Joey Lott: Spiritual Speciesism

Normally, what we mean by saying that one is spiritually awake is that such a person no longer identifies in some sort of exclusive manner with any particular form. Instead, such a person knows herself or himself to be unbounded. Which is fine. This is a perfectly sane discovery, in my opinion.

And, I might add, it’s nothing special. In fact, although I cannot know this for certain, I highly suspect that this is the effortless, natural experience of all wild living beings. Frogs. Rivers. Trees. Mountains. The reason I suspect this is that it seems to me that these beings have no reason to suspect otherwise. Without the stories and concepts that we believe then it seems to me that the unbounded connectedness of all apparent forms, the timeless nature of all that is, is perfectly self-evident.

I see no reason to call this “spiritual”. Because to call it spiritual suggests that it is somehow special or apart from something else. But by nature of the unbounded nature of what is there is no possibility of special. There is only what is.

– from Spiritual Specisim by Joey Lott (it’s worth reading the full article)

What he says resonates with me. Living within nonidentification is natural. It’s what plants and animals – and the rest of life – does effortlessly.

And yet, humans are unique, just as any other species is. Our strength is a certain form of cognitive ability, where other species have other strengths. And none is inherently any “better” or “worse” than those of any other species. They are just different.

We humans are very young in learning how to use our cognitive abilities, which is why we tend to create a lot of problems for ourselves at individual (suffering, confusion, beliefs) and collective (wars, injustice, ecological harm) levels. Our cognitive abilities are themselves very young, and our familiarity with it – and attempts to learn how to live with and from it with more wisdom – is also very young.

These cognitive abilities flavor the expression of life in a unique way. A way that sometimes includes identification, and sometimes nonidentification. And all species, and all individuals, gives their unique flavor to life’s expression. It’s all life exploring, expressing and experiencing itself in a myriad of ways. None inherently any better or worse than any other.

In general, I really like what Joey Lott writes. And I also see that I feel more comfortable adding a few things, making it a slightly “more complex simplicity” as he calls is.

Note: Wilberites would say that Joey Lott commits the pre/post fallacy here. I wouldn’t say that. He is not explicitly addressing it, but that doesn’t mean he is not aware of it. There is a difference between nonidentification expressed through – for instance – an infant and a mature adult. It’s something anyone can see.

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