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Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.

Albert Schweitzer, French philosopher, physician, and musician (Nobel 1952)

Awakening from Materialism: Vegans as Healers

August 29, 2016
by

Source The World Peace Diet
By Will Tuttle

Recent events highlight the injustice and violence of racism, sexism, heterosexism, and gross economic inequity, which cause tremendous suffering in our world, and even within many social justice movements, including the vegan movement. How can we get to the roots of these issues, and what role does the accepted materialism of our society play in this? How can each of us contribute most effectively to cultural healing?

Pig by visionary artist Madeleine Tuttle

Pig by visionary artist Madeleine Tuttle

To meaningfully address these questions, we are called first of all to break the great taboo and pull back the curtain of denial, and doing so, to clearly recognize that all of us are born into an industrialized herding culture that is organized at its core around reducing beings to things. Billions of other animals are seen and treated as mere commodities that have no other purpose than to be imprisoned, fed, impregnated, used, and killed by us through an obsolete and hauntingly unquestioned food system. We are trained from infancy by our culture’s relentless meal rituals not just to eat the flesh and secretions of these abused animals, but to eat and embody the attitudes of this herding culture as well.

Herderism and Materialism

It’s vital to make an effort to understand how and why these foods are harmful to us and others, and further, to understand how and why these attitudes are unhealthy and destructive as well—though our indoctrination to these foods and attitudes is most definitely profitable for the elites controlling the military-industrial-meat-medical-pharmaceutical-media-banking complex. Meals are the foundational indoctrinating ritual in every culture, and the pervasive violence of our society against animals used for food and other products not only destroys their freedom, peace, and well-being, but also harms and reduces ours as well, in ways that are typically invisible and unrecognized.

We are forced from infancy to adopt a set of mutually reinforcing mentalities in order to participate in this defining activity of our culture. These mentalities include disconnectedness, desensitization, denial, exclusivism, elitism, domination of the feminine, reduction and commodification of living beings, predatory competitiveness, gullibility, and materialism.

Being ritually compelled to adopt these attitudes and to live and function within a society that routinely imprisons, attacks, and consumes millions of animals daily wounds us all deeply on many levels. However, the wounding is hidden, and, like the violence, is mostly invisible because it is pervasive, all-encompassing, and normalized. Fortunately, each of us can make an effort to understand this, and we can each, with help from others, undertake a journey of healing, and free ourselves from both the behavior of eating, purchasing, and causing unnecessary abuse to others, and also from the underlying attitudes that cause this unnecessary suffering not just to other animals, but to each other and to ourselves.

The Two-Part Journey of Healing

This journey of healing and awakening is the vegan journey, and it is in many ways the greatest gift we can give to ourselves and to our world today. In fact, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that if we don’t, as a culture, take this healing journey to a more conscious and non-exploitive way of living, our industrialized violence will destroy the possibilities of a viable future for all of us.

It’s a two-part journey. The first part, freeing ourselves from the abusive behavior of purchasing and consuming animal-sourced foods, is relatively straightforward. The second part, freeing ourselves from the sticky web of interrelated attitudes injected into us by our herding culture, is more complex.

We have been herding animals now for about ten thousand years. It’s a practice that’s utterly obsolete, but it has insinuated its devastating tentacles not only into our planetary ecosystems and our culture, economy, and institutions, but also into our bodies, minds, feelings, and consciousness. Everything these tentacles touch, they damage, pervert, and destroy. Hamburgers, hot dogs, fish sticks, cheese, eggs, ham, tuna, chicken, yogurt, and ice cream are falsely portrayed as benevolent and required foods for us, when in fact they are completely malevolent and unnecessary. Animal agriculture and animal-sourced foods are destroying our health, our society, our ecosystems and other animals, and they also insidiously damage the landscape of our consciousness.

Being born into a herding culture, and into the exploitive structure of corporate capitalism that herderism has inevitably generated, injures us all from infancy. We all know in our bones that we are products of our communities and culture, and that the only reason any of us eats animal-sourced foods is because we are following orders that have been injected into us by our parents, families, and by every institution and tradition in our society. It is anything but a free choice.

