Euwen Drewermann on ethics in respect to animals

Eugen Drewermann (born 1940) is an inspired man, psychoanalyst and Catholic priest.
He was suspended from this last mentioned function on grounds of his theological opinions. From both professions he considers the relationship between man and animal.
He once said there are three things that he "hates": war, money and the way in which we tend to go about with animals. On the basis of his experience with people, he states that fear brings man to violence and aggression, both actually as well as economically, also against animals.

Fear blockades ethical acting

Christian dogmatics have uplifted man to the centre of the universe and the purpose of the evolution. Therefore everything, also the animal, is inferior to and for the benefit of man and ethics in respect of animals have not come to development. But: when you do not act ethical when animals are concerned, can you yet do so in respect of people?
Ethics are, we can say, focussed on letting people live in esteem and appreciation for each other. No-one obliges you to do so but when you do, it enriches your life.
It reliefs and brings a satisfaction that you carry forth all your life and that helps to shape your personality. When people are indifferent to animals or, we can subjoin, to the weaker members of society, they do not take an ethical position and bring harm not only to the other fellow but to themselves as well. And it always turns out that he who once disregards the distress of someone else, finds himself on a slippery slope. Man, modern man certainly, is aware of the finiteness and fortuity of his existence (of his "contingency").
He has lost confidence in de grounds of his existence and therefore does his utmost to create his own securities: military, socially and nowadays above all economically.
He subordinates everything to them and by doing so loses his humanity.

Our conception of God has changed, what next?

Modern secular man no longer has a God that he can derive his right to exist from. At most he can acknowledge that there exists a universal awareness or eternal energy, that he rests upon. But once he has this experience he knows it is good that he exists in the way he does, and that he needs not to prove himself all the time. Subsequently he can quiet down and will put an end to his strive for power, for superiority, for economic growth: that cancerous tumour that must grow all the time at the cost of the organism that hosts it. Then he no longer suffers from himself and can have an eye for the weaklings, amongst which animals.
In the love (compassion) between people who truly are themselves without fear, the other is given freedom while both keep their responsibilities.
You help the other person to go his way in his own manner.
That basic attitude can be applied further to animals.
When it concerns animals man has a greater responsibility because they, just as children, have lesser hold on their situation. In the ever diminishing free space on earth man has to influence circumstances in such way that also the animal can maintain its freedom.

logoThis page describes one aspect of the influence that man has on the quality of life of an animal. We wish to promote the (in other countries as well) growing of awareness, that freedom is also important for an animal. An animal is not a thing, but a being that has the right to quality of a natural way of life. If you want to do something to help animals, click here for our suggestions.

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