Leave a comment

A post by an Hysterical Woman. In which she says both Fuck and Bollocks.

That’s twice this week it’s been suggested I’ve been over-emotional.

Once for complaining about NGO Save the Rhino having a policy of supporting trophy hunting, because I believe someone calling themselves Save the Rhino ought to be saving rhinos, and again when I posted an – admittedly upsetting – film clip of two former battery chickens and invited people to think about their choices vis-a-vis meat consumption.

What does this mean – over-emotional?

Is it that believing all life is of value renders me too sentimental? Or is that I’m an emotional woman, who simply can’t hack the harsher elements of life?

In both cases, the you’re emotional (or you’re having an emotional response – which sounds suspiciously like you’re getting hysterical dear) seemed to mean you’re not thinking straight…

…or no one should take you seriously because you’re thinking with your ovaries. 

It’s a blatant attempt to discredit a point of view. Oh don’t listen to her. She gets a bit upset when she sees pictures of hunters grinning over their latest conquest. Or of chickens that can’t use their legs because they’ve been kept in a tiny cage all their lives. Needs to man up. Grow a pair. LIVE IN THE REAL WORLD.

Is that it now? Is that what the Real World is? A place where we’re immune to the suffering of others? Where there can be no place for compassion?

To be credible, to be taken seriously, to be considered to have a point of view worth listening to, must we always adopt Vulcan-like levels of logical reasoning?

I’m a trained philosopher (albeit only green belt at most – training continues; philosophy is for life). I understand about arguments and reason. As a current student, I understand about sources. I work in public health. I understand about peer-reviewed studies, control groups, the importance of having a sound evidence base and all that malarky. I regularly read The Lancet. Some of it, I understand.

Sometimes, though, what’s RIGHT, is pretty fucking obvious. And sometimes, frankly, shit that happens is worth getting pissed off about.

How many humans on the planet? Over 7 billion. How many rhinos? Fewer than 30,000. Some species have already become extinct. The next one likely to go is the Javan rhino – fewer than 40 animals thought to remain. (Source – Save the Rhino. Those people that believe saving the rhino involves killing the rhino. A view not shared, incidentally, by almost every other conservation NGO.)

Tonight, I watched Facing Extinction – Sir Terry Pratchett’s trip to Borneo to find out what had happened to the Orangutans since his visit in the 90s. Things hadn’t gone well. As he rightly pointed out, it’s not just about the Orangs. It’s about their habitat. The forest is increasingly being cleared to grow palm oil. Once the forest is gone, it’s gone forever. And so is the vast diversity of life that lived there.

Sir Terry remarked that it felt entirely natural to be in the jungle. We are of that ecology, us humans. Nature works. Everything flourishes together. That’s not me being girly – those are the words of the great Mr Ablethorpe, my 6th form biology teacher.

In our desire for dominion, to control the beasts, the land and the seas for what we perceive as our own benefit, we have fucked up the world that is our home, the rhinos’ home, the orangutans’ home and the chickens’ home (yes yes, I understand they’re domestic animals, but there we are. They’re here now. As my Mum would say: everything has as much right to life as we do.) And we continue to fuck up our home. With many sticking their fingers in their ears and yelling LA LA LA, CAN’T HEAR YOU! any time someone – including people with considerably better credentials than me, like those people with ‘Scientist’ in their job title – presents them with information or evidence of the fucked-up-ness.

As that known to be incredibly over-emotional bloke Einstein pointed out; once the bees go, we go. He was quite intelligent. Knew a few things. Maybe he understood something about ecosystems. Or maybe he should have stuck to the physics and stopped with the scaremongering.

Emotional responses serve a purpose. Because I react with emotion, doesn’t mean that everything I have to say is bollocks, nor that the trigger to my response should be dismissed.

Unless we have some pretty niche predilections, we react to rotting food and faeces with disgust. Because those things could make us ill. Disgust is an emotion. Some people react with fear when they see a spider, wasp, snake (insert potential dangerous beastie here). Fear is an emotion. It helps us avoid danger. As social animals, we bond closely with our children and usually with our close family members and friends. We tend to call this emotion love. It drives us to look after one another – often selflessly. It helps the tribe to survive. I could go on. You get the idea.

There are people who can give you rational reasons to protect other animals and the environment. Zoologists and behaviour experts who understand about intelligence and the complexity of animals’ social lives, environmental scientists who understand the evidence-based benefits of biodiversity. Me – mostly I simply believe, morally, that the world is not ours to mess about with as we please. Other animals aren’t here for us to use and abuse whenever we wish. Especially not to kill simply because it’s fun. That’s the behaviour of the dangerous psychopath, surely? (There are non-dangerous psychopaths, apparently. Apparently, they make very good surgeons.)

What do you have when you don’t have compassion?

Apathy.

Oh well there’s nothing I can do, anyway.

There are far worse things going on in the world.

That’s just how it is now. Get used to it. 

Why don’t you worry about x instead?

I don’t always Get Emotional, but, as it transpires, there are a shit-load of things likely to Piss me Off. Most of which are about suffering or inequality. By no means an exhaustive list…

I get emotional about girls being raped in India.

I get emotional about people living under oppressive regimes; tortured and imprisoned for daring to speak in their own language.

I get emotional when powerful nations bomb the fuck out of their own people, and thousands of civilians die, are maimed for life, lose their families, homes and livelihoods.

I get emotional about people not having access to clean drinking water.

I get emotional when people die as the factory where they were working for pennies, making cheap clothes for the West, collapses.

I get emotional when people view animals as sustainable resources as though that animal’s life is of no consequence except in the context of its value to humanity.

I get emotional that so many people are having to use food banks. That the poorest in our own society continue to bear the brunt of ‘austerity’.

I get emotional whenever I hear of a suicide. To think about someone lonely. Desperate. Let down by a system. Believing there was no point continuing.

I get emotional about older people living and dying alone; isolated from the busy communities on their doorsteps.

I get emotional when people torture or abuse trusting and vulnerable animals, children or adults.

I get emotional when someone is bullied for being ‘different’.

I get emotional when powerful people fuck over the planet that is my home.

When I was in Thailand, in 2011, working with animal rescue charity Soi Dogs, I noticed that a cat in the kennels had suffered an allergic reaction to his meds. He was going into anaphylactic shock and needed urgent attention. I shouted. I got people moving. I made it abundantly clear this was an emergency. I made sure that cat got the care he needed. He survived. He belonged to a man who’d been rendered homeless by the floods. The man adored his cats. He was over-joyed when he was reunited with them. All of them.

When I helped that cat, one of the other volunteers said to me:

If I’m ever in trouble. I hope I have you in my corner!

Don’t knock my emotions.

Don’t confuse soft with weak.

One day, it could be your fucking life I’m fighting for.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: