Sunday, January 15, 2012

Cruelty Defined

Something that has been weighing on my mind as of late has been the anger that I've been seeing in people lately and acts of cruelty that humans perpetrate on eachother and on animals.

Nobody would ever admit to being cruel. There is not one person on earth that would be proud to be called that.

And yet, there are so many people who justify, rationalize their cruelty that the mask of denial needs to be ripped away....

Cruelty is not seeing another person's pain and exploiting them as an object for sale, or an object to serve us. We can rationalize cruelty through dehumanizing another through racial epithets or saying that animals don't feel.

What's really going on is that WE have stopped feeling and have lost the ability to be EMPATHETIC, which is man's beauty at it's zenith.

Empathy has been defined as "Your pain in MY heart".

Empathy is something that people can be born with....children have amazing capacity for empathy, but it is also taught and is also UNTAUGHT...

Parents are usually the first to destroy the empathetic spirit in a child by not mirroring their pain. Children are then taught to stuff their feelings and to survive they must numb out. They also learn that this is a "dog eat dog" world and that to survive they must eat or be eaten.

This is all role-modeled by parents themselves who are not receiving empathy in their world trying to earn a living in a same "dog eat dog" world and are scared to death they won't be able to provide for their children. Their children pick up this fear and pain and vocalize it, which makes the parents need to silence this as they don't have the answers yet on how to deal with it and aren't ready to face this fear, pain and feeling of failure and find it painful to be pointed out.

We as a society have lost most of our capacity to feel empathy for animals. They truly are at the bottom of the totem pole of the hierarchy of society.

If the way animals were treated were applied to humans, you would be bought, encaged, impregnated if you are a female, have your children taken away from you multiple times if you were a dairy cow, injected with antibiotics and hormones to fatten you up, and then ultimately killed to be served as food for someone else who could afford to buy you.

The bonds that we develop with "pets" haven't opened our eyes to the emotional lives of other non-pets that ultimately make it onto our plates. We just don't SEE them because we haven't KNOWN them as unique beings....much like soldiers can drop bombs on faceless men, women and children....

Food companies carefully design it this way since their factories have no signs out front and their slaughterhouses rarely allow tours. Their trucks are also unmarked. People have truly become disconnected from where their food comes from and if they had to slaughter their own food, most wouldn't be able to do it.

Some would. To those "some" they often have been doing it from a very early age as a weekend recreational outing with a loved parent to the woods to hunt as a family.

I have seen parents who were anorexic that would have weighing sessions with their children with them.

I have seen parents give their 3 year olds cigarettes to smoke or put Pepsi in their bottles.

I have heard of parents who have allowed their children to watch porn movies.

There is a HUGE disconnect out there with regards to how much suffering we feel inside that we've never fully processed and had to numb out and thus are unable to truly support the pain of another being because we can't even support our own pain.

Folks, it's OUR responsibility to get support for our pain. There are supportive safe places to go. There are Twelve Step groups that are free of charge to heal from our painful pasts.

There are Non-Violent Communication classes we can take to learn self-empathy and ultimately empathy for others.

We are responsible for changing our pasts and thus the future. We don't have to react or worse, mindlessly pass on that which we have inherited, but we can make conscious choices to be different and change our world.

Saying we are not cruel is one thing; LIVING a non-cruel life often makes us the butt of other's cruelty to often heap their unresolved pain onto us in an effort to salve their own pain and consciences.

This is an opportunitiy to reach out to these pained ones so that we can all heal. Morally judging will get us nowhere, because, somewhere in this person's past was a cruelty heaped on them that went unpunished....that does not justify them repeating the cycle, which is often done unconsciously, but a teaching opportunity to show a different way.

Yes, living a cruelty-free life requires COURAGE.

I was inspired by the late Martin Luther King Jr's words below. I do not celebrate birthdays, so this is not in honor of his birthday, but really in honor of how he lived his life and taught others to not be cruel. Being able to withstand society's disapproval by realizing they are projecting their own self-hate onto us will help us to stand tall even when we are standing for peace:

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