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 Post subject: Re: Veganism
PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:49 pm 
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gregkavarnos wrote:
In modern times all cultures have been debased and degraded,..... So looking at what a cultural group does now, is not so indicative of what they did before.
:namaste:


Sure. We are a deep and spiritual well spring of ancient wisdom. More special than regular people. That's what I love about oral histories. Easy to update.

My personal experience is that the updated version of the "noble savage" is being created by a mixture of projection and collusion by some revisionist natives who want to portray us in a more flattering light. Sure their were spiritually advanced elders. But their proportions and influence on tribal society is not really much different from today. There were the same proportion of jerks then as now. The jerks were attracted to power, power fueled their innate corruption and things were generally pretty crappy for regular people. That is the oral histories I have been given.

I'm sure it sounds much better in books. I did hang out with the Sioux and some other tribes whose names don't appear in any books. Their wasn't good spiritual instruction unless you went on a long hard search for it.

I have been known to idolize Socrates and Pythagoras. I do think Greek culture has had a monumental decline. But in reality I can't really say. I can say a few things from from living over here and what I have experienced on the rez. Don't believe everything you read about how great tribal culture was as much of that information has been fabricated. I hope I don't get kicked out of the club for telling you the secret.


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 Post subject: Re: Veganism
PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 3:48 pm 
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Nemo wrote:
Sure. We are a deep and spiritual well spring of ancient wisdom. More special than regular people. That's what I love about oral histories. Easy to update.
Written ones are no more difficult!
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I have been known to idolize Socrates and Pythagoras. I do think Greek culture has had a monumental decline. But in reality I can't really say. I can say a few things from from living over here and what I have experienced on the rez. Don't believe everything you read about how great tribal culture was as much of that information has been fabricated.
The thing about tribal culture was the fact that it managed to coexist with its environment up to and after invasion by white people escaping the environmental catastrophe and population explosions on their continent.

The only thing left from ancient Greece in modern Greece is rubble and a couple of bad night clubs named after some of the most brilliant philosophers that ever existed. Anyway, ancient Greece was not exactly a barrel of laughs if you happened to be a slave trapped in a Hellenic democracy. I know that American Indians also had slaves, wars and oppression, etc... I mean they are humans after all. But the topic of this discussion was their relationship to the animals they hunted and consumed (and if we stretch it a bit, to their environment in general). It would be very difficult to convince me that it was not (and still is to a degree) infinitely better than European attitudes and relationships.
:namaste:
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Their wasn't good spiritual instruction unless you went on a long hard search for it.
I think you will find that this rings true for all cultures.

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 Post subject: Re: Veganism
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:35 am 
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This is master Chin Kung. He is about 90 years old now and a vegan.

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 Post subject: Re: Veganism
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:42 pm 
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LastLegend wrote:


This is master Chin Kung. He is about 90 years old now and a vegan.


I've always wanted to watch his videos, but they don't have English subtitles. I've only found a few online.

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 Post subject: Re: Veganism
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:58 pm 
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gregkavarnos wrote:
But the topic of this discussion was their relationship to the animals they hunted and consumed (and if we stretch it a bit, to their environment in general). It would be very difficult to convince me that it was not (and still is to a degree) infinitely better than European attitudes and relationships.


Not better, just different. Native Americans heavily altered the environment of North American to suit themselves.

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 Post subject: Re: Veganism
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:13 pm 
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Namdrol wrote:
Not better, just different. Native Americans heavily altered the environment of North American to suit themselves.
Better and different. If one compares the environment, and the human life styles impact on it, in Europe to those in North America in the period prior to the full scale invasion and some time into it, you would be hard pressed not to consider them better, superior, more sustainable, less destructive, etc...
:namaste:

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 Post subject: Re: Veganism
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:41 pm 
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Native Americans were limited by the fact they did not have metal. Not even bronze age tools. When they were introduced to them they were simultaneously depopulated by various European plagues like smallpox. You can do very little damage to the environment with a piece of rock tied to a stick. Judging by the savageness of the internecine warfare that preceded European colonization a culture of conservation and ecological stewardship probably did not exist. Most of the peace loving tribes were exterminated long before the Europeans landed.