With ten thousand years of practice in the attitudes required to herd animals, we have now unfortunately thoroughly incorporated the delusions of herderism into our worldview, to our detriment, and we have obediently passed these traditional delusions from generation to generation. In doing so, we have passed on herderism’s inexorably accompanying furies as well: war, slavery, exploitation of the feminine, the macho male role-model for boys, a wealthy elite class, racism and other forms of social injustice, poverty, disease, hunger, anxiety, competition, and disconnectedness from animals and from nature.

The sprawling and traumatizing delusion of herderism can be summed in one word: materialism. The defining educational practice of our culture is teaching us from infancy to harden our gaze, and to see certain beings as mere matter: as nothing more than physical objects, like sacks of cement. All of us, whatever our race, gender, orientation, or class happen to be, are ritually wounded by our cultural food program, compelled to mentally transform someones into somethings. We participate, buy, and eat cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, geese, fishes, and other animals by their material weight. Their value is determined by the mass of the flesh on their physical bodies, and by the secretions and offspring they can produce for their owners. For us, they are mere material objects to be consumed. Our culture’s food rituals numb us into believing this patent falsehood.

After practicing this extreme form of materialistic and ritualized delusion for ten thousand years, generation upon generation, meal upon meal, bite upon bite, we have drifted farther than any culture ever has from the basic wisdom of connecting with and respecting life—both our own and others. We have become a thoroughly materialistic culture in the deep sense that materialism is, philosophically, the attitude and way of seeing and acting that reduces everything to matter. Not only are other animals reduced to being mere physical objects that are born and die, but we are taught to see ourselves and each other, and all life, this way as well. This delusion of materialism pervades our unjust economic system, as well as our reductionist science, religion, and education, and all our institutions. It devastates not just animals and ecosystems, but also our inherent wisdom, compassion, and well-being.

Veganism is the struggle to free ourselves from this delusion of materialism, and to see beings as beings, rather than as objects to be used. This awakening from materialism is a challenging endeavor, liberating our awareness and thus liberating animals and all of us by helping us regain our ability to see beings as subjects rather than objects. Opening our hearts and unblinding our eyes, we respectfully release other animals to once again celebrate their lives in the natural world as they are intended, and as they did for millions of years before we began to steal their freedom, and imprison and commodify them. This awakening also helps liberate us from our cages as well: the persistent and unrecognized cages of injustice and delusion. We can respectfully release other people from indoctrinated mental categories based on race, gender, and so forth, and this helps free us from the delusions underlying injustice. As we open our minds and question our culture’s narrative of abuse, we take the journey to overhaul not just our outer behavior, but also our underlying attitudes, assumptions, and way of being.

Veganism is nothing to be proud of because it is not so much an accomplishment as it is an ongoing process of questioning, and of recognition, realization, remembering, and of returning home to the ever-present wisdom and grace that have been taken from us. When we see beings, we naturally see beings, not things—and relate to them as such, with respect. Veganism is no big deal, really; it’s our natural vision, increasingly liberated from the hijacking influence of our culture’s toxic herderism. Yet it is an ongoing endeavor of enormous consequence also, because vegan living is a liberating adventure of questioning the official narratives both externally as well as the aspects that we have internalized.

Deep Veganism: The Antidote to Herderism and Materialism

Now we get to the real issues we face as vegans, which are connected to the wounds that we have all endured by being born and raised in a herding culture of materialism that treats beings as things and indoctrinates all of us into this mind-set. What gives veganism its power is that it’s solidly practical and behavioral, and as praxis, it also has a theoretical and internal dimension as well. As concrete behavior, it’s an effort to minimize the violence toward animals flowing from our actions, so we eat, wear, and use no foods, products, or services that depend on human abuse of other animals, including human animals. Internally, vegan living is a journey of healing as we work our way out of the toxic brambles of materialism and reductionism, and recognize the beauty of other expressions of life, and regain our natural human yearning to protect and care for what we value and appreciate.

