In our western culture, we have tended to see parts of our world as inferior – nature, animals, our bodies, women, children, future generations – and treated it accordingly. We split the world in our minds, take this imagined split as reality, see one part as less valuable than the other, and then take this imagination as true as well.
There are historical, cultural, philosophical and religious reasons for this.
More immediately, it’s about the images we have in our own minds. Images transmitted from our culture, and that are there whether we consciously agree with them or not.
So it can be very helpful – and illuminating – to explore these images, for instance through the Living Inquiries.
When I bring my body to mind, what images do I see? What words? What sensations are connected to these images and words?
What do I find when I bring animals to mind? Animals vs. humans? Women? Women vs. men? Children? Children vs. adults? Future generations? Future generations vs. our current generation?
I see this as an important part of illuminating the stereotypes we all carry with us, and – at least somewhat – live our lives from, whether we are aware of it or not.
Note: In our western culture, influenced by a certain version of Christianity, we tend to split the world into good and bad, less valuable and more valuable. And the dividing line has been drawn between body and mind, women and men, children and adults, nature and humans, future generations and the current generation, with the former of each of these pairs seen as less valuable, less important, less respectable. And that’s behind many of the troubles we see today. For instance, we couldn’t have developed such a deeply unsustainable way of doing business, economics and production if it wasn’t for images in our minds telling us that (a) there is a split between humans and nature, and (b) humans are more important than nature. This is what has allowed us to pretend, for a while, that we operate separate from (the rest of) nature, and that we can mistreat nature without mistreating ourselves in the same way.