The Ghosts In Our Machine

Celebrating Empathy

By Jo-Anne McArthur
Animal rights photographer / We Animals / Main human subject of The Ghosts In Our Machine

The beauty of life is extraordinary. It’s sacred and always worth celebrating. (If you’re having a bad day and doubting this statement, skip this text and go right to the photos!) This is why we work so hard to help not just humans, but all sentient beings; this is why we try to alleviate their pain. This fight to emancipate non-human animals is a difficult one to say the least. Challenging the use of animals as status quo is definitely a battle of epic proportion.

So how do we keep up our energy and our hope despite the industries we are up against? By celebrating the victories, by reveling in the good. How else can we hope to maintain our fire? Mine – that fire that keeps me ever working to help animals – seemed to be flickering not so long ago; I was getting overwhelmed and depressed by the suffering that animals face at our hands. My life was way out of balance because of this and I know that so many people experience this too.

Jeremy Rifkin writes in his book “The Empathic Civilization” that history is of course told through war. What remains largely absent from the history books, however, are the innumerable acts of kindness that have been part of our evolution and our empathetic progress. He writes that humans are predisposed to be guided by affection, companionship, sociability and empathic extension, and that if we nurture this evolution, a “constant empathetic feedback can be the social glue that makes possible increasingly complex societies” – empathetic societies which respect, celebrate and include non-human animals.

Part of maintaining hope and balance, and CREATING hope and balance, is to celebrate one of the great movements of our time – the animal rights movement. We can visit, support and volunteer at animal sanctuaries. We can participate in the growing and diverse forms of activism. We can enjoy the community that grows up around that. We can use our skills, whatever they may be, to help animals.

Take part in creating and celebrating change. It’s the best way to conquer despair and nurture our instinct for empathy, and the best way to keep our energies high and fight the good fight.

For the ghosts,


View Jo’s album of images called Celebrating Empathy


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