As our heart and mind both open, we begin to see that, while the outer expression of veganism in our patterns of consuming is certainly important and helpful, there is much more to veganism than boycotting industries and products. We begin to see that vegan living is rejecting the delusion of materialism that is often internalized in our unconscious assumptions, and that it calls us to realize that all life is a manifestation of consciousness that is, essentially, infinite, benevolent, joyful, and eternal.

What this means in practice is that we take the journey to deep veganism, questioning and transforming not only the materialism of our outer actions, but also the philosophical materialism that has been injected into our consciousness by the herderism of our culture. As vegans we move to a plant-based way of eating and living for ethical reasons, to promote justice, compassion, freedom, and health for animals, for hungry people, for workers, for ecosystems and wildlife, and for future generations of all beings. We do this mindfully, and while our organic, whole-food plant-based way of eating and living benefits our health and happiness, it also helps and uplifts everyone.

As our awareness continues to expand, we realize that the only person we can change and liberate is ourself, and that the way to be an effective vegan advocate is to strive to ever more deeply understand ourselves and to uproot the materialist and reductionist tendencies that still remain in our consciousness, that bind us in dualism, and that generate our tendency to blame, judge, exclude, and criticize others, and to see others as the problem.

Deep veganism is an ongoing process of maturing emotionally and existentially beyond the indoctrinated and materialist view of trying to change other people, and recognizing that this manipulative effort is a form of violence that is based in the materialist delusion that we are essentially a separate self, an object that was born and will die, and that others are as well. This delusion propels us try to maneuver other people into changing. It also pushes us to try to find ways to effectively market this vegan message to others as if veganism is a mere commodity that we are packaging for consumption. With deep veganism, we realize that efforts to manipulate others to change in a way that we want them to, and arguing with or criticizing or blaming them, run contrary to the spirit of inclusiveness and respect that is the essence of vegan living. We realize that we’ve been vegan in our outer appearance, but internally we’re still trapped in the shallows of the materialist herder delusion of separateness, exclusiveness, and manipulativeness. Veganism is a call from our true nature to radical questioning of virtually all of the assumptions of our cultural programming. It is a call from our future and more evolved awareness to remember that there is no way to spread veganism, which is love, kindness, and respect, other than embodying love, kindness and respect for all animals including human animals. The path is the goal.

Farming Children

cow by visionary artist Madeleine Tuttle

Cow by visionary artist Madeleine Tuttle

With deep veganism, we become more effective in our advocacy because we begin to understand herderism and that through well-meaning but injured parents, relatives, and authorities, we’ve all been wounded. This helps us deepen our compassion for everyone. We see more clearly that forcing infants and children to eat the flesh and secretions of abusedanimals is a pervasive and culturally approved form of child abuse on several levels. First of all, it causes us as children tremendous physical suffering in the form of sore throats, earaches, obesity, diabetes, constipation, and many other conditions. But the abuse we endure runs to much deeper levels than this.

When as children we realize what hot dogs and bacon actually are, a cold darkness enters our chest. Our natural sense of kindness toward other animals is crushed under the weight of the overwhelmingly pervasive, inescapable, relentless, and hypnotically ignored cultural practice of heartless killing and eating, and we are thrown forever out of the garden of kindness, innocence, self-esteem, and harmony. What we refer to in The World Peace Diet as Sophia, the inner sacred feminine dimension of consciousness that naturally yearns to love and protect life, is stomped on and repressed by the harsh and inexorable violence of herderism. We know, and we eat this profoundly disturbing knowing every day, that there is no compassion or justice for other animals. The devastating effects of this daily reality—that we are ritually compelled by those we trust implicitly to both eat and cause violence with every meal—cannot be overstated.

