For years I have been saying that I am not
a mother of adopted children
Most people don't understand when I say that I'm not "that", that I'm ME.
Yes, I am "that" too... but I'm SO MUCH MORE, that none of those words can even begin to describe who I AM, not even those who depict the most important parts of ME. No word could ever do that. Not one million words. Not in one million languages. Not in one million years. Not me, not any living being.
Every time we describe ourselves with one adjective, or we accept that someone else does, we should make sure that the label we are putting on ourselves at that moment does not exclude all the rest we ARE.
Labels might be useful in certain situations, they allow us to communicate what part of us we bring forward at a specific moment. But they are far from being the whole picture, and should really not be accepted as such. Not by the society, not by the people who are around us, but mainly not BY OURSELVES.
When we start believing that the labels we -or society, family, faith, etc- put on ourselves ARE US (and it could be a thousand labels, with the ILLUSION that they COULD describe who we really are), we start automatically believing that labels on everybody else ARE THEM. This is when the idea of communalities and differences between "us" and "the others" is born into existence.
When I say that specieism is absurd -since the concept of "species" has been invented by US, imperfect beings (hence it's an imperfect concept with thousands of exceptions), and manipulated by US throughout the ages so that it fits OUR interests, separating living beings according to certain characteristics to which we bestow more importance, in detriment to others that we opt to deem "inconsequential"- again most people don't understand.
"Species" is one of the most deep-rooted labels in our conscious mind. And it is, as all labels, a divisory breach that separates "us" from "them", allowing unspeakable horrors to happen. And most people don't even realize that the concept "species" IS a label. A separation created by US, modified through time by US, used by us BY CHOICE, albeit usually a never-questioned one.
Swedish botanist Karl von Linné published, in 1735, a book called Systema Naturae in which he, for the first time, proposed the classification of living beings according to their physical appearance and method of reproduction. The concept of "species" was born, and has been accepted without questioning until today.
He decided, because it was convenient for his work, that aspect and reproduction are sufficient characteristics to separate us in this or that group that he called "species". And WE KEEP ON DOING IT. Even if we are not botanists, biologists, zoologists, even when that separation, based on those criteria, is of NO USE TO US! The funny thing is that, if he had decided to base the concept "species" on different criteria, maybe less useful ones... we might not even know the word "species"! And we might live in a very different world!
Of course, the concept "species" as based on the actual criteria is something very handy for categorizing living beings according to... well, aspect and reproduction methods. But we decide to use that classification even though we are not botanists, biologists, zoologists, researchers... We keep all beings neatly separated in those groups, even though we -who, according to the concept "species" belong in one "group"- feel more affinity with a dog, a bird, a fish, a cat, a cetacean -who are in other "groups"- than with certain humans, although (according to what someone else has decided) belong to our same "group"...
Why? Why do we decide to give more importance to physical appearance and reproduction methods, or even DNA, than for instance the natural emotional attachment between two beings? The criteria that define "species" are as important as we decide them to be. If we give more importance to other criteria... "species" becomes inconsequential.
A dog and a cat who grew together are family to each other, they KNOW they are. A tiger and a bear too. Nobody told them that they don't belong to the same... "species". What does that ever mean??? That two beings don't look the same and can't procreate? Why should physical traits and the ability to procreate be the two main characteristics that define WHO WE ARE??? Because someone who will never know us, has decided so?
It's time to take our own decisions on what is defining for us.
The cats who share and have shared my life in the past are MY FAMILY, so much more so than a hunter, a bullfighter, a women abuser, a child molester. No matter what the science we call "Biology" says.
What does "species" mean, when in reality we are all INDIVIDUALS who can't be described by mere words?
Who decides that belonging to a same group, be it "species", "gender", "faith", "caste", "age group", "race", should be more important than whan what we really are, than what we really feel?
This post has been inspired by poetry. Modern poetry, rare as it is.
I am copying below the text of this beautiful poem with the hope that it will help us all question all labels.
A video goes with it. It couldn' be otherwise, after all it's modern poetry. Watch it, it's beautiful.
Paraphrasing Prince AE...
Isn't it funny how no baby is born "human"?
Yet, every baby cares for others, be it another human, or a duck, or a dog, or a fish.
A Mind full of Ideas