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 Post subject: Re: Veganism
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:55 pm 
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gregkavarnos wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
Not better, just different. Native Americans heavily altered the environment of North American to suit themselves.
Better and different. If one compares the environment, and the human life styles impact on it, in Europe to those in North America in the period prior to the full scale invasion and some time into it, you would be hard pressed not to consider them better, superior, more sustainable, less destructive, etc...
:namaste:


You forget than when Europeans first came to New England, Columbus had already introduced most of the western diseases that had completely depopulated North America by 90 percent, according to some estimates.

And, you forget the Mayans basically destroyed their civilization through not understanding environmental limitations.

You are basically making an argument that stone-age is better than copper or iron age. In reality, Indians loved guns. Couldn't get enough of them. Much better than arrows. More efficient at bagging game. If NA has not been depopulated by smallpox and so on, I think we would have a very different assessment of what kind of an impact Indians had on the land.

N

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 Post subject: Re: Veganism
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:11 pm 
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Namdrol wrote:
You forget than when Europeans first came to New England, Columbus had already introduced most of the western diseases that had completely depopulated North America by 90 percent, according to some estimates.
Yes, I imagine there are all sorts of estimates out there to reduce the legitimacy of Native cultures. I mean really, Columbus actually did them a favour by introducing all those nasty diseases. :rolleye:
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And, you forget the Mayans basically destroyed their civilization through not understanding environmental limitations.
Mayans were not North American Indians, they had concentrated populations in urban centres and large scale agriculture.
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You are basically making an argument that stone-age is better than copper or iron age.
Ahhh, so you are a fan of linear historical determinism. All cultures follow a development of industry and culture just like the Europeans. I think you play too much Age of Empires! ;)
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In reality, Indians loved guns. Couldn't get enough of them. Much better than arrows. More efficient at bagging game.
Of course they loved them, I also would like to have a gun, instead of a bow and arrow, if my enemy were shooting at me with a gun.
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If NA has not been depopulated by smallpox and so on, I think we would have a very different assessment of what kind of an impact Indians had on the land.
Only if the estimates are correct, what is the evidence? Even if the populations were much bigger, the impact of the social, cultural and economic forms that they utilised would have been much smaller than a similar population of Westerners. For example: population estimates in Victoria , Australia put the indiginous population at around 1,500,000 in the early 1800's a figure that was reuced to 5000 within a period of 150 years, but the impact they had on their environment was minimal in comparison to a much smaller population of Anglo-Irish invaders.
:namaste:

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 Post subject: Re: Veganism
PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:13 pm 
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There was an extensive civilisation, pre-columbus I believe, referred to as the Mississippi Mound Builders. Their civilization collapsed. The most probable cause was inter tribal warfare.

Native Indians hunted the horse, the mammoth and a north american camel to extinction. It has been theorized that the reverence for nature so commonly found in native cultures here is due to lessons bitterly learned, lessons that involved the collapse of entire ways of life due to extinctions and other environmental damage.

It's important not to idealize an entire set of civilisations, just as it is important not to denegrate them. They were people just like us, they screwed up just like we do, the only differences are technology level and the fact that they learned their ecology lessons and we are just learning ours now.

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 Post subject: Re: Veganism
PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:55 pm 
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catmoon wrote:
Native Indians hunted the horse, the mammoth and a north american camel to extinction. It has been theorized that the reverence for nature so commonly found in native cultures here is due to lessons bitterly learned, lessons that involved the collapse of entire ways of life due to extinctions and other environmental damage.
Actually that was another point I wanted to raise: we always consider that indigenous peoples were undeveloped in comparison to Europeans, but nobody considers that there may actually have been a conscious decision (possibly lost in time) to eschew certain forms of production and technology, to adopt less damaging lifestyles, in order to promote sustainability based on lessons "bitterly learned" (from what happened to the Mayans for example).

Problem is that these cultures were so agressively decimated that any evidence that may have existed of a conscious decision was long since wiped out.
:namaste:

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 Post subject: Re: Veganism
PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 8:17 am 
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Just read "Comanche Empire" by Prof. Pekka Hamalainen, it takes a Finn to cut through all the ridiculous projection going on by non-American Indians. Started with Chateaubriand and it keeps on going.

