A koala chewing eucalyptus leaves

photograph of koala climbing a gum tree

"Presently, however, there arises in most of us (perhaps not in psychopaths) a faculty of imagination (I can only label, not describe it) which informs me that to you, You are a Me. It is this faculty, with its ability to inhabit the other side of the barrier, that knocks the class barrier down. It can never rid me of my egocentric vision. But it persuades me if I want to make a just appraisal of reality (and I do want to; it's not a virtue; I can't help it) then I must perform a series of intellectual adjustments to discount the particular distorting effect of the point of view from which I am obliged to observe reality. My pain in the head remains more vivid to me than your pain in the head, but if I adjust for this I have to this I have to allow that my hitting you and your hitting me are acts in exactly the same class; I can't deplore the one without deploring the other; I have weighed them in a balance as accurate as I can make it, found them equally bad, and have thereby set irreversibly out toward social justice. To my mind, therefore, there was both a logical and a psychological inevitability in basing the claim for other animals' rights on social justice."
Brigid Brophy
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