Our entire culture is, in many ways, modeled on a farm where we, as newborn infants, are treated like calves on a dairy, as exploitable commodities in a heartless economic system. Like the calves we are not allowed to bond with our mothers properly. We have foods and pharmaceutical injections forced on us that are not in our interest but are advantageous to our exploiters, and we enter a system of intense social and economic competition where we are seen as objects, and are taught to see ourselves and other people in the same way, as competitors, as different, and as instruments to be manipulated and used. We are forced to eat foods of embedded terror, despair, and anxiety. Our natural sense of kinship with other animals (and ultimately with each other) is fractured as we dine on their misery.

Our capacity for sensitivity and intuition is repressed as we undergo the emotional numbing that herderism requires, and our sense of celebrating our lives in an essentially benevolent and loving atmosphere is compromised if not completely shattered. With deep veganism, we grow to understand how all of us have been psychologically wounded by being born into this herding culture’s violent and materialistic way of living, and through this understanding, we reawaken our compassion not just for animals but also for other wounded people. As this happens, our tendency toward prejudice, blame, criticism, and trying to change others dissolves into a deeper yearning to show them love and respect, and to help them take the journey of healing that we are in the process of taking. A new sense of respect informs our advocacy efforts, and while we are still keenly aware of the misery and abuse inflicted by animal agriculture and the actions of indoctrinated and wounded people, we are grateful for the opportunity that we have daily to learn more, grow, and contribute our unique gifts to bring healing to our world.

We can realize that, because we are all wounded by our culture’s herderism and pervasive materialistic assumptions, we can cultivate a sense of solidarity with other people and a sense of compassion and understanding for them, even though they may be acting in ways with which we disagree. We see that the perpetrators are also victims. Hurt people hurt others. We all need healing and healing comes from love. Disrespect cannot heal disrespect; only respect and love can heal. The most effective contribution I can make is the effort to heal my consciousness, so that I am ever more authentically living the truth of veganism, which is kindness and understanding for all beings, including other human beings and myself.

Effective Advocacy as Self Awareness and Self-Liberation

The movement to liberate animals is the movement to liberate ourselves. This is the liberation movement that goes to the essential root of all our many problems, injustices, and crises, which is herderism, the mentality of materialism. It requires us to question the old dualistic way we have engaged in social campaigns—that we are right and they are wrong—and to honor the deeper truth that we share similar wounds and in healing them in ourselves, we help others to heal them in themselves.

It seems that a vegan movement is developing that is based increasingly on this understanding. As we take responsibility for changing the one being we each can change, we create a new foundation for embodying vegan values of respect for all. As more of us question the official story of materialism and strive to embody deep veganism, we are creating an unstoppable movement that will positively transform our world. Undertaking the challenging inner work to more fully embody the presence of loving understanding, we will attract and motivate others to take the same journey.

What is this inner work? Essentially, it is the practice of cultivating mindfulness and inner listening. Just as we’ve been relentlessly programmed by our culture, we’re called to be relentless in our effort to free ourselves from this conditioning. A regular and unrelenting inner practice of meditative openness, and of questioning the inner stories, concepts, and ongoing internal dialogue can liberate consciousness to glimpse its true nature. Through cultivating receptive awareness and inner stillness, we can realize that our consciousness is essentially free, pure, and vast, like the clear and unencumbered sky. Through this, we can see more clearly the clouds of conditioned thought and habit as they appear, and that we are not these clouds; we are the space of awareness in which they arise and to which they return. We see that we are not things nor are others ever things. We can discover directly the deeper truth that we are all manifestations of eternal consciousness, and the blinding spell of materialism and herderism begins to dissolve. Our relationship with ourself, and with other expressions of life is transformed. The roots of speciesism, racism, and other delusions are recognized as the programming of herderism’s materialist delusion, and as they dissolve we naturally see with new eyes and new hearts.

Veganism is far more than working for the rights of other animals. It calls us to a complete social transformation through transforming our attitudes, assumptions, and relationships at the deepest level. It’s the adventure of a lifetime to awaken our awareness and ever more deeply live the truth of our interconnectedness with all life. We can transform ourselves, and this transforms our advocacy efforts so that, in Walt Whitman’s words, “I and mine do not convince by arguments. We convince by our presence.” It’s not so much what we say; it’s how we say it and how congruent we are in manifesting the message we are conveying.