Anyway start a new thread and leave this one to veganism. I'm a 90% vegan, my dad and mother are too & we enjoy fantastic health plus the benefit of not creating suffering.
But as I always say: people will do what they want and argue etc but there is a karma from eating meat.
gassho
Rory

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 Post subject: Re: Veganism
PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:06 pm 
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I think that most Western Buddhists don't have a good grasp of their civilization, how it operates and evolved which would be the basis to make comparisons to other ones. The ethos of our civilization views nature as an instrument, an alien externality, an obstacle to conquer, to dominate and master so we can create a new and better man made order. Contrast this to the Native Americans:
James Owen Dorsey wrote:
A devout old Indian said: "The tree is like a human being, for it has life and grows; so we pray to it and put our offerings on it that the god may help us." In the same spirit the apology is offered over a slaughtered animal, for the life of the one is taken to supplement the life of the other, "that it may cause us to live," one formula expresses it. These manifestations of life, stopping places of the god, cannot therefore be accurately called objects of worship or symbols; they appear to be more like media of communication with the permeating occult force which is vaguely and fearfully apprehended. As a consequence the Indian stands abreast of nature. He does not face it and hence can not master or coerce it or view it scientifically and apart from his own mental and emotional life. He appeals to it but does not worship it.

A Study of Siouan Cults p. 435.


I think many of you have developed several beliefs of convenience that don't reflect well social reality. For example in one of the many podcasts I listened to an anthropologist compared violent deaths in America to that of tribal societies, but that gives an incomplete picture. Because most of the violence and brutality of our society is externalized, exported and hidden. For example there is a Documentary called Blood in the Mobile about how many rare earth minerals obtained in the Congo are mined by quasi slaves and fund guerilla gangs, paramilitaries, the military of the Congo and fund conflict there between these groups. There is also a large cancer ally in Mississippi situated between many industrial and oil refining plants. So just by buying most products and using them you are causing suffering and it is impossible to trace the source, even the companies who do know keep this info as a trade secret, plead ignorance or purposefully obfuscate.

In our civilizational we cannot establish or trace a karmic chain from the food, water, products we use and the suffering, the cost borne to other humans, animals, the environment. Our monetary and social system has no means to account or measure for this. But most people "living abreast of nature" tended to at least have rituals of mourning for the animals they killed for the food, for the trees they chopped, etc. This is why it is impossible for our civilization to ever be more humane and compassionate than say most Native American tribes or hunter-gathers. It is possible for simpler societies to trace most of the objects, resources they use for their sustenance and to adapt a more compassionate way, but for us, we cannot even do the tracing any longer. This disconnect, extreme social and geographic allows to many crimes for you to glibly dismiss them.


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 Post subject: Re: Veganism
PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:12 am 
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Thrasymachus wrote:
I think that most Western Buddhists don't have a good grasp of their civilization, how it operates and evolved which would be the basis to make comparisons to other ones. The ethos of our civilization views nature as an instrument, an alien externality, an obstacle to conquer, to dominate and master so we can create a new and better man made order. Contrast this to the Native Americans:
James Owen Dorsey wrote:
A devout old Indian said: "The tree is like a human being, for it has life and grows; so we pray to it and put our offerings on it that the god may help us." In the same spirit the apology is offered over a slaughtered animal, for the life of the one is taken to supplement the life of the other, "that it may cause us to live," one formula expresses it. These manifestations of life, stopping places of the god, cannot therefore be accurately called objects of worship or symbols; they appear to be more like media of communication with the permeating occult force which is vaguely and fearfully apprehended. As a consequence the Indian stands abreast of nature. He does not face it and hence can not master or coerce it or view it scientifically and apart from his own mental and emotional life. He appeals to it but does not worship it.

A Study of Siouan Cults p. 435.


I think many of you have developed several beliefs of convenience that don't reflect well social reality. For example in one of the many podcasts I listened to an anthropologist compared violent deaths in America to that of tribal societies, but that gives an incomplete picture. Because most of the violence and brutality of our society is externalized, exported and hidden. For example there is a Documentary called Blood in the Mobile about how many rare earth minerals obtained in the Congo are mined by quasi slaves and fund guerilla gangs, paramilitaries, the military of the Congo and fund conflict there between these groups. There is also a large cancer ally in Mississippi situated between many industrial and oil refining plants. So just by buying most products and using them you are causing suffering and it is impossible to trace the source, even the companies who do know keep this info as a trade secret, plead ignorance or purposefully obfuscate.

