Animal Rights – A scientific and spiritual view on how to treat animals. – part 2

Michiel Haas -- the Netherlands  

Tim and Michiel2 2015

The author (left) and International President Tim Boyd in Adyar


In part I of this article we learned that most scientists agree that all vertebrates

— mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish — are conscious to varying degrees, have feelings, and can suffer pain. From a spiritual perspective there appears to be a strong suggestion that animals have a soul, often a group soul, but there are surely animals that have al- ready been individualized. And there are clear indications of reincarnation of animals, as appears from conversations with these animals. In this part 2 of the series of 3, we will try to answer the question of how we should treat animals with this knowledge, after looking at the effects of our current relationship with animals in intensive livestock farming.

Read more: Animal Rights – A scientific and spiritual view on how to treat animals. – part 2

Unsacred Architecture

Tim Wyatt – England

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Was Stonehenge built for profit? Was the Parthenon meant to yield a reliable income stream for a pension fund? Was Machu Picchu part of a wider commercial enterprise? Was the Great Pyramid part of an international property portfolio? The answers are respectively no, no, no and no.

Read more: Unsacred Architecture

A Practical Guide to Death and Dying – part 7

John White – USA

[A Practical Guide to Death and Dying was originally published by QUEST books in 1980. This particular version was previously published in the Theosophical Digest, y1992 v4 i2-p90.] 

Out-of-Body Experience — The Ecstasy of Astral Projection.

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Out-of-body experience (OBE) is the experience in which you find your consciousness or your center of self-awareness floating in space exterior to your physical body. In the OBE condition, you are fully and normally conscious. The effect of having an OBE, parapsychologist Dr. Charles Tart tells us, is enormous. In almost all cases, the person’s reaction is approximately, “I no longer believe in survival after death — I know my consciousness will survive death because I have experienced my consciousness existing outside my physical body.” The conviction gained by OBE experiencers that they will survive death, Tart adds, has undoubtedly led to the concept of soul.

Read more: A Practical Guide to Death and Dying – part 7

Focus – A simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction: Part 29

Leo Babauta – USA

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Distraction at the workplace

In a perfect world, you could learn to beat the urges that defeat you and create an environment of focus … and just focus. But we live and work in a world with other people, and that can make finding focus difficult.

Read more: Focus – A simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction: Part 29

Animal rights – A spiritual view on how to treat animals - part1

Michiel Haas – the Netherlands


In three articles I want to provide an overview of how we treat animals and how things could be done differently. In our society, animals are used as an efficient production tool in a way that is no longer in line with the scientific view that animals are conscious to varying degrees, have feelings and can suffer pain.

Should we use animals? 

Who gives us the right to use animals as a production tool and often not treat them as living beings with feelings? Is that a biblical right? God said "Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground" (Genesis 1:28). But does it give us a licence to treat animals badly? No, definitely not. God even gave the Israelites laws for animal welfare. They had to get plenty of rest and food, to be assisted when in need and to be protected from injury (Exodus 23: 4, 5; Deuteronomy 22:10; 25: 4). The Koran is also clear about this. "He it is who made you successors in the earth. " (Quran 35:39), but still, He is clear that this responsibility is not unconditional. For those who fail to meet the conditions that limit this responsibility, the following applies: "Then we return him to the lowest of the low" (Quran 95: 5 ... ..). In short, although the sacred books make man ruler of the animals on Earth, those books are equally clear that such a responsibility is comes with duties. It certainly looks like today's society disregards those duties.

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This idyllic image of cows in a meadow is becoming increasingly rare (photo © MilieuDefensie)

Read more: Animal rights – A spiritual view on how to treat animals - part1

Dogs process numerical quantities in similar brain region as humans

Unique experiment explores canine 'numerosity'

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Dogs spontaneously process basic numerical quantities, using a distinct part of their brains that corresponds closely to number-responsive neural regions in humans, finds a study at Emory University.

Biology Letters published the results, which suggest that a common neural mechanism has been deeply conserved across mammalian evolution.

Read more: Dogs process numerical quantities in similar brain region as humans

How does language emerge?

New study provides insights into the first steps

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How did the almost 6,000 languages of the world come into being? Researchers from the Leipzig Research Centre for Early Childhood Development at Leipzig University and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology have tried to simulate the process of developing a new communication system in an experiment -- with surprising results: even preschool children can spontaneously develop communication systems that exhibit core properties of natural language.

Read more: How does language emerge?

Creation and Change

Ananya Sri Ram Rajan – USA

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This past summer, I was (again) introduced to the book Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. The book was gifted to me in a roundabout fashion after many people mentioned that I needed to read it. (If we only realized the ways in which the universe speaks to us!) Dr. Kimmerer starts her book with a North American creation story about Skywoman. “In the beginning was Skyworld. . .” Skywoman descends from Skyworld to help create Turtle Island or what we now call North America. The story is so rich in symbolism. For Skywoman to fulfill what she needs to do, she requires mud to plant the seeds she brings. Many water creatures try to swim to the bottom of the sea without success. It is the muskrat, small, unseen, and in today’s mainstream thinking inconsequential, who dives to the bottom and whose lifeless body surfaces, clutching the mud in his little hand. Turtle offers his back as the solidity needed for the mud to plant the seeds and Skywoman sings a thanksgiving song. As she dances, she plants her seeds with every step. I haven’t done justice to this story. But what stays with me again and again is the beauty, generosity, gratitude, harmony, and abundance of the story. Nothing is without purpose, no one is inconsequential. And nothing is done for oneself. Every action is done for the evolution of the Creator and for all the beings that come after. Great Spirit is in every thing. Even the mud. (And that folks, is Theosophy in Native American form!)

Read more: Creation and Change

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