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date: 21 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Our worldview is made of animals. Our views of animals determine how we see nature—the living world as well as our part in it. Pre-agricultural peoples were intrigued by animals, their behaviors and powers. In these totemic societies, animals were seen as First Beings, ancestors, and there was a sense of kinship and continuity with the living world. Domestication upends that, and reduces animals from souls and powers to tools and commodities. Agrarian societies invented misothery and other cultural devices to give humans a sense of supremacy and a license to exploit animals and nature. Misothery imposes a negativity in our worldview; we despise too much of the living world—including our own animality, our sexuality, and our bodily functions. This is the root of all alienation.

Keywords: Agrarian, Alienation, Animals, Domestication, Exploitation, Misothery, Worldview

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