In our civilizational we cannot establish or trace a karmic chain from the food, water, products we use and the suffering, the cost borne to other humans, animals, the environment. Our monetary and social system has no means to account or measure for this. But most people "living abreast of nature" tended to at least have rituals of mourning for the animals they killed for the food, for the trees they chopped, etc. This is why it is impossible for our civilization to ever be more humane and compassionate than say most Native American tribes or hunter-gathers. It is possible for simpler societies to trace most of the objects, resources they use for their sustenance and to adapt a more compassionate way, but for us, we cannot even do the tracing any longer. This disconnect, extreme social and geographic allows to many crimes for you to glibly dismiss them.



I don't know why you insist on making claims about what 'we' do or do not believe, and whether 'our' grasp of reality is sufficient or insufficient.

What you're arguing for is that causal relations inhere between people, animals and things, and that insight into these causal relations is necessary to properly understand reality and act ethically in relation to it.

How exactly are Buddhists denying that?

Please give evidence.

:anjali:


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 Post subject: Re: Veganism
PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:45 am 
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Maybe look at your posts for evidence:
1)you say that vegans dictate upon other people their views if they don't accept offered meat, yet you work/worked in a job that by its nature involves alot more dictating, even grading of views and positions to another person, and it has more weight since it done within a perch of institutional authority. Most vegans made a decision to not dictate life and death to the most voiceless, marginalized and victimized group in the world -- fodder animals.
2)you say it is irrelevant to bring in the factory farming system of animals that renders meat into a discussion of veganism and that it is self-righteous, etc. What is really self-righteous is to use pseudo-Buddhist or philosophical justifications to isolate the karma and ramifications of your lifestyle from their true impact on other beings and the immense environmental impact it causes.

Ultimately Tibetan lamas are not gonna descend and wipe Westerner's butts. They didn't contribute much to neither the development or critique of Western society. They have only really came into contacted with our society as dharma teachers since the 1960's. We developed a society that is monstrous, unnatural and self-destructive to an unprecedented degree. There is only a very small number of Western authors that offer a critique of our institutions and society, and until you demonstrate familiarity with them, I don't believe you read them. I could on, but I until I see evidence to the contrary I feel very justified in my view. In my opinion even anarchists, anti-state communists have a superior ethics in social matters and they/their doctrine doesn't make the claims that Buddhist canon does. You just cannot ignore social structure in our society and that is the problem I see with people here.


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 Post subject: Re: Veganism
PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 4:15 am 
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Thrasymachus wrote:
Maybe look at your posts for evidence:
1)you say that vegans dictate upon other people their views if they don't accept offered meat, yet you work/worked in a job that by its nature involves alot more dictating, even grading of views and positions to another person, and it has more weight since it done within a perch of institutional authority. Most vegans made a decision to not dictate life and death to the most voiceless, marginalized and victimized group in the world -- fodder animals.
2)you say it is irrelevant to bring in the factory farming system of animals that renders meat into a discussion of veganism and that it is self-righteous, etc. What is really self-righteous is to use pseudo-Buddhist or philosophical justifications to isolate the karma and ramifications of your lifestyle from their true impact on other beings and the immense environmental impact it causes.

Ultimately Tibetan lamas are not gonna descend and wipe Westerner's butts. They didn't contribute much to neither the development or critique of Western society. They have only really came into contacted with our society as dharma teachers since the 1960's. We developed a society that is monstrous, unnatural and self-destructive to an unprecedented degree. There is only a very small number of Western authors that offer a critique of our institutions and society, and until you demonstrate familiarity with them, I don't believe you read them. I could on, but I until I see evidence to the contrary I feel very justified in my view. In my opinion even anarchists, anti-state communists have a superior ethics in social matters and they/their doctrine doesn't make the claims that Buddhist canon does. You just cannot ignore social structure in our society and that is the problem I see with people here.


