http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/caveman-logic/201210/cathys-tale This is a link to an intriguing article that appeared recently in “Psychology Today”.
In his essay, Hank Davis attends to the dire consequences that can result when communication breaks down due to misconceptions. By using the experiences of a donkey that was rescued from an abusive environment, the author brings into unique focus the ways that stereotyping can prompt violent behaviour, behaviour which is deemed justifiable at the time. By choosing to juxstapose the donkey’s name with that of a woman in an abusive relationship, Davis brings into vivid relief the very real damage that is done both to humans and to animals by these uninformed assumptions.
The stories we tell ourselves about other animals and other people can never be taken for granted since, too often, they are shaped by blinkered, negative generalities. It is always much more productive to consider the individual as being unique and worthy of our understanding.
Sandra Pady, Founder
In our 21st Century world we “love” everything. To wit, “She loves the Rolling Stones. He loves chocolate. They love to travel. I love my new car.” Indeed, it is difficult to go for even a 24 hour period without hearing someone describe his or her relationship with any kind of animal, mineral or vegetable in terms of ‘love’.
Here at The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada – and this is no surprise – we can expect to hear or read at least once in any day how much a person loves donkeys. Of course, one appreciates the good intentions behind the use of the expression but unfortunately, ‘loving’ has become so commonplace that its impact is now quite negligible.
And therein lies the rub because our relationships with and responsibilities to the other animals on this planet are in fact so much more serious and profound. Today, it is the case that the impact of human behaviour shapes, controls and constricts the lives of all other creatures. This is an awe-some fact, one that urges us to revisit our everyday expressions.
Rather than saying that we ‘love’ donkeys, I suggest that we say that we ‘respect’ them. Now, there is a verb that brings with it a sense of particular worth, of value.
When we respect, we esteem. When we respect, we recognize inherent positive qualities. When we repect, we acknowledge our part and responsibilities in a relationship. When we respect a being, we value its life. It is somehow reprehensible to neglect or abuse that which you respect.
Sandra Pady, Founder