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This past week it feels we are living the Shift to a more just, free and beautiful world. We are embodying real change: peacebuilding and forgiveness in Charleston; flags of division coming down and rainbow flags going up; a Pope who preaches economic and climate justice, and more. We are slowly healing our relationships with our fellow human beings. This week we ask, what about the other animals we share life with on this planet?
Our relationship with animals is complex. We are moved by the wonder of birdsong at dawn; the loss of a family pet is mourned deeply; and we feel outrage when animals are treated cruelly. Yet many of us are complicit in a factory farming system that causes great suffering for millions of animals, and we buy products that are tested on animals, often in horrendous conditions. We visit zoos and respect the work of zoo biologists, yet the gaze of the animals staring back at us generates a sense of shame we can’t quite fathom. And if you have ever encountered a fierce animal in the wild, you know the jolt of sudden awareness, recognition that we are animals too, lacking the claws to defend ourselves perhaps, but far more dangerous than any animal on earth.
Kosmos is an ancient Greek term that describes the harmony and beauty of the universe wherein all parts have their place within the Whole. When we experience life with this sense of Oneness, we see that the way we treat animals is really a reflection of how we treat ourselves and each other. Loving an animal is a way of healing something deep and primal within ourselves and our animal teachers have lessons for us about patience, joy and unconditional love.
Enjoy these positive, thoughtful reflections about animals. And here are a couple photos of our canine Kosmos family members – Common, Sophia & Willy, and Vega. They add such happiness to our lives.
Much love from the Kosmos Team.
An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language. – Martin Buber
By Roger Boyd
‘The relationship between humans and animals seems to be substantially affected by the ways in which they interact. In hunter-gatherer societies where humans interact with wild animals, non-humans are seen as having a level of equality with humans. As humans gain more control of their environment through herding and agriculture their worldview does seem to change towards a separation with nature, and thus between humans and non-humans. The latter become more and more resources to utilize, rather than independent actors which have control over their own destiny.’
Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. – His Holiness The Dalai Lama
Zoe Weil recounts an encounter between marine biologists and a dolphin-in-need. The beautiful accompanying video underscores the trusting nature of our intelligent sea friends.
‘Martina had been filming as usual when an injured dolphin swam into the circle of manta viewers. The dolphin was clearly seeking help, her fin entangled with fishing line. The creature sought out humans, seeming to understand that only humans had the capacity to do something the dolphin could not.’
The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. – Mohandas Gandhi
What does the Pope’s new Encyclical have to say about our relationship and responsibilities to animals? Author Wayne Pacelle explains and also talks with Dr. Charles Camosy, professor of Theological and Social Ethics at Fordham University and author of For Love of Animals, for insight into the significance of this encyclical.
‘The encyclical, or letter, from the Pope is full of references to animals and calls on all of us to embrace a more humane path. The encyclical is named “Praised Be” (Laudato Si) after St. Francis of Assisi’s Canticle of the Sun, in which the Saint praises God for animals and creation.’
Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened. – Anatole France
‘Most of us treat our pets like members of the family: we enjoy their company and we do everything we can to ensure their happiness and wellbeing, including providing them with veterinary care and emergency veterinary services when they are sick or injured. But it is not immediately obvious why human beings should bond so closely to members of other species, partly because we are virtually unique as a species in the fact that we choose to do so.’ – Martin Siegel, DVM,
Biological diversity is messy. It walks, it crawls, it swims, it swoops, it buzzes. But extinction is silent, and it has no voice other than our own. – Paul Hawken
Samantha Zwicker and Kristiina Vogt respond to the Question posed by the Center for Humans and Nature- How far should we go to bring back lost species?
‘Despite countless arguments against de-extinction, or resurrection biology, there is nonetheless increasing support for some forms of it. In addition to reviving extinct species, advanced cloning technology could be used to save threatened and endangered animals and introduce greater genetic variability into small populations at risk of inbreeding. Most importantly, there is a potential for this miraculous process to increase awareness and support for current conservation efforts.’
Our task must be to free ourselves… by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. – Albert Einstein
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