How about you read my posts again.

1/I don't tell students what to think, I teach them how to think for themselves.

2/ I said that factory farming is irrelevant to the specific example we were dealing with - not irrelevant per se. As it stands, I find it pernicious and morally unacceptable. Moreover, I never said that Vegans are self-righteous - I said that they come in many forms, some admirable and some self-righteous. Just like Buddhists.

As for the last little rant: how exactly have you established that I'm ignoring social structure in our society?

:anjali:


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 Post subject: Re: Veganism
PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 4:28 pm 
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tobes wrote:
In any case, even if you're right about Aboriginal food habits (and I can definitely see where you're coming from) that is one personal encounter with one ancient social group - hardly a solid foundation to be making sweeping grandiose claims about how all humans ate over tens of thousands of years.


It may very well be that Aboriginal food habits, while fine and dandy for the Aboriginal hunters, were not so neat for the ecosystem, to put it mildly; and they seem to have been hardly indicative of anything like 'reflective awareness', in any case. Have a look here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17488447

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 Post subject: Re: Veganism
PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 4:56 pm 
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treehuggingoctopus wrote:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17488447
Human migration into (currently) colonised territories has been utilised by colonizers as an excuse to justify their genocide of Aboriginal people both in Australia and New Zealand. It's nothing new. And even if the Australian Aboriginals did migrate into Australia and did wipe out some species the question that I would ask is: why did they stop wiping out large mammals? You see Aboriginal oral culture goes back some 60,000 years and the article talks about a situation that occured 40,000 years ago. That means for the 40,000 years after the 20,000 years from their arrival, they did not wipe out any of the larger mammals which remained. It also means that they wiped them out over a period of 20,000 years. Is it possible that maybe they saw the error of their actions and that caused them to stop? It certainly did not stop the European invaders. They wiped out everything they couldn't domesticate on their own continent and then continued their folly in the continents they invaded and colonised.

As for the use of fire. It is common knowledge to anybody acquainted with Aboriginal culture that (in some areas) they would burn (in a controlled manner) the forest undergrowth at the end of the rainy season so that there was no tinder under the big trees during the dry season. Burning during the end of the rainy season guaranteed that the trees would not be permanently damaged. You see, during the dry season there were bush fires all the time, but due to the absence of undergrowth (as a consequence of this technique) there was no harm caused to the large trees: ie the forest continued to develop and grow.

Of course some Aboriginal Australian groups planted and cultivated crops (they were not all hunter-gatherers) but even then their agriculture was not monocultural and invasive as it was only of indigenous species anyway and mainly for supplementation.
:namaste:

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 Post subject: Re: Veganism
PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:19 pm 
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gregkavarnos wrote:
treehuggingoctopus wrote:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17488447
Human migration into (currently) colonised territories has been utilised by colonizers as an excuse to justify their genocide of Aboriginal people both in Australia and New Zealand. It's nothing new. And even if the Australian Aboriginals did migrate into Australia and did wipe out some species the question that I would ask is: why did they stop wiping out large mammals? You see Aboriginal oral culture goes back some 60,000 years and the article talks about a situation that occured 40,000 years ago. That means for the 40,000 years after the 20,000 years from their arrival, they did not wipe out any of the larger mammals which remained. It also means that they wiped them out over a period of 20,000 years. Is it possible that maybe they saw the error of their actions and that caused them to stop?


Sure it is possible. There's also quite a number of other possible explanations - and the bottom line is, we don't know. That they erased their megafauna from reality seems to be a fact, though.

gregkavarnos wrote:
It certainly did not stop the European invaders. They wiped out everything they couldn't domesticate on their own continent and then continued their folly in the continents they invaded and colonised.


They did, no question about that. I'm not suggesting white conquerors are in any way more civilised or aware than Aboriginals; actually, I'm pretty certain it's we who have produced the most destructive cultural formations homo sapiens is guilty of.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 5:19 pm 
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A few days ago I watched a 15 minute excerpt of the following documentary, it took me over a day of practice to get the images out of my head.

A multi-award winning animal rights film entitled "Earthlings - Animal Justice" narrated by Joaquin Phoenix.

Be warned, some of the scenes (all of which are real) are truly horrific.

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