Humans’ perspective was, still is, and will always be extremely anthropocentric.
Humans view themselves as the center of the universe even after what is regarded as the three big revolutions of Copernicus, Darwin and Freud.
Copernicus discovered that planet Earth is not the center of the universe, the sun and the other planets are not circling it. Humans know today that Earth is just another planet, not particularly special, in a not particularly special solar system.
Darwin taught humans that not only are they not the center of the universe, they are not even the center of Earth. All the species have the same origin. Humans are just another animal as all the other species - nothing special about them on Earth too.
Over the years there have been major discoveries in genetics, and accumulated knowledge in paleontology, embryology, comparative anatomy and physiology, molecular biology, and etc. all showing the amazing similarities between humans and nonhuman animals. Yet none of them are enough for humans to internalize it. Anthropocentric attitudes are still extremely far from being vanished.
One of the most important beliefs, making animal abuse possible, is the idea that humans and other animals are in some way separated by an unbridgeable gap.
But humans, of course, are great apes, not beings made in god’s image.
Humans share with all other beings about 4 billion years of evolutionary heritage. The genus Homo only originated 2-3 million years ago, while the homo sapiens is estimated to appear about 300,000 years ago.
Genetically, it is often mentioned that humans are much more closely related to other great apes than these apes are to other monkeys. Humans and chimpanzees have about 98.4% of their genes in common, whereas monkeys have only about 93% of the same genes as apes.
This similarity is supposed to weaken anthropocentric concepts that unfortunately most humans hold. But when about half of Americans still reject the theory of evolution, abolishing anthropocentrism is far from reality.
When it comes to their perception about their place in the universe, nothing fundamental has changed.
One thing that cannot be taken from humans, is their amazing talent for rationalization.
Some are even using the genetic similarities to further strengthen their alleged supremacy, arguing that humans are so superior exactly because they have done so well with so little. The fact that they are in their godlike position despite that they are so genetically close to other apes, is in itself what makes them so special.
Freud generated the third revolution that was supposed to further shatter the anthropocentric view. He said that not only are humans not the center of the universe, nor the center of the animal kingdom - they are not even the center of themselves.
Humans are not really in complete control of what they are. They are motivated by unaware impulses, inherent irrational drives, and by systems and mechanisms in the unconscious, far beyond their ability to recognize or understand, not to mention effect.
Freud taught us how critical and influential experiences are in the first few years of life, and how complicated it is to alter their tremendous shaping effect retroactively (in addition to the many inborn mental characteristics). Humans are not even really the masters of their own domain.
Obviously many of Freud’s ideas are debatable. But the basic concepts behind at least the psychological cornerstones relevant in this context are still valid. Humans can no longer view themselves as utterly rationalistic beings operating solely according to reasoning, and as being in absolute control over their personalities, behavior, thoughts and desires.
Conceptually, these three revolutionary theories are almost meaningless in the everyday life of most humans. The anti-anthropocentric aspect of these ideas is pretty simple, however most humans don’t really internalize their conceptual meaning in terms of casting doubt about homo sapience’s supremacy.
The gap between the revolution these ideas were supposed to create and everyday reality - in which humans are still convinced and act as if they are the center of the universe - is an outcome of a strong motivation to keep their superior status in the world. A status that was supposed to die out a long time ago.
The fact that most humans still believe in the existence of a god in the 21st century, after so many scientific discoveries refute the claims for its existence, is not an indication of ignorance (in many cases it is, but these are not the ones we address here), or that the alternative theories are not satisfying. It is an indication of the psychological motivations humans have to believe in a god, and that they are the pinnacle of its creation. The sense that an omnipotent entity is watching over them specifically, is very comforting. It fills their lives with meaning and a sense of control. The need for an existential order in such a chaotic world is highly essential for humans, and part of this “heavenly” order is their special position and role in this world.
There is nothing rational in the belief that the human race is superior, or that the entire universe revolves around it. There is nothing rational in discrimination based on skin color, gender, class, ethnic origin or species. There are motivations to hold these perceptions and they are much stronger than the little rational thinking humans are capable of.
The fact is that most humans believe in a god, and most humans are racists, nationalists, chauvinists, and of course speciesists.
One of the strongest indications of how hopeless the chances are to generate a moral change regarding animals based on humans' compassion, is the way humans treat members of their own species. Please take the time and read our articles and posts about how humans systematically exploit the poorest of their own kind, how they treat half of their own species and their own posterity, as well as the answer in the FAQ section to the question about the possibility of social revolutions, and particularly about the possibility of a vegan world.
And finally, the request for patience, which is being asked at nonhumans’ expense, is essentially speciesist.
With more than 150 billion animals per year suffering from birth to death under mankind’s tyranny, asking them to hold on until about 7.5 billion humans are convinced, is not only speciesist, it’s cruel.