Thursday, December 12, 2013

"A Revolutionary Worldview...."

This time of year is a good time to reflect a little on what veganism is all about. Lee Hall as written an excellent piece that does just that.
To be a vegan is to adopt a revolutionary worldview. We have found that that egg, flesh, and dairy production and consumption can be hazardous to the planet and our bodies; and that animal husbandry, whether pasture-based or assembly-line, involves exploitive treatment of other conscious beings. We don’t want to play a role in that; nor do we wish to be at war with free-living animals.  As vegans, we strive to live harmoniously with the planet and all its inhabitants.
The above paragraph is from her writing and it is well worth reading in toto. She also makes reference to something near and dear to me, she writes:  "It’s really important that we figure out how to disagree without hurting, and to agree without competing."

That sort of reminded me of a previous post here about saying things well enough. Probably being able to say things well enough is going to require being able to disagree without hurting and to agree without competing.

Living vegan is the only way we can live with a minimal amount of hurting, and that's a good thing.


D.E.M. said...

A minimal amount of hurting... great way to put it!

Lon Anderson said...

I feel it's of great importance to have compassion for all beings.

Bea Elliott said...

"It’s really important that we figure out how to disagree without hurting, and to agree without competing." Those were the lines that rang true for me too. Some are very skilled at speaking to the opposition in an non-confrontational manner. I've seen it from a few masters of diplomacy and am awed by their ability to be peace makers while also being truth bringers.

I've noticed it here on this blog recently... The notes I took were to listen to others. To recognize their position as valid in the context of their view, before proceeding with any criticism. And to present alternative solutions in ways that are gently accommodating. It's harder to make war with friends... A great lesson on the way to not hurting. That is so important not to do.

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting DEM and Lon.

DEM: Thank you, when I was writing I realized that no way (unless we hid in a box) could we live without doing some harm (if only by accident)...but we can sure do lots to minimize it. :-)

Lon: My sentiments exactly.

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting Bea. The initial line you quote conveys a really big task. And a difficult one to implement. I'm rather piss-poor at the first part but a bit better at the second part. I've been rather repelled by "competition" ever since I was a kid. Long and involved story there.

When I was in graduate school I was delighted to stumble across the writings of Alfie Kohn ( who does a wonderful job of taking to task the American fascination with "competition". I think the competition thing is, with maybe a few exceptions, one of the more destructive and harmful behaviors there are. I'm pleased to have Alfie as one of my he has a seriously cool name. :-)

It is a tragedy that he and his works aren't more well known.

The whole thing though, telling truth with minimal harm and competition...these are big big big and complex and difficult things to sort out. No easy answers anywhere...that I know of.

Christine said...

I agree wholeheartedly that veganism is the best way to do the least harm. The sad thing is that many people do not realise how animals suffer to provide them with a food that they do not need or is natural. The concept of animal derivatives, particularly meat, being essential and natural for our survival has been ingrained so much in people’s minds that persuading people that meat is not natural is never easy. No other animal cooks his food should be an indicator that meat is not a natural food as is the fact that no other animal drinks milk after weaning. Pointing this out can make people think. A quote from Plutarch brings this point across so well: “If you declare that you are naturally designed for such a diet, then first kill for yourself what you want to eat. Do it, however, only through your own resources, unaided by cleaver or cudgel or any kind of ax”

It can be more difficult not to be confrontational though in extreme and more overt instances of animal cruelty such as hunting or in the case of the live plucking of rabbits in China about which I learnt recently and which has upset me greatly because of the obvious cruelty involved. I cannot understand how any rational person can inflict such dreadful cruelty on any sentient being. There is in my opinion no need to harm any animal in any way in the modern world and people do so because of ignorance or deliberate cruelty.

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting Christine. It is rather dismaying to realize how much cruelty we humans practice on our fellow Earthlings...when there is no necessity for it. I don't understand it either.

veganplace said...

Thanks, Vee, for connecting your own thoughts and further references with some things I've thought about. I think it's indeed the case that vegan living is the path of least harm--if we live simple, frugal though generous lives. I think just as important as the least-harm idea is that we're mindful of a positive idea too: we do what we can to ensure that animals are able--in their ways and in their spaces--to thrive. There is a great deal of focus on suffering in our movement. It seems to me at least as important for us to be here to offer a positive vision: that other animals should be left free to experience their lives--with all the pain and pleasure, autonomy and uncertainty, risks and adventure that freedom involves. Love to you and all here.

Have Gone Vegan said...

"It’s really important that we figure out how to disagree without hurting, and to agree without competing."

Wow, if human animals could learn how to do that, this planet would be a different place. What a great personal goal, and goal for our movement as well. Right now I fail miserably at both, but it may be something to at least learn how to improve.

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting HGV. I agree...those tasks are difficult...but not really nearly as difficult as the outcomes from the alternatives...we just sorta lose sight of that. :-)