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Dissociation Today

Friend of the sanctuary and author of the brilliant Elephants on the Edge Gay Bradshaw has published an insightful critique of Amber Hansen’s art project, The Story of Chickens: A Revolution on her Psychology Today blog. Here’s the link:

15 Minutes of Shame | Psychology Today

As Bradshaw reports:

Over a several week period, the artist proposed to display five chickens around town in a coop, then publically slaughter the birds and serve them up to the community.

She asks us to believe that confining five sentient beings against their will, in cages vulnerable to anything and anyone, summarily executing, eviscerating, butchering, and eating them at a community potluck comprises “building a relationship with . . . beautiful and unique creatures” that “transform[s] the contemporary view of chickens as livestock.”

Bradshaw then turns to Robert Lifton’s study of perpetrators of the holocaust, in which he discovered a kind of “doubling” of consciousness that allowed some to perpetrate atrocities while considering themselves kind people, to explain what might be going on in the mind of this “artist,” linking this all up to the recent shooting spree in Afghanistan.

Read it for yourself to see what you think of these ideas. Do they help us to understand the psychology of locavore “backyard birds” and “happy meat”? If so, what could we do with this information?



1 comment to Dissociation Today

  • BlessUsAll
    It makes me want to examine my own thoughts continually to see if I’m only pretending to love my neighbor as myself and act in their best interests, or whether I’m actually doing to others as I would want done to me — and as they want done to them.

    I couldn’t help but focus on the book Gay Bradshaw is known for: Elephants on the Edge. I don’t recall reading about it before. I Googled and found out a bit about it. Interestingly, her premise fits well with two other pieces of elephant-related news I received today:

    ~ (which I mentioned in my comment under the first link)

    Also, I just finished reading (finally), Jason Hribal’s FEAR OF THE ANIMAL PLANET: THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF ANIMAL RESISTANCE, in which he recounts the specific instances of elephants in circuses and zoos, primates in zoos, and orcas and dolphins in marine parks struggling to get out — sometimes killing their keepers or bystanders in the process, and sometimes being killed as a result of their quest for freedom.

    I’m not sure where I’m going with this comment, except, perhaps, to say that it is only in thinking of others’ feelings — in acting just, loving, and respectful to all — that we find our identity, our individual purpose in life, and genuine satisfaction. And I can’t help but believe that this holds as true for animals as it does for humans.

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