Preface – In Defense of Planetmates

Preface to The Great Reveal:
Toward Inter-Species Understanding … In Defense of Planetmates
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Take Down the Walls of Prejudice … Between Species: In Defense of Planetmates

I’ve heard it said that if we want to find nobility, Nature is hardly the place to look. To support that, it was noted that chimps have been known to murder each other and to war with other troops of chimps; that ants, monkeys, and flocks of crows engage in war. It was pointed out that cows engage in female-female mounting during estrus and chickens rape; that new lions murder all the cubs of their vanquished rivals and “elephant seals roar and batter away at each other like inebriated laborers.” So the assertion was made that animals are the wrong place to look for honor.

Toward Species Relativism and Away from Anthropocentrism

I understand all this, but it struck me that this appraisal was not at all even-handed and suffered from some common biases and prejudices of thought and that it is about time we rethink these prejudices, as we go about eliminating half the species on the planet, short term, because of uncontrollable human greed and insensitivity. Further, it seemed like with the increasing awareness among humans about their own species-centeredness and the most promising rising up of valuing of planetmate consciousness ever in civilization and the first since Native Americans, that I should say something to address these common misunderstandings.

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To begin: Cows engage in female/ female mounting. So? Why is that not honorable? Some monkeys have been known to engage in female genital to genital stimulation (g-g rubbing) when celebrating. What’s wrong with that? I would say humans are the ones who are screwed up and judgmental. For who do these activities harm? They are physically the equivalent of massaging. But since they do it in contrast to our cultural norms, we call these behaviors dishonorable. So who’s not being honorable, really?

That kind of being judgmental about all of Nature, and placing all of Nature below us and judging them according to our arbitrary cultural standards is what makes humans the ignoble ones … as well as the stupider of planetmates.

As for murder, yes, chimps have been known, quite uncommonly, to murder. What is less passed along is that these are chimps who have lived in proximity to humans. These are not chimps in the wild. (Take a look at “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and/or “Mighty Joe Young” if you want to get an idea of why being around humans might instill murderous rage in an otherwise peaceable primate.)

Even the early “studies” on baboons and their “aggression” in dominance rituals and displays—which have most often been used to support the idea of brutality in Nature—were ultimately found to have been distorted by the male researchers that did them. They were selective in their picking groups to study, they blew up the significance of the behaviors they witnessed, and they failed to mention behaviors that didn’t fit their conclusions. So their studies reflected more of the savagery in the human researchers than in the baboon planetmates.

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As for warring and mass killing, well, no planetmate is doing anything to end life on this planet like humans are. Nor are they engaging in world wars and killing off millions of each other for reasons of war or brutality.

Finally—have you ever heard of a planetmate other than humans who engage in torture?

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Essentially we see in the world of Nature only that which we want to see. And what we do see we distort its meaning to rationalize and justify our own worst behavior.

My friend, Sonjamarie Weems, provides an excellent example of how we—humans in general—misinterpret Nature’s ways looking through our cultural biases and filters. She says,

I remember watching this documentary where a mother elephant killed her baby and through tears I was thinking that was the cruelest thing I had ever seen another animal do. Years later I watched the same documentary and had a different perspective because I saw that the herd was starving and that the baby was sick. A pride of lions were already tailing the herd. The mother, knowing that the baby would die first, killed it to likely prevent the agonizing death that she knew was coming to it. It’s hard for us to understand how a mother could do that. Think of the movie Titanic…who wasn’t upset with the 3rd class mother for putting her children to bed in a sinking ship? Makes you think.

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White man used to say Native Americans were savages because they would fight back in hand to hand combat. (duh). Indigenous people were depicted as “uncivilized” savages who killed in bloody, ghastly ways, too. Apparently when white man murdered with guns and more sophisticated weaponry it was alright because it was done in less bloody ways? Further, they never made note of the fact that indigenous people when they went to war did very little killing and quite a bit of their “savagery” was simple display.

So white man wiped out these “savages” and committed genocide on entire societies/cultures of them. And the indigenous peoples … THEY were the savages?!

I think we currently have a similar attitude about our planetmates as White Man has had about indigenous peoples historically. We are the savages seeing “savagery” in other people … and in Nature.

We are seeing what is going on in Nature through filters biased in our favor, much like being ethnocentric in judging other cultures and “races.” And with a closer look and putting judgment to the side we come up with an entirely different understanding—one that aids the cross-species understanding between humans and planetmates that is now, and none too soon, dawning on us.

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Continue with The Great Reveal Keynote, Part One: Return to Nobility – Message to the Half-Borns Begins

Return to Wounded Deer and Centaurs — Book 5

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Note

In response to the idea I’ve been presenting that our sciences are not only anthropocentric but also built on a highly questionable theological position — a Judeo-Christian one — that we are “God’s chosen species” a reader commented,

“Our science is built on Greek rationalism.”

My response:

And Greek rationalism was overturned by Freud and later by experiential psychotherapies.

Of course, rationalism has been proven incorrect in the social sphere as well … witness the Tea Party and right wing rhetoric in general.

The idea that humans are rational is now a joke. The idea that we are “God’s chosen species” and magically endowed with the senses and quality of those perceptions to see reality better than any other species that we even know of … well, that would be a joke if the inherent arrogance in that were not so un-funny.

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Continue with The Great Reveal Keynote, Part One: Return to Nobility – Message to the Half-Borns Begins

Return to Wounded Deer and Centaurs — Book 5

To Read the Entire Book … on-line, free at this time … of which this is one chapter, Go to The Great Reveal by the Planetmates

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