Animal Apathy: Why Don’t a lot of People Care?
November 23, 2012
Can Enneagram Personality Types Explain Varying Perceptions of Animal Cruelty?
From a child’s honest viewpoint, he was referring to people who he felt did not show up as their true selves. Like little booboo, I also don’t get how so many people can know about factory farming and simply keep consuming animal products. But perhaps the answer lies in that there are many ‘true selves’, some more change oriented and forward thinking than others.
We are born caring for animals. Being kind and gentle to them, being infatuated with them. And then we learn that the food on our plates IS animals, and we are taught to build walls around our hearts and minds so that we can accept killing animals as okay. The way that we decide to reconcile this incongruity determines not only how we live the rest of our lives, but WHO we become.
So what makes some people care enough to change their behaviour towards animals, while others let their initial programming continue to run?
In one scene, a farmer who had grown up on a farm was reunited with a cow he once knew. The cow recognized him, ran up to him and bumped him right in the heart. The man was choking up as he told the story, because he said that this bump re-opened his heart chakra, which had been shut off as a child after seeing his pig friends being slaughtered one day, coming home to find their carcasses hanging upside down. After that moment, he no longer considered the farm his home. The man eventually became vegan, and began adopting animals to give them shelter.
As a contrasting example, recently, little booboo’s mom and I had an encounter with three
dumb bitches perfectly acceptable ladies in the lobby of my building. I pointed out that all three of them were wearing real fur, and gave them a quick run down of how animals are routinely anally and vaginally electrocuted and skinned alive, and one of the girls simply giggled and said: “I like fur, teehee!’
How is it that these girls, once faced with their roles in animal cruelty, can go into zombie mode? My friend pointed out that maybe they’d never thought about it before, and even if they had, perhaps they weren’t smart enough to grasp the correlation between their fashion choices and the animal suffering those choices were causing.
So is it intelligence that makes some people connect the suffering of other sentient beings with their own? Do those who choose to turn a blind eye to factory farming lack the emotional and mental intelligence to make the higher moral choice? Or are they bound by certain innate traits of their personalities?
Many people are not educated about what goes on behind closed doors when it comes to factory farming, because the industry does not want us to know. This is why laws are passed like the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act and the Ag Gag bills—to keep consumers from knowing the dirty truth behind what they consider ‘food’ because otherwise they may not consider it food anymore.
For the purpose of this blog post, I want to examine those who ARE educated on a basic level about factory farming. Who have sat down and read literature or watched films about factory farming, who have worked in an animal industry, who have been to a lecture, or know an animal rights’ activist, or those who have been schooled on Facebook when they post some stupid bacon joke.
*Disclaimer: for the record, ‘humane meat‘ does not exist.
Let’s look at the nine Enneagram Personality Types:
1. The Reformer
The Reformer is all about rules. They are the party-poopers. The perfectionists. The ones who ensure that systems are maintained. Think teachers, police officers, the people who rat you out at work.
These people have grown up in a set system, which they may feel is their role to maintain. To ‘go against’ the system would be chaotic for them, and their number one enemy is chaos. Therefore, a Reformer might feel it’s more important to stay with the systems that have ‘worked’ for a long time, rather than to experiment with new lifestyles of which the results are uncertain.
Reformers could be highly valuable to the animal rights’ movement because they are the ones who can carry out real change. They would be the ones to pass animal rights laws, to enforce laws to protect animals are being harmed, and to go cold tofurky vegan. Catch 22 – they’d do it in a heartbeat if it were already law.
2. The Helper
The Helper is motivated by the heart. Personal relationships are very important to them. They feel the most satisfied when making others happy, and are motivated by appreciation, but they are prone to over-giving which can make them carry resentment.
The Helper may not be interested in shifting from consuming animal products because they are more comfortable in a role of assistance than leadership. They also may avoid experiencing the pain that animals suffer—not watching important films, such as Earthlings—because they are afraid of the pain it could cause them.
Once The Helper acknowledges their emotional relationship with animals, they can be the ultimate direct contact for animals. These are the type of people to adopt abused animals, run sanctuaries, and definitely the people who show up at the demo.
3. The Achiever
The Achiever is busy, hard working, and goal oriented. They are hard on themselves, and need a lot of attention. The Achiever lives for glory, fame, and accolades.
Being so ‘gotta stay on top of my day, gotta stay on top of my life’, the Achiever may be too busy to look at the suffering their consumer choices are causing. They are on a mission and may not acknowledge their role in oppressive animal systems because they feel they ‘don’t have time’. The Achiever would be the type to insist that they ‘need’ animal products as their fuel, fearing what any lifestyle change would do to their productivity.
The Achiever could be a great spokesperson for animal rights, since they love to be in the spotlight. The Achiever could execute cutting edge animal rights campaigns, become leaders in the new rise of vegan cuisine, and they could definitely destroy a fur store. Destruction can be productive.
