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Towards a Vegan-Based Ethic

Dismantling Neo-Colonial Hierarchy Through an Ethic of Lovingkindness

Micol Kates

The book draws links between colonial and neo-colonial power structures which have sought to maintain hierarchies of dominance, resulting in cruel practices towards people at the bottom of the hierarchy and animals, who, in a colonial mindset, only exist for human gain. To counter these harm-based ideologies, and practices, veganism, as an ethical movement, is seeking to give voice to all those who support animals, and the rights of animals, while also seeking to give a voice to animals themselves. Additionally, veganism seeks to challenge the old-guard power structures and cruel practices perpetuated by colonial and neo-colonial systems associated with the dominant Ego power structure. Vegan ethics represent a shift from the dominant Ego model of human relations represented by a pyramid of power towards an Eco model of human relationships in which all Beings have equal worth and agency.

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3. Shamanic Clowns, Fools and Children: Shifting the Paradigm


3 Shamanic Clowns, Fools and Children

Shifting the Paradigm

Hans Christian Andersen’s parable, The Emperor’s New Clothes illustrates the blind and mindless acceptance of the absurd to which all, but a young child is willing to close their eyes. In the story, the Emperor has allowed two travelling weavers to trick him into believing they are making for him beautiful, new clothes, when in fact, they are making nothing. The travelling weavers are simply taking the Emperor’s money and spinning lies, not cloth. When the Emperor dons the new “clothes” in public, all the sycophantic adults praise his beautiful attire. The only person in the audience with open eyes, not taken in by the deceit, is a small child whose courage to speak up encourages the adults to do the same. The young child can plainly see that the Emperor is wearing nothing at all, and is not afraid to say just that:

“But he has nothing on at all,” said a little child. “Good heavens! Hear what the little innocent says!” said the father; and then each whispered to each other what the child said. “He has no clothes on—a little child says he has nothing on at all!” “He has nothing on at all,” cried all the people at last. (254–255)

Often, young children can be likened to the role of the trickster, fool or clown found in many cultural narratives throughout the world. The trickster, fool or...

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