S2E64: How to Be Animal: a guide for confused humans—w/ Melanie Challenger, author

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The narrative of human exceptionalism posits that there is something unique about being human that makes us more valuable. And we believe that what matters most are the things that seem to separate us from animals—like our ability to reason or the immortal human soul. But what if you can’t separate the animal part of us from our spirit? What if being human IS being animal?

Melanie Challenger is a writer of environmental history, podcast host of Enter the Psychosphere, and author of the new release, How to Be Animal: A New History of What It Means to Be Human. On this episode of Reversing Climate Change, Melanie joins Ross to share her argument against substance dualism, explaining why we can’t separate the idea of being human from that of being animal.

Melanie offers insight on how we can ‘become animal’ without reverting to amoral, self-serving behaviors and why she sees the simple, clean messaging around environmental issues as being problematic. Listen in to understand Melanie’s take on the human battle with mortality and learn to accept that life is finite but not fear death.

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Resources

Melanie Challenger’s website

Enter the Psychosphere Podcast

How to Be Animal: A New History of What It Means to Be Human by Melanie Challenger

On Extinction: How We Became Estranged from Nature by Melanie Challenger

Paul Kingsnorth on Reversing Climate Change S2EP53

George Monbiot

Caspar Henderson

Thomas Aquinas’ Philosophy of Angelology

The Biological Mind: How Brain, Body and Environment Collaborate to Make Us Who We Are by Alan Jasanoff

Sam Harris

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning by Timothy Snyder

Alan Watts Organization

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