Reinventing Human Identity

I recently wrote a review of the new book by Calvin Martin Luther, The Great Forgetting. I followed up his Resilient Elephant Familybook title in my post title with the question: —Who Are We Anyway?
Luther’s new book was actually first published as the foreword to a book by Gay Bradshaw, PhD, PhD, the founding director of The Keurlos Center, and author of Elephants on the Edge: What Animals Teach Us about Humanity.
Here I’d like to point you to the blog, Animal Visions, and a post, Trans-Species Living: An Interview with Gay Bradshaw. The Interview begins with the question:
“What is trans-species psychology and how did you get involved in starting this new field?” And continues:

Trans-species psychology describes a common model of brain, mind, and behavior for all animals, human inclusive. It draws from research in three main fields: neuroscience, ethology, and psychology. Why “trans” and why “psychology”? Trans re-embeds humans within the larger matrix of the animal kingdom by erasing the “and’ between humans and animals that has been used to demarcate and reinforce the false notion that humans are substantively different cognitively and emotionally from other species…”
Here’s a longer nugget from the interview:

“Why create a new field of psychology? Because psychology encompasses not only what we think but why and how we think and act the way we do. It integrates philosophy and science. As we transition from one paradigm, call it the Cartesian, to another, trans-species, we are in the process of re-examining fundamental assumptions that we took for granted—specifically those that assumed animals as “less than” humans and are based on animal exploitation. Inadvertently, the science community has set western culture on its head with recognizing human-animal mental comparability. Humanity is challenged to re-think almost every aspect of modern culture. We are charged with a re-creation of ethics and reasons and ways of knowledge-making that reflects our understanding that animals are fully sentient beings. Psychology, and in particular those schools of thought such as depth psychology that are implicitly philosophical and existential, provide a synoptic, bird’s eye view to examine our past projections—what we thought animals were—and deconstruct them. Even science cannot continue as is because it is still driven by a social-political agenda that legitimizes animal exploitation. Animals remain objectified in the frame of conventional science. We are faced with rediscovery and re-inventing human identity.”

I recommend a keyboard stroll over to the Animal Visions blog for the rest of this interview, and more explorations into the rediscovery of what it is to be human. And I also want to offer Animal Visions my first  Voices of Wholeness Blog Award. (More on that to come later.)
But before you go, just to warm the cockles of your heart during this holiday season, check out this news item video from msnbc: Elephants can read your heart. Turns out elephants are more ‘human’ than we thought; or perhaps, just perhaps we are more elephant than we thought! (The msnbc source site seems to be down so I’ve changed the link for now. It should now work.)

Imagine, then, the power of conscious narrative, of myths and tales intentionally constructed and repeated that would inform and instruct us in ‘proper’ attitudes toward nature.Linda Vance


Readers! What blogs would you like to acknowledge as Voices of Wholeness? What blogs do you go to for inspiration and information that support you in connecting with the ‘all‘ of who you are?


  1. rebeccalerner

    01/19/2011 at 2:30 am

    Love this post. Reminds me of the new book “Zoo Story” by Thomas French, who wrote about spending five years at a Florida zoo and how it changed the way he now looks at human behavior.

  2. Larry Glover

    01/21/2011 at 2:32 am

    Thanks for the Zoo Story tip, and I love your blog!

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