After the last couple of days you should have nice and full bellies with smears of chocolate on your lips… not blood 😉
Hope you liked the veg*n banana bread recipe and the veg*n chocolate chip cookie recipe too. And now that the body has been satisfied I think it’s time to nourish the mind. So let’s take a moment to talk about veganism and non violence. This will also be a found feather (not plucked) in the cap of vegetarianism though to a lesser extent.
Veganism as I’ve said before is a lifestyle choice that should be more accurately considered a moral or ethical philosophy. I know there are folks out there who call themselves vegan but who are really only strict vegetarians or vegans in diet only.
That’s okay, but that is not how the vegan ethic developed. We have to understand this and recognize it. The boundaries of vegetarianism have become so flexible that they word is no longer even valid as a description of vegetarianism. Yes, the dictionaries still have it right, but I still can’t count the number of times that I’ve told people I’m a vegetarian and they reply with “okay, but you still eat fish right?”.
Thanks to the wannabes and who think it’s cool to coopt a movement or to ingratiate themselves between two disparate camps. Sorry doesn’t work that way.
Veganism is still in its infancy to the extent that the general public is still trying to grasp what exactly a vegan means. Let’s not lead them astray by pretending we’re vegan when at a restaurant with friends dressed in our wool suit, leather gloves and silk scarves. No sirree. We cannot let the waters of vegan understanding get muddied by the dilettantanti.
And this brings me to the thrust of my argument. That veganism is a daily protest against the violence endemic in our society and that perhaps to make it even clearer, veganism is a testament of non violence.
As Donald Watson has said in what was his last interview, if Jesus Christ was around today he would be an itinerant vegan propagandist. JC was not one for political correctness and I think today we live in a society too concerned with the political correct approach, with not rocking the boat and about massaging the truth.
I don’t think that as vegan non violent pacifists that we can afford the same luxury as the status quo. So you will find me writing things on this post that will ruffle feathers. The truth is a blunt instrument and sometimes getting poked by it is uncomfortable. Whenever you bring light to dark corners some folks’ eyes will squint as they strain to avoid or hopefully see the illuminated. The truth is uncomfortable and many will find that disrespectful but that is not true. Uncomfortableness is not the bedfellow of respect.
So living vegan in a society that has well practiced the art of smoke and mirrors – just see how easy it is to get a viewing of the slaughterhouse – requires that we bear witness to the truth. That we carry the flag of non violence and in our own personal ways we seek to give testament to the non violent and honesty of the vegan life.
But it asks more from you than just being a living protest against the suffering of sentient beings. We achieve that easily. In fact, our vegan friends who aren’t really vegan – the strict vegetarian dieters – are equally practicing non violence towards food animals. But that is not enough. That is not the thrust of their focus, but rather a side benefit for the suffering souls.
Non violence and I would beseech you, veganism, is a holistic approach towards non violence. It is choosing a non violent lifestyle. And that means to do the least amount of harm possible.
The vegan ethical lifestyle philosophy is a practical and living philosophy. And as such, our non violence must extend from us to embrace the circle of compassion. And this circle is that with which we come into contact with in our daily lives.
Let me give you a practical example. As I grow older and try to find more wisdom and practical uses for my veganism I have come to understand that the golden rule – to do unto others as you would have done unto you – is the only necessary commandment, ideology or philosophy that you need adhere too. So long as you take “others” to mean all living beings.
From the choices you make to recycle rather than to send to the dump. To not wantonly tear that flower off of the stem but rather enjoy its beauty intact. To use a humane mouse trap rather than poison. These are all living and breathing acts of non violence.
To say your truth and to speak the truth plainly. To not cheat yourself or your fellow man. This is what it is to truly embrace veganism as a testament for non violence.
If you cheat on your wife or husband, boyfriend or girlfriend, this is violence. You are hurting yourself and your relationship whether or not you are found out. To devalue your property or material possessions is an act of violence against all of those who are part of the chain of custody that brought you that iPad, car or bicycle.
That might seem extreme and I am not suggesting that we need to be hyper vigilant about the ant we accidentally step on or that we have mortally wounded ourselves when we slammed that cupboard in anger.
No. But I am asking that we start to see the interconnectedness of all life. And as vegans if we are all interconnected. If our actions have repercussions – and they do – then we would do well to live as harmlessly as possible. To start thinking about how we can extend non violent actionable living into our daily lives – our greater circle of compassion – that is the journey as vegans we can embrace and move towards.
I am not a saint. But I must embrace the truth whether I like it or not. I am not religious but I must accept the reality of karma or spiritual retribution. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
You can be agnostic or atheistic and this is still fundamentally sound science. Our abilities to exact and cause change in the universe are greater than the forkfuls we eat off our daily plates. How will we choose to flap our wings and what will be the consequences of that butterfly effect?
Just a thought.