What would you tell the whole population of this earth if you could send them one message?
Back in school, my teacher presented this question to us as the final one in our exam. The ones answered beforehand were easier by far. Learning to be able to fill out the empty slots is what’s ingrained in us. So facing a question like that at the end of your test, when you’re already exhausted and ready to stop, makes you exasperated for a moment.
My answer didn’t feel finished or well rounded at the end so I asked my teacher if I could work on it at home and hand it in later, unrelated to the test result. Looking back, I’m still happy with what I wrote, considering that I wrote and sent that text to my teacher at 3:36 am on a Wednesday morning.
The biggest focus in the text was on speciesism. Giving credit to the inspiration I got from Earthlings I made sure to clarify that this was a text about valuing all life, not just human life. And to this day, I can safely say that this text reflects a huge step within my growth as a person.
But instead of rambling on like this I’ll just share my answer. I hope you ask yourself the same question as we go along. What would you tell the whole population of this earth if you could send them one message?
Side note: Please forgive the preachiness, mistakes and wording from back then. I was 17 and I tried my best. It’s really the thought behind the text that counts. You’ll be able to differentiate the text since it’s all written in lower case.
“my first answer to this question was simple, pressured to evolve in little time and yet it is the truest and simplest statement i could’ve made which really contains - in my opinion - all of the most important values
we need to establish more golden rules
golden rules that we’ve all known since we were very little; such as never doing unto others what you wouldn't wish being done to you
we need new perspectives and new ideas
we need a new way of thinking and processing things
before i start i must confess that i do share very little believe in the human species and i fail to hope that there’s more good in people than evil
i’ve been spending a lot of time carrying friedrich nietzsche’s “aphorisms on love and hate” around. he comments on the falsity of pity and our human moral and how we humans tend to misunderstand and see the wrong things in the right places
'We must learn to love, learn to be kind, and this from our earliest youth ...
Likewise, hatred must be learned and nurtured, if one wishes to become a proficient hater'
we were given the miracle of life and the chance of being able to flourish on our unique planet. a planet that is a home to us all - a home we all share
we as earthlings
that does not mean this world belongs to humans
its not ours and it never was. we just took it.
just like we take so much for granted, we take the world as such as well.
im referring to not only one species when i speak of life on earth
im referring to all species and im trying to address the subject matter of speciesism - in my statement of “being kind” i didn't mean for you to only be kind to the people that surround you, but to be kind to all that surround you
it includes all people, yes, but - and this is of utmost importance -
it includes being kind to any species that is surrounding you
animals lives are not worth any less than those of humans
without bees - the ecosystem, and therefore earth, will die
without ants - the ecosystem, and therefore earth, will die
without humans - the ecosystem, and therefore earth, will live. it will start to bloom and flourish again and to breathe
do not put your self worth above others just because you haven't been taught their worth
“as often as herman had witnessed the slaughter of animals and fish, he always had the same thought: in their behaviour toward creatures, all men were nazis. the smugness with which man could do with other species as he pleased exemplify the most racist theories the principle that might is right.”
-isaac bashevis singer
i do know that my views are extreme - but not in a bad way. they probably only seem so foreign, because all our lives we’ve been alienated to the worth of the lives of animals
its what we’ve all been taught
we’ve been taught that its good and healthy for us to eat meat. we've been taught that leather looks good and only cute young dogs and cats that follow our orders make great pets.
but what is meat? it’s the flesh of someone else, the flesh of another being - being “produced” for the people on this earth to consume, not because we need it, but because most just like the taste and ‘what else would animals be there for?’. not everything is there only to be dominated and used by us
what is leather? it’s someone else’s skin- that’s why you need to take so much care of leather. in winter when everything gets cold the skin on your hands starts to crack and break open and so do your shoes if you don’t take care of them, because they, just like you, are made of skin.
no one has the right to own and be in control of anybody else’s life
what we inflict upon animals, we refer to as atrocity when it happens to humans
this is not about telling you to throw away your leather jackets or never adopt any animals ever again, but to be aware of how much pain we, the human species, have inflicted, still inflict and are going to inflict on all of those other species that we share the earth with
don’t trivialise cruelty by giving it another name.
be aware that you’re not eating spare ribs but another beings ribcage, that has once lived and breathed just like you are right now.
we are taught to think that life on two legs is worth more than life on four
but we must not only find a new way of feeding the world but also learn how we’re going to produce renewable energy. we cant run on fossil fuels for eternity - in fact we’re about to run out of them
its our duty as the most privileged form of life on this planet to create new technologies that will mend the world we failed so miserably by treating it like disposable dirt.
ask yourself vital questions
• where does your food come from?
• where do your clothes come from?
• where does your energy come from?”
In the end, I must confess that my opinion didn’t change all too much. It evolved and grew with me. And I hope that when I look back on this essay in 5 years, I’ll be able to say the same. If I were to really sum this up in one single message, it would be this:
Value kindness and gratitude above all else and practise it accordingly.
drawing by pigwire