The Matrix of Carnism
An Animal Rights Article from All-Creatures.org

By Robert Grillo, Free From Harm
September 2013

Social justice movements always ask people to face difficult realities, but the ultimate reward goes to those who have the courage to witness because seeing things as they really are liberates us from oppressive forces. Silence and denial keep oppression alive, and breaking that silence and denial disempowers it.

For meat-eating cultures around the world, carnism is that hidden Matrix that few people talk about or reason with, for fear of being ostracized. It is just “the way the world is.” Carnism teaches us from birth that eating animals is normal, natural and necessary. And carnism remains a dominant belief system to the extent that it remains unquestioned, shrouded in silence and protected by collective denial.

 

Morpheus: “The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work… when you go to church… when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.

Neo: What truth?

Morpheus: That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage, into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind.”

While most of us are preoccupied with what everyone else is doing and thinking, the message of the Matrix mirrors what Socrates also taught millennia ago: think for yourself. The only way out of the mental prison of the Matrix is to question what you’ve been taught. Overcome denial and face the truth. And then stop supporting slavery in all of its manifestations because it is the very reason why the Matrix got you under its spell in the first place.

Social justice movements always ask people to face difficult realities, but the ultimate reward goes to those who have the courage to witness because seeing things as they really are liberates us from oppressive forces. Silence and denial keep oppression alive, and breaking that silence and denial disempowers it.

For meat-eating cultures around the world, carnism is that hidden Matrix that few people talk about or reason with, for fear of being ostracized. It is just “the way the world is.” Carnism teaches us from birth that eating animals is normal, natural and necessary. And carnism remains a dominant belief system to the extent that it remains unquestioned, shrouded in silence and protected by collective denial.

Carnism defends itself from accusations of violence to and oppression of animals by ridiculing anyone who dares question it. And most people are conditioned to defend it at all costs, no matter how absurd their arguments — even by some vegans! But when we question it, we see that it’s much weaker than we first realized. In fact, it’s based on hundreds of faulty and absurd justifications that you have heard repeated, over and over again.

As psychologist Melanie Joy points out, carnism topples like a house of cards when it is challenged. Carnism doesn’t typically address the arguments against it. It just attacks those who question it, relying on its intimidation tactics to try to shut down its critics. For a good introduction to carnism see Melanie Joy’s presentation, Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism and/or read her interview: Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: Understanding Carnism and Cultural Conditioning - Melanie Joy.


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