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"May all beings be happy & free from suffering" - Cebuan Bliss

Find our Sentientist conversation on the Sentientism YouTube or Sentientism Podcast.

Cebuan (Cebby) Bliss (@CebbyBliss) is a PhD candidate researching animal and biodiversity governance at Radboud University in the Netherlands.

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." In addition to the YouTube video here, the audio is on our Podcast here on Apple and here on the other platforms.

We discuss:
0:00 Welcome

1:03 Cebuan's Intro - from the corporate world to academia

  • Environmental & animal welfare governance

4:17 What's Real?

  • Growing up in the UK in a Christian religious context, but not in a religious family
  • Having a naturalistic mindset from the start
  • Linking food to animals & going vegetarian at 6 yrs old (later vegan)
  • The commodification of life in animal agriculture
  • Seeing foxhunting, shooting & other traditional "countryside pursuits"
  • Atheism, agnosticism & developing an appreciation for eastern philosophy & spirituality through yoga

7:20 What Matters?

  • Compassion, sentience & avoiding harm
  • "May all beings be happy & free from suffering… may the thoughts, words and actions of my life contribute to the happiness and freedom for all."

11:55 Psychedelics, spiritualism & naturalism

  • Psychedelics & the perspectives they can open up
  • The precautionary principle. Acting in uncertainty
  • Bayesian thinking & probability

14:37 Supernaturalism, Religion & Morality

  • Using Holism "circle of life!" to justify harming/killing others
  • The centrality of compassion

18:16 Moral Scope & Considerability

  • Anthropocentrism, Sentiocentrism, Biocentrism, Ecocentrism
  • Combining ecocentrism & a compassionate animal welfare perspective. Compassionate conservation
  • Invasive species governance
  • How we categorise non-human animals (invasive, companion, farmed, vermin…)
  • Sentience as a grounding
  • The instrumental or intrinsic value of ecosystems

25:00 The Future - breaking out of anthropocentrism

  • Naturalism & sentiocentrism vs. social norms and indoctrination
  • The damage caused by anthropocentrism
  • EU Lisbon Treaty (2009) recognition of animal sentience
  • Human cultures & customs & industry used as justification for harm & killing
  • Transformative governance: Integrated, inclusive, informed, adaptive. Tackling root causes
  • Changing entire systems. Social/economic…
  • "Humans can be thought of as an invasive species"
  • Invasive species can improve biodiversity

29:05 Sentientist Development Goals / Rights Declaration?

  • Can we extend the SDGs & Universal Declaration of Human Rights to all sentients? A Universal Declaration of Sentient Rights
  • Nussbaum's capabilities approach extended from humans to non-humans
  • Non-humans do have different needs
  • An 18th SDG for non-human sentients? (Ingrid Visseren-Hamakers)
  • Wild animal suffering
  • The Universal Declaration of Animal Welfare & the warping of the term "welfare"
  • Pragmatism & inter-species justice
  • Indigenous & western perspectives. Finding different pathways to compassion. Guarding against allowing culture as a justification for needless harm/killing
  • Pluralism & relativism
  • Post-humanism & feminism
  • Losing the human connection with "nature"
  • Extending democracy, liberalism etc. beyond humans?
  • Acknowledging animals' agency & voice
  • Warping the terms "welfare", "compassion", "moral consideration"
  • Animal personhood & the law
  • Activism with Animal Rebellion. Young people are very engaged
  • "Perhaps we're too clever for our own good… we lose compassion for ourselves." then struggle to extend compassion to others
  • The mental health crisis
  • Einstein "A human being is part of the whole, called by us universe. A part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."
  • "There seems to be a willful ignorance… people need to take the blinkers off."
  • Upcoming "Transforming Biodiversity Governance" book & papers on invasive species governance, trophy hunting & re-wilding / de-extinction.

Sentientism is “Evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” More at sentientism.info​​​​​​​​​​​​​. Join Cebby on our "I'm a Sentientist" wall using this simple form​.

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

Thanks Graham for the post-production!

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