom.
|As a consequence of self-realization
and inner liberation, people are inclined
to act in a way that advances the well being
of man and animal. We would like to support
that people voluntarily have consideration
for animals, and no longer buy meat from industrial
farming. This will bring closer the political
turning point at which industrial farming
may be abolished.
us from inner liberation and mental growth?
We "grow" when we are stimulated
and ingest the right nutrients. Just as
with plants, overfertilization leads to
a loss of vitality and an increased sensitivity
to stress. Inner liberation is worth the
trouble, but following your own path is
not sufficient guarantee for happiness.
We can experience moments of pure happiness,
but in the end we have to do it ourselves,
often by omitting something.
A number of (un)natural circumstances in
our modern society can block inner growth:
- Availability and popularity of stimulants
- No time for others
- Focusing on career and making money
- Competition instead of co-operation
- Embellishment and distortion of reality
by the media and their unquestioning acceptance
as for real.
What all these circumstances have in common
is that it appears as if people are inwardly
free. Freedom of one person has become the
loss of freedom of another.
forms of freedom have deteriorated into
a form of addiction. Happiness is generated
Freedom is about setting
limits to yourself and others. Out of
a false sense of freedom people ignore or
approach each other aggressively.
Besides ignorance, indifference and feeling mutually uncomfortable, freedom
can sometimes incite fear, which makes people
long back to lesser freedom.
It's becoming increasingly hard for people
to remain in contact with themselves and
to feel for themselves how far they want
to go along in the temptations offered to
them. Should we work harder and make more
money before fortune smiles upon us, or
work less (hard)? Alcohol and drugs are
at hand to help happiness along, or to numb
misfortune. In view of the apparent success
of others the fear grows of missing out
and of being denied a portion of prosperity.
Wisdom and insight will come if you create
space. Everyone knows what he basically
Unfortunately, the outside world is often
trying to complicate this and to lure you
along in the maelstrom of excessiveness.
Your inner liberation can be blocked if
you constantly and covertly let people tell
you that you're not happy. Their message
is: "It is possible to live in permanent
bliss if you buy our product".
Inner liberation means a balanced life,
in which (un)pleasant feelings have their
own place. Setting limitations to ourselves
and to others, and being limited by others,
is not always easy. Besides, we are constantly
getting the message to expand our boundaries
and to consume more.
The balance is tipped under the weight of
society leaves animals their rightful
place and freedom as well.
means that people develop their consciousness. This means that they:
- become increasingly aware of their influence
on their surroundings and on the fate
- take responsibility for the consequences of their influence
- do not base their self-appreciation
on the judgment of others, and stop judging
- know how to put their ego and their selfishness into perspective,
and to (gradually) replace it with self-realization
- do not fill their lives with senseless
activities just for fear of silence and
- restrain themselves voluntarily, and
don't begrudge others when they fill the
- live in the here and now, and are themselves
- do not insist on behaving like a permanent
victim of a past event
- know their prejudices and realize their
- develop a sense of compassion for others
- strife to modesty
- maintain a balance between keeping a
distance and being involved (i.e. respect)
- realize that nobody has more rights
than any other, man or animal
- fight injustice and dare to set
- realize that it is better for everyone
to direct themselves to unconditional
giving instead of taking, without selling
- value and integrate feelings, mind,
observation and intuition equally
- do not try to force happiness and (personal)
important thing is to get a balance in the
dance of opposed forces. Timing and alternation
of opposed forces identify inner growth.
Undergoing and making use of opposed forces,
and subsequently exceeding them - or being
liberated from them - is a pragmatic paradox.
and other core statements
In the case of animal rights, we plead
for using the same basic assumptions as
were emphasized during the French Revolution: freedom, equality
and brotherhood. The first two statements
are extensively treated on this site and
in law and constitution in general. In brotherhood
we see the equivalent of "love and
compassion". By inherently freeing
others and ourselves we are creating conditions
for the exchange of love and compassion
in a healthy way. Here, freedom is both
a means and a goal.
The legal equality between people and the
freedom of animals are in danger from the
ruling economical doctrine, that says: "you
can have almost any identity with the accompanying
economic status". As always, people
want to distinguish themselves from others.
There is a danger that one person thinks
he's better than the other, especially if
the difference is expressed in economical
status. To win status, people have to fight
a hard battle to the limits of their abilities.
Unfortunately, in stretching the boundaries
of human capabilities the human spirit is
lost. There is no time, no attention and
no room for others. The signals of protest
from vulnerable people, children and animals
are ignored. This group is molded and kept
dependent on the individual ambitions of
only develop himself (self-actualization)
when he feels safe and when he can be himself.
Only when these conditions are met, real
freedom, love and equality can be given
to others, man as well as animal.
