“A whole new relationship with non human animals that will blow people’s minds!” Jonina Turzi – Sentientist Conversations ep:78

Find our Sentientist Conversation on the Sentientism YouTube here or on the Sentientism podcast here.

Jonina (@JoninaTurzi) is cofounder of Lancaster Farm Sanctuary, a volunteer district leader for HSUS, a doctor of physical therapy & a yoga educator.

In Sentientist Conversations we talk about the two most important questions: “what’s real?” & “what matters?”

Sentientism is “evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” As well as the video above, the audio is on our Podcast here on Apple and here on the other platforms.

We discuss:
0:00 Welcome

1:24 Jonina’s Intro

  • Lancaster Farm Sanctuary, physical therapy, yoga teaching, sobriety, queerness

2:33 What’s Real?

  • Hippie parents, social justice, civil rights
  • Catholic father & schooling, more cultural than doctrinal
  • Brethren Church family history
  • Parents with a spiritual appreciation without buying into religious doctrine
  • Feeling the freedom to explore “I just want you to be happy”
  • “It felt like a human construct”
  • Identifying as an atheist as a teenager
  • Finding a beauty in the human body (& a sense of spiritual meaning) through an anatomy class
  • Being bullied, as a “young queer kid”, by members of “Youth for Christ”
  • “I have no idea what’s real”
  • The lower & upper case “Self” in some Yoga practice
  • Some things might always be unknowable
  • Reverence, wonder & awe… openness

17:10 What (& who) Matters?

  • Oneness & interconnectedness
  • Unnecessary harm to sentient others
  • Might plants have a kind of sentience? “I’m OK with saying we shouldn’t harm plants unnecessarily”
  • Seeing the similiarities between human and non-human animals through physiology
  • “The idea that non-human animals aren’t sentient is so bizarre to me”
  • Movement & intent as indicators of sentience
  • Are Roomba’s sentient?
  • Evolution, behaviour/comms, information processing as inferential evidence for sentience
  • Intrinsic & instrumental value
  • The ethical dangers of holistic/ecocentric thinking
  • “Spirtual Bypassing”… rushing to find a purpose/meaning/spiritual goal while bypassing compassion & understanding
  • Knowing very spiritual people who also own factory farms
  • A local factory farm with a Bible verse written on it
  • “The foundation of a spiritual practice is caring for others”
  • Stages of moral development: Ego, ethno, anthropocentric…
    37:30 Vegetarian to vegan
  • Rebelling against Jonina’s mother’s vegetarianism as a teenager
  • Being vegetarian. Not understanding dairy
  • Seeing slaughterhouse footage & going vegan together with Jonina’s partner
  • Social indoctrination re: animal ethics & the supernatural
  • Climate change
  • The relationship between scarcity & morality. Is it harder to be moral under scarcity?

44:09 The Future

  • “Treating every sentient being I can with dignity, including myself”
  • “We should all adopt Sentientism”
  • Embedding a sentientist culture & ethics of care into education & religion & law
  • A post-scarcity future? Freeing creative impulses from the bottom half of Maslow’s hierarchy
  • Re-wilding, permaculture, agro-forestry
  • “A whole new relationship with non-human animals that will blow people’s minds” as at Lancaster Farm Sanctuary
  • Existential hope?
  • Being clear about problems but radically open-minded about potential utopias
  • Extending human concepts (e.g. Universal Declaration of Sentient Rights, Sentientist Development Goals) or something different?
  • You can’t just legislate morality. People need to feel it too – by meeting other sentients! Gaps in our compassion are like holes in our brains
  • Our most basic, important interests are those we most have in common with non-human sentients
  • “Sentientism will look different depending on where it’s practised”
  • Indigenous perspectives on sentience & connecteness
  • Humanity to Sentientity?

1:00:08 Conspirituality

  • MLMs, Wellness, “Alternative” medicine, QAnon, Flat Earth…
  • The Conspirituality Podcast (https://conspirituality.net/)
  • Assessing yoga/spiritual teachers & groups. “Is there a clear call for compassionate ethics towards other sentients?”
  • The danger of putting anything as more important than sentient beings

1:05:40 Following Jonina and Lancaster Farm Sanctuary

  • lancasterfarmsanctuary@gmail.com
  • https://lancasterfarmsanctuary.org/
  • Instagram, FaceBook, maybe TikTok soon…

Sentientism is “Evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” More at Sentientism.info.

Join Jonina on our “I’m a Sentientist” wall using this simple form.

Everyone, Sentientist or not, is welcome in our groups. The biggest so far is here on Facebook.

Thanks Graham for the post-production.

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