4. The Individualist
The Individualist likes to go their own way. The most romantic number of the enneagram, the Individualist has big ideas and big dreams and their biggest hurdle against recognizing their role in animal suffering is their selfishness. Caught up in their fantasy worlds, the Individualist might not take their head out of the clouds to notice what’s going on behind the closed doors of factory farms. The Individualist will understand the discord between these utopic fantasy worlds they dream of and the current realities of animal slavery, but this harsh dichotomy may be so extreme for them that they ignore it in self-preservation.
The Individualist should be a pretty easy convert for veganism since they like to be different. However, they won’t be swayed by other people pressuring them. The Individualist can be an excellent source of inspiration for others to go vegan because they will do it confidently and with style, reassuring people that it’s okay to be different.
Sensitive to emotional pain, these types will feel a weight off their shoulders once they are no longer a cog in the animal Auschwitz machine.
5. The Investigator
The Investigator. This egghead bookworm is a total poindexter. They are constantly untangling problems in their minds, which they love to chew on. The Investigator can often withdraw into their own minds solving the world’s problems.
As an observer, The Invetigator may be well aware of the systematic animal abuse in today’s modern world, but they may view it from a detached perspective, and not make a heart to heart connection with the Ghosts in the Machine. Stuck in observing and analyzing these twisted realities, the Investigator may not take initiative to ACT to alter this overwhelming information.
The Investigator is probably the first one to find out just how horrible conditions for animals are in farms and labs these days, and would be a great communicator to break these statistics down for the masses. They are the ones who document animal suffering, who research what is actually happening and hopefully, the ones who determine alternative measures that can be taken.
6. The Loyalist
A simple type. This type is conservative and feels at peace with what they know. They are supportive, consistent, and serious. But they are also skeptical, especially to anything that threatens the relationships they have come to value the most.
Since the Loyalist is stuck in the old ways, they could be among the hardest to make aware of the pain their consumer choices inflict on animals. Highly nostalgic, they tend to think of the past as ‘the good old days’, rather than good times with serious underlying mistakes that need to be rectified immediately.
When you stop consuming animal products, many people call you a freak, or ‘religious’, or an ‘extremist’. This could be very difficult for the Loyalist, since fitting in is of utmost importance to them.
Loyalists make excellent animal guardians. Once thinking empathetically with animals, they could be dependable allies to animals, animal activists (aka no narcing here), and would be very thorough in changing their lifestyles over to nonviolence, once that decision is made.
7. The Enthusiast
Positive, upbeat, optimistic. High energy. The Enthusiast is Red Bull.
The Enthusiast might be afraid of ‘missing out’ on the animal products that the majority of the world currently consumes, as many popular foods, events, trends are still based on animal exploitation. The Enthusiast can be scattered, which could affect their clarity in thinking for themselves about the results of their choices on animals. And the Enthusiast would be very resistant to hearing about the deeply sad situations animals live in today because they are committed to being high-energy-happy-fun-time pretty much all the time.
The enthusiast could be a highly valued animal rights’ activist because they are able to see a better future, to inspire others to join them to create a new world, and best of all, the Enthusiast has infectious joy to spread, making veganism fun, as it naturally is.
8. The Challenger
Contrary. Stubborn. Strong. It is part of the Challengers’ natural inclination to challenge the status quo. The Challenger is a fighter, which is great, but they can’t easily be swayed to make changes to their lifestyles because they do things on their own time.
The Challenger may fight data about animal industries out of their urge to battle, without allowing valid findings to soak in. They could vehemently block out very basic information, such as the China Study, not even taking the time to research it themselves, as they jump to defense instead of going within.
The Challenger is going to RULE the demo. They are the ones on the megaphone, calling out the cops, the animal abusers, or both. The Challenger is a renegade, so they could be excellent leaders in demanding animal freedom. The Challenger could be highly protective to animals. They are the Mama bears.
9. The Peacemaker
The Peacemaker needs harmony and concensus. They enjoy feeling calm and reject conflict, feeling that it will ‘sort itself out’. The Peacemaker can be very accpeting. Too accepting perhaps.
When it comes to the reality of animal agriculture, Peacemakers might stick their heads in the sand instead of speaking out. Or they may want to envision the state of animal existence as ‘peaceful’ already so it’s easier for them to handle.
But, the Peacemaker is patient and persistent. More than any other type, a plant-based lifestyle should make perfect sense to the Peacemaker’s pacifistic preferences. They are gentle, and therefore great at things like outreach, one of one connection, and of course, relating to animals (who seem to have copious amounts of inner peace even in the most dire situations).
“(People) occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.”
Many people are a mix of these personality types listed. Also, this is just one viewpoint of personality classification. There is of course Myers Briggs as well. The main thing the Ennegram personality indicator tells us is what motivates us in contrast to others.
To determine which personality type you are, take the quiz: http://www.eclecticenergies.com/enneagram/test.php (although this test is not very good in my opinion, better to self-diagnose after reading the descriptions).
What number of the Ennegram do you identify with? How does this affect your relationship to animals?