As individuals and as a movement, as we increase our capacity to embody veganism as kindness and respect for other human animals, our movement will become itself the change we’d like to see in the world, dramatically increasing our effectiveness. We will plant seeds of positive change in others with every word, intonation, and gesture, and, awakened from the dualistic materialism of herderism, others will change without our trying to change them. The heart of the vegan movement is education, and authentic education is self-discovery that takes place in a context of trust and respect. As vegans, our main effort is to embody veganism, connect with our intuitive wisdom, and let that guide our actions and interactions. From this can flow a profusion of campaigns, films, restaurants, books, blogs, websites, products, sanctuaries, music, art, and grassroots educational efforts that all embody the vegan message. As we let go of being attached to the fruits of our actions, we free others and ourselves. Not trying to change others, but to respect and understand, we become the space of authentic change and instigate it by sharing our experience, example, and insights. Ironically, this is what helps create lasting and empowering change in others. It also frees us as advocates from burnout, anger, and despair.

As vegans, we are most effective in our advocacy as we recognize this and inspire others through respectfully sharing our stories and perspectives, and healing herderism’s materialism within our consciousness and within our way of communicating and relating. As love, joy, and gratitude increasingly inform our thoughts, words, and actions, we naturally plant seeds of veganism wherever we go. The vegan (r)evolution of kindness, inclusion, and healing calls us to take the ongoing inner steps to deepen our veganism. Through this effort, we will become the people who can co-create the fundamental social and personal transformation that our positive future is calling from us.

Dolphin by visionary artist Madeleine Tuttle

Dolphin by visionary artist Madeleine Tuttle

Buckminster Fuller emphasized that the way to a positive future is not through fighting against an abusive and inefficient system or situation. Rather, it is to build an alternative that reflects the harmony, freedom, and integrity that we envision, and that naturally renders the existing system obsolete. Veganism is not merely a critique of a violent and outmoded system; it is living an inner and outer alternative that is nutritious, delicious, sustainable, healing, liberating, and positively transformational on every level. Each of us can contribute to it with our unique abilities and insights, and help heal the foundation of our relationships with the Earth, with other animals, and with each other.

The vegan wave is building and is irresistible because it is our true nature calling. May our words and example instigate the benevolent revolution that liberates animals and all of us from the herding delusion of materialism, healing our hearts so that we discover our purpose and celebrate our lives as we are intended to on this bountiful and beautiful Earth.




 

Find the best of you
And you will be
Happier too.

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

 

(For information about Dr. Tuttle’s online training in effective vegan advocacy.)





TEDx University Of Stirling: THINK – Kerry McCarthy – Veganism

August 22, 2016
by



Source YouTube TEDx University of Stirling

Order a FREE vegan kit: http://www.peta.org/living/food/free-vegan-starter-kit/

Take PETA’s Cruelty-Free Shopping Guide along with you next time you head to the store! The handy guide will help you find humane products at a glance. Order a FREE copy HERE

Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click on the below for nominal, or no, fees to vegan literature that you can use to convince others that veganism is the only compassionate route to being an animal friend.

PETA: http://www.petacatalog.com/catalog/Literature-39-1.html

Looking for merchandise? Action for Animals has a very good selection : http://store.afa-online.org/home.php?cat=284

Have questions? Click HERE

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Vegan: Everyday Stories

August 15, 2016
by

Source YouTube: Northwest Veg

Vegan Everyday Stories: Trailer



Vegan: Everyday Stories



 

 

Take the next step at: http://VeganMovie.org/next-steps

Support this movie with a tax-deductible donation at: http://VeganMovie.org/donate

Vegan: Everyday Stories is a feature-length documentary that explores the lives of four remarkably different people who share a common thread – they’re all vegan. The movie traces the personal journeys of an ultramarathon runner who has overcome addiction to compete in one hundred mile races, a cattle rancher’s wife who creates the first cattle ranch turned farmed animal sanctuary in Texas, a food truck owner cooking up knee-buckling plant-based foods, and an 8-year-old girl who convinces her family of six to go vegan.

