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Life Arts    H2'ed 7/28/08

Power, Peace, and Puppies: Common Sense and Nonviolence

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What is most staggering is that a TV show promoting such archaic and abusive methods has enjoyed such unbridled popularity. Is this offering us a clue about the wounded soul of America? Does it provide insight as to why so many citizens of this country are comfortable with our government’s domination-focused international policy?


The allure of domination, for people who feel fearful and disempowered, can be dangerously seductive. Ordinarily well-meaning people can be hypnotized by charisma if they are wildly grasping for the false sense of safety provided by dominance and aggression. 


It seems to me that whereas power usually means “power-over,—the power of some person or group over some other person or group—it is possible to develop the conception of “power-with,” a jointly developed power, a co-active, not a coercive, power. Coercive power is the curse of the universe; coactive power, the enrichment and advancement of every human soul. ~ Mary Parker Follett

When I asked Owens, the yogic pacifist, to comment on Millan’s treatment of dogs, he would not engage in battle.  With a lift of an eyebrow, he simply suggested watching the National Geographic TV show with the sound turned off. Undistracted by Millan’s charismatic voice, some of the methods can be more easily understood for what they really are.


Owens said, “How we treat our animals is directly linked to how we treat each other. Studies have shown [24] that humans who are violent toward animals often extend that behavior and become violent toward other humans.” And one study showed that animals were abused in 88 percent of the homes in which a child was abused. [25] Owens continued,  "Fortunately, the reverse is also true.  People who are kind to animals often have a more positive outlook on life and visit nursing homes, schools and hospitals, nurturing the world with a little more kindness and compassion."


Toward A Peaceable Kingdom


"Teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child, as it is to the caterpillar." ~Bradley Miller

How we treat animals says everything about who we are. For instance, as a child, George W. Bush amused himself by stuffing lit firecrackers down the throats of hapless frogs, before tossing them into the air. [26] One wonders how our world might be different today, had he learned compassion for sentient beings as a youngster.

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In a recent New York Times article, science reporter Donald G. McNeil, Jr. [27] asks, “If you caught your son burning ants with a magnifying glass, would it bother you less than if you found him torturing a mouse with a soldering iron? How about a snake? How about his sister?”

Ashley Montague says, “The indifference, callousness and contempt that so many people exhibit toward animals is evil, first, because it results in great suffering in animals, and, second, because it results in an incalculably great impoverishment of the human spirit.  All education should be directed toward the refinement of the individual's sensibilities in relation not only to one's fellow humans everywhere, but to all things whatsoever.”

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Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing since she was a hippie. She began writing for OpEdNews in Feb, 2004. She became a Senior Editor in August 2012 and Managing Editor in January, (more...)

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