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“What We Owe to Nonhuman Animals,” by Dr. Gary Steiner (vegan), Part 2 of 2

2023-12-02
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Today, we continue our interview with Professor Steiner as he explains how humans are unique among animal-people, but not superior. “I explained that when I was 15 years old, I read a famous book by Upton Sinclair, one of the muckraker journalists, written in 1906, and it’s called ‘The Jungle.’ And it exposes the horrors of the degradation of the meatpacking industry and animal husbandry, not only for nonhuman animals, but for human beings as well. And it says something like this: ‘They use everything in it but the squeal.’ That was so uprooting, so shocking to me.” “I’ll tell you a little story out of the book of Genesis. In fact, John Milton, in the early modern age when he wrote ‘Paradise Lost,’ when he describes Eden, he calls it a fruitful green land, which is the suggestion that this was a kind of vegetarian paradise.” Our Beloved Supreme Master Ching Hai (vegan) uses the term “animal-people” to describe our animal-folk co-inhabitants. “If it’s true that every animal knows more than you, then you should be lucky, you should count yourself thankful that you are a member of that moral community, not the exclusive member of it.”

Dr. Steiner now introduces his newest book, “What We Owe to Nonhuman Animals: The Historical Pretensions of Reason and the Ideal of Felt Kinship.” “The idea of ‘felt kinship’ is this idea that we have to have a kind of massive, massive step of humility. That book is an attempt to enrich that sense of cosmic holism, cosmic justice, and the sense of how we have to undo the historical pretentions of reason in the Western philosophical tradition.” “Being human is a privilege, is my attitude. All it does is add to our obligations. It adds to our burdens of responsibility to care. And the idea to me is you should be vegan, because if you’re not, I’m not sure you fully deserve to be human. You should be vegan because that’s what it means in the most authentic moral sense to be human. To care enough about others, to be selfless enough to care about the nonhuman as much as you care about the human – that’s what it means to be a vegan.”
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