Innerfreedom of man and the relationship with animals

Animal Freedom 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.
What keeps us from inner liberation and mental growth?
What does inner liberation entail?
Inner liberation and other core statements
Conditions for self-realization
Inner respect and awareness
What use is the inner liberation of people to animals?
Historically there 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.
Direct contact 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.
Acquiring freedom 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.

What keeps 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. evolutionSome forms of freedom have deteriorated into a form of addiction. Happiness is generated artificially. 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 needs. 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 overconsumption. A balanced society leaves animals their rightful place and freedom as well.

Inner freedom means that people develop their consciousness

This means that they:
  • become increasingly aware of their influence on their surroundings and on the fate of animals
  • take responsibility for the consequences of their influence
  • do not base their self-appreciation on the judgment of others, and stop judging others
  • 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 emptiness
  • restrain themselves voluntarily, and don't begrudge others when they fill the vacated space
  • 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 function
  • 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 boundaries
  • realize that it is better for everyone to direct themselves to unconditional giving instead of taking, without selling themselves short
  • value and integrate feelings, mind, observation and intuition equally
  • do not try to force happiness and (personal) progress

Inner liberation 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 others.
Man can 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 for this.

Self restraint and respect integrated with involvement and self-realization

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 voluntary act. Respect is also linked to involvement. Between these two concepts there exists the same tension as exists between self-restraint and self-realization.
Abraham Maslow, a humanistic psychologist, placed the conditions for self-realization in a pyramid. 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 their work. 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.
  1. Physiological needs are the elementary and primary necessities of life, such as food and drink, sleep, rest and warmth.
  2. Safety needs are: security, protection and safety of existence.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 good.

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 combination of 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 are both in no-thought. There is 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).

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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