Being involved with each other on the one
side, and keeping sufficient distance on
the other side, forms a fragile human balance.
If that balance is disrupted, there is no
room to sincerely involve oneself in vulnerable
others such as animals. When people cannot
separate themselves from others, and are
not free to decide to what degree they want
to bond with others, or when it's difficult
to keep a distance, this can lead to aggression.
Another consequence may be that people exaggerate
their involvement with animals, because
they themselves feel less dependent on people
if they have the devotion of animals. The
animal can be a victim of this improper
human need for contact.
What's important is to be receptive to the animal's right to freedom and to care and show attention
and respect integrated with involvement
On the basis of these concepts we will
try to make clear that it is good for people
not to overstep their own and other people's
boundaries in their contact with others,
be it people or animals. Restraint that
is based on inability to make contact is
not desirable and is not the definition
of freedom we envision.
In order to handle the freedom of others,
it is important that people feel when it
is proper to restrain themselves, namely
at the point where their individual freedom
ends and other people's freedom begins.
Only when people know when to restrain
themselves there is room for respecting
others. Respect then means something like
"keeping a certain distance and making
sure that I do not limit others in their
freedom" and "knowing when not
to touch something or to omit something".
It is essential that self-restraint is a
Respect is also linked to involvement. Between
these two concepts there exists the same
tension as exists between self-restraint
Abraham Maslow, a humanistic
psychologist, placed the conditions for
self-realization in a pyramid:
|| Need for recognition
|| Social Needs
|| Need for safety
| Physiological needs
Normally, parents, as well as school,
set the conditions for teenagers to develop
and fulfill their social needs. Adults try
to find recognition and appreciation in
Modern developments in the workplace, in
which flexibility and responsibility are
stressed, give possibilities for self-realization
but also generate the fear that more basic
needs cannot be satisfied. Managers that
change jobs more quickly than their employees,
companies run by people who are only after
the big money, no longer provide a safe
basis from which to function. Combined with
high work pressure they block the possibility
of self-realization and threaten to oppress
the possibility of self-realization for
vulnerable others (e.g. teenagers).
Only when the basic needs
are fulfilled, people can start to fulfill
their higher needs.
- Physiological needs are the elementary
and primary necessities of life, such
as food and drink, sleep, rest and warmth.
- Safety needs are: security, protection
and safety of existence.
- Social needs are the need for love,
interaction with others, friendship and
attention. People want to belong to a
group or community to share experiences.
- Needs for recognition can be the wish
to be appreciated and respected. People
want to be complimented and have status,
but they also want to have self respect.
- Self-realization or self-actualization
is the need for knowledge, truth, beauty
and wisdom. When people reach this stage,
they start to fully develop the capacities,
capabilities and talents they have in
themselves. The chances of enjoying a
happy life (with Peak-experiences) are
Inner respect and awareness
Inner freedom and awareness are elements of a processs whereby man no longer wishes to coincide with his own reason and feelings. In other words, he possesses thoughts, feelings and emotions, but he no longer identifies with these sentiments by disconnecting his ego from them. Man becomes, as it were, an actual observer of the processes within himself. In this way he creates space and quietude in himself. The human creator is also conscious of his connection to others and all other forms of life in the Universe. In this way he creates a unity and thus behaves respectfully, he respects the integrity of all living creatures.
Respect is the tension between being involved (connected) and keeping distance. Inner respect leads to awareness of the universal connection with the other (man and animal) and the freedom that exists apropos the inner processes.
Eckhart Tolle: “The animals are at a level prior to thinking. They haven’t lost themselves in thought. We rise above thinking and then we meet them again, where we’re both in no-thought. There’s a deep connection.”
What use is the inner
liberation of people to animals?
Having compassion for animals means that
people allow themselves to feel emotions
when they try to imagine the fate of animals.
It is better not to be crushed by pity,
but someone who suppresses his pity is blocking
personal growth. We think it is important
that people try to prevent bringing and
keeping animals into a position of dependency
as much as possible; that people become
less indifferent about the fate of animals
and that they actively try to become aware
of how the fate of animals can be improved.
Preferably by eating less meat and certainly
no meat from industrial farming. We think
it is a positive trend that people do not
want - to lock up - pets because they don't want to commit themselves
to caring for them.
From a social point of view we are in favor
of a progressive detachment of economic
benefits from using animals for food, laboratory
testing and other needs.
We think that a sane
society is possible in which the emancipation
of animals has progressed so far that not
a single animal is (mis)used. When this
goal can be reached is not of much interest,
what is important is to see what brings
this goal close (faster).
|Author: Bert Stoop
|This page describes one aspect of the influence that man has on the quality of life of an animal.
Other pages on this site describe other aspects that contribute to the growth of global awareness that freedom is important for an animal too. The quality of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
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