I is for Inhuman

i

Working on the vegan dictionary continues to be a very educational experience.  Finding words which are defined in a way that normalises animal exploitation, (such as animals being described simply in terms of how they taste or how they are used by humans; or horrible, violent practices described in a brief, matter-of-fact way as if they are perfectly normal and inoffensive) and then redefining them so that they tell the whole story, good or bad.  I’m finding out a lot of very interesting facts about animals I previously knew nothing about, as well as a lot of very upsetting things which are hidden from the general population in order to preserve the status quo.

Today I was leafing through the i section of the dictionary and, unusually, finding nothing that needed redefining …. until I reached inhuman, described thus in the Oxford Dictionary:

adjective:    brutal; unfeeling; barbarous

And the synonyms for inhuman, given in the thesaurus section, are:

animal, barbaric, barbarous, bestial, bloodthirsty, brutal, brutish, diabolical, fiendish, inhumane, merciless, pitiless, ruthless, savage, unfeeling, unnatural, vicious.

Now I’m confused.

Isn’t it humans who enslave and brutalise animals for pleasure and profit?  Isn’t it humans who are so unfeeling that they steal a baby from his mother and kill him so that they can have his mother’s milk for themselves?  Isn’t it humans who show no mercy to the billions of terrified, innocent individuals who are savagely and routinely killed en masse?

With the exception of the word ‘animal’ it seems to me that those synonyms should be in the dictionary next to the word human, not inhuman.

The thing is that humans, most of them, do think of themselves as good and kind, decent and compassionate, and the dictionary reflects that.  But, however good and charitable a human might be towards other humans, if their compassion doesn’t extend to other species then is not a part of them still barbaric, merciless, unfeeling, pitiless, ruthless and savage, albeit perhaps unwittingly so?  Even if they do not commit the fiendish acts themselves; even if they are horrified at the idea of hurting a living being; if they know about it and still choose to pay for it, are they not directly and deliberately responsible for it?  And isn’t that diabolical?

The good news is that it is entirely possible to make the Oxford Dictionary definition correct.  If all humans went vegan (as nature intended) then the word human really would be synonymous with compassionate, and inhuman would mean what the Oxford Dictionary says it means 🙂

From caring comes wisdom

winnie the pooh and piglet by E H Shepard

“‘From caring comes courage.’  We might add that from it also comes wisdom.  It’s rather significant, we think, that those who have no compassion have no wisdom.  Knowledge, yes; cleverness, maybe; wisdom, no.  A clever mind is not a heart.  Knowledge doesn’t really care.  Wisdom does.  We also consider it significant that cor, the Latin word for “heart”, is the basis for the word courage.  Piglet put it this way: ‘She isn’t Clever, Kanga isn’t, but she would be so anxious about Roo that she would do a Good Thing to Do without thinking about it.'”

Benjamin Hoff

The Tao of Pooh

Page 128

The Tao of Pooh

By Barry Wax

Click to enlarge

 Also by Barry:

In Veggie Land there are two groups.

One is the veggie that grows above ground.

The other is one that grows below ground.

These veggies have had some arguments.

One group says it is better than another.

The potatoes, the carrots and the radishes insisted they were the best.

The sweet peas, green beans and squash argued they were the best.

They proposed a soccer game.

They played on my plate and scooted around with the aid of my fork.

Neither one won, because I ate them all.

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And here’s Barry’s place 🙂