Read more…

VEGAN 2016 – The Film [PART 1]

August 8, 2016
by



Source YouTube Plant-Based News

Many thanks to Robbie Lockie for adapting the intro. You can find his other work here: http://www.peopleof.london/

Also to Eating You Alive, where I got several of the high quality clips from: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjT_…

Also to Vegan Geezer and London Vegan Actions for much of the protest footage:

https://www.youtube.com/user/VeganGeezer
https://www.youtube.com/user/veganact…

Also to everyone else, who made this video possible!

**************

PLANT BASED NEWS LINKS

Support my work on Patreon:

https://www.patreon.com/plantbasednews

• FACEBOOK: PLANT BASED NEWS https://www.facebook.com/plantbasednews

• YOUTUBE: PLANT BASED NEWS https://www.youtube.com/plantbasednews

• TWITTER: @plantbasednews https://twitter.com/plantbasednews

• INSTAGRAM: @plantbasednews https://instagram.com/plantbasednews

Order a FREE vegan kit: http://www.peta.org/living/food/free-vegan-starter-kit/

Take PETA’s Cruelty-Free Shopping Guide along with you next time you head to the store! The handy guide will help you find humane products at a glance. Order a FREE copy HERE

Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click on the below for nominal, or no, fees to vegan literature that you can use to convince others that veganism is the only compassionate route to being an animal friend.

PETA: http://www.petacatalog.com/catalog/Literature-39-1.html

Looking for merchandise? Action for Animals has a very good selection : http://store.afa-online.org/home.php?cat=284

Have questions? Click HERE

Read more…

Why doctors don’t recommend veganism: Dr Michael Greger

August 1, 2016
by


Source YouTube
By Dr. Michael Greger & Plant-Based News – Guy Cassidy

 

Published on Jun 7, 2016
Check out the extra bonus footage:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sann0…

Order a FREE vegan kit: http://www.peta.org/living/food/free-vegan-starter-kit/

Take PETA’s Cruelty-Free Shopping Guide along with you next time you head to the store! The handy guide will help you find humane products at a glance. Order a FREE copy HERE

Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click on the below for nominal, or no, fees to vegan literature that you can use to convince others that veganism is the only compassionate route to being an animal friend.

PETA: http://www.petacatalog.com/catalog/Literature-39-1.html

Looking for merchandise? Action for Animals has a very good selection : http://store.afa-online.org/home.php?cat=284

Have questions? Click HERE
Read more…

A Vegan’s Guide to Tackling Naysayers

July 25, 2016
by
Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

Source Ecorazzi
By Dr. Frances McCormack

One of the skills required of an advocate for veganism is adaptability. Since no two advocacy conversations will ever be the same, it’s almost impossible to predict the trajectory of any such discussion. Although there are some good templates and guidelines (Francione’s and Charlton’s example of engaging moral concern and following it up with rational argument, demonstrated in its fullest form in Eat Like You Care, for instance), the details of these kinds of encounters will be determined by so many factors both in and out of the advocate’s control. We advocate in different spheres, online and off, and to people with whom we have varying levels of familiarity; the only constant is our message and, depending on nuances of our delivery and the attitude of the listener, sometimes things go wrong.

Now, I’m not talking about catastrophic results; in several years of advocacy, I’ve only had one discussion about veganism that turned sour, and I wrote about it here; interestingly, that was not an advocacy encounter that we sought out, and it was one in which our interlocutors had already, it seemed, planned the conversation as an intellectual contest (“you win,” they conceded to my bewilderment; I hadn’t realised it was a competition). But while such results (unfriendings, defensiveness, etc.) are extremely rare in my experience, I will not pretend that they won’t happen. If people can get into heated discussions over sports teams and toothpaste-tube lids (or their absence), then they can, and will, get into heated discussions over moral issues.

