Human Privilege

We’re seeing an explosion of dialog around exploitative systems. People have varying degrees of awareness that they’ve been stuck in systems that affect their lives and the lives of others. Many are withdrawing their consent to participate in such systems going forward. Of course many feel they never consented to begin with. The social contracts are being questioned and uprooted.

I invite you to consider where you’re participating in nonconsensual systems for your benefit.

For instance, do you ever assert the privilege to do as you wish with animals, such as their bodies, their skins, their eggs, or their milk? Do you use any leather or wool products? Do you assert ownership and of any animals? Do you claim any as your personal property? If so, you’re participating in nonconsensual systems that dominate other beings for your pleasure. You’re treating animals as human products. Is that what animals really are? Do you care about what their perspective might be? Are you afraid to even think about that?

You can largely opt out of animal abuse systems by choice. You’re not forced to treat the animal world as your personal shopping mall, asserting entitlement to their bodies and lives. Opting out is a viable option. Millions of people have already done it, and more are joining them each day by finally saying: No, this is wrong. I won’t participate anymore.

If you were to make it clear to an animal that you were trying to kill it, and you gave it a chance to opt out, how do you think it would respond? Do you think it would willingly indicate its consent?

Imagine this in Eeyore’s voice: Oh… it looks like you’re trying to kill me… okay, sure… why not? How about you cut my throat? And for good measure, rape my mate, and take her babies and milk too. I exist to serve you.

As pathetic as that sounds, isn’t that the narrative that many people are effectively using? Is that your narrative? Do you really have a better one that isn’t functionally equivalent?

Is your narrative something more religious or spiritual perhaps?

Well, God created animals and then humans, and He gave humans dominance over the animals.

Animals are inhabited by different spirits that willingly incarnate to help human spirits explore and experience this dimension of reality, including eating them with a variety of sauces and dips.

Those are bullshit narratives of course. They grant permission to nonconsensually rape, cage, and kill other species. These are cutesy stories to assuage guilt and to bury the voice of the heart.

What’s your favorite bullshit narrative for the nonconsensual systems you engage with? I encourage you to actually write it up in a sentence or two. Then read it back to yourself. See it for what it is.

Why use these delusional narratives? You could just be honest and say: I’m gonna dominate animals because I can. Fuck ’em for being weak. I really don’t care.

The problem is caring.

A nutty narrative gives you permission not to care. When you drop such a narrative, there’s a real risk that you might start to care. That’s happening with racism now. A lot more people are starting to care. Many are caring more deeply than before. The old narratives are breaking down. People are finally acknowledging that there’s a tremendous amount of systemic unfairness and violence. The crust of denial surrounding their hearts is starting to crack off. And this is leading to more awareness and different choices.

The nasty thing about various aspects of human privilege, whether we’re talking about animal abuse or human abuse, is that the systems do a pretty good job of hiding the pain and suffering from those who benefit from it. That unpleasantness is hidden, denied, or explained away in a comforting manner. Toss is some gaslighting of those who cry foul to tie up that loose end.

What’s the difference between denying racial abuse and denying animal abuse? One group can at least speak up to some extent. The other is more thoroughly dominated due to lack of a voice, other than compassionate humans advocating for them. In both cases systems are used to bury caring.

I suggest that you face the unpleasantness of these systems instead of running from it. Look past the bullshit narratives. This will be ugly to see, and you’ll want to look away at first. But change is possible if you start with truth alignment, and there is a lot more beauty on the other side.

Facing your abuse of people and animals is tough. Inviting these relationships to align with honesty and compassion is beautiful. You don’t have to keep living in denial. There are better and more aligned alternatives.

This isn’t just about the current issue of the day. It’s about the larger context of your relationship with truth. Where have you been leaning on systems that hide the truth from you? Look at social systems, corporate systems, or government systems that you interface with. Where are you using systems to live less consciously instead of facing the truth? What’s burying your sense of caring?

Sometimes we become aware of how we’re interfacing with these systems, and we can do something about it. Many people are doing that with racist systems around the world today. Note that the first steps for many include educating themselves. I just did a quick check on Amazon, and the top four bestselling books right now are all about race – as well as many more further down the list. It’s clear that many people are seeking to align themselves with more truth here. This is great.

Don’t stop with race alone though. Make truth alignment a lifelong pursuit. It will be ugly and messy much of the time. It will uproot your life more than once. But when you discover truths that you can no longer deny, they’ll bring you back in touch with your heart, and that makes change easier. You can opt-out of old systems that aren’t aligned with truth and love, but you must start with a willingness to look at the truth.

Truth is a fundamental growth accelerator. The more truth you can take in, the faster you can grow. This applies to us as individuals and collectively for society.

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Read Human Privilege by Steve Pavlina

Steve Pavlina

Steve Pavlina is an American self-help author, motivational speaker and entrepreneur. He is the author of the web site and the book Personal Development for Smart People.

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