If you advocate, you have to be prepared that things won’t always turn out the way you planned and, dispiriting as this may be, it should not deter you. Let’s take a look at some of the things that could go wrong, and how you might address them.

The Unreceptive Listener

The person to whom you’re talking may not care about animals. They’ll usually signal this to you quite early on, either explicitly (by stating that they don’t care about animals) or implicitly (by not demonstrating any kind of empathy towards animals). These discussions are not necessarily fruitless; the moral principles of veganism can still be clear to those who think logically and can identify with the ideas of justice and fairness that underpin veganism. In this case, framing your argument in terms of the avoidance of causing unnecessary suffering may be useful; I also recommend asking questions of your interlocutor to draw out more information about their own moral system in order to give you a foundation on which to build your responses. At other times, however, you may find you’re your interlocutor is either devoid of empathy towards animals or cannot be convinced that moral principles of fairness can apply to nonhumans. If you are advocating offline and you feel there’s little point in continuing the discussion, you’re probably right: you won’t always be able to turn someone who is morally indifferent about animals into someone who recognises their moral worth, and there are plenty of people who do care and to whom you may be better spending your time advocating. In this case, withdraw from the discussion politely, and leave your interlocutor with something to think about. If you’re advocating online, though, there may be a benefit in continuing the discussion for a short while at least (if your interlocutor is willing) as there may be people reading silently who will take on board what you say.

The Perpetual Fault-Finder

You’ll invariably meet someone (if you advocate frequently enough) who has nothing but objections to make to your rational argument about why animals are not ours to use. Answers to the most common of these objections are found in Eat Like You Care, but be prepared to play several rounds of “Defensive Omnivore Bingo”. Some of these objections arise from genuine concern, curiosity, or even misconceptions, so always give your interlocutor the benefit of your intellectual generosity and answer questions that you may have heard a thousand times before (“where do you get your protein?”or “won’t cows’ udders explode if they aren’t milked?”) with courtesy and a genuine will to help. You will, however, occasionally encounter some questions that are too frivolous to be sincere (“why did God make animals out of meat if he didn’t intend us to eat them?”*). Such questions are usually asked with a self-satisfied and smug grin, and although you may find yourself clenching your teeth and losing patience, calmly bring the topic back to the central moral points that you wanted to make. Again, it’s useful to continue fruitless discussions longer online than you would in person for the benefit of any silent readers. Try to avoid resorting to the same kind of mockery that you feel your interlocutor is using; humour is okay, but always err on the side of magnanimity with those to whom you are speaking.

The Offended

You will occasionally meet people who react in a very negative way to the vegan message. Some of these will be people who consider themselves animal lovers but who are trying to reinterpret that perception of themselves in light of this new information. Again, always err on the side of patience and kindness. There may come a time, however, when it becomes counterproductive to continue the discussion with that person at that particular point in time if the conversation turns circular or becomes too heated, but ending a discussion about veganism does not necessarily mean that you can’t resume again at a later date. Always try to end on a positive note, pointing out any areas of common ground. If, however, you are feeling in any way threatened during a conversation about veganism (or anything else!), do trust your instincts and withdraw as soon as you can; your safety is important.

Our Own Worst Adversaries

Sometimes things can go wrong in vegan advocacy because we just can’t let the topic go. I’ve seen advocates online who make their point clearly, who present the moral message unequivocally, but who then feel that they have to have the last word and who keep the conversation going to the detriment of their own time and energy levels. Always question your own intention in continuing a discussion that seems to be going nowhere, and remember the value of a planted seed. There are millions of people out there who care about animals and who are ripe for conversations about veganism; focussing on winning the argument detracts from the real purpose of advocacy, which is to attempt to persuade people to align their behaviour towards animals with moral principles that they already hold.

Most of your advocacy encounters will take the form of interesting and enjoyable conversations. These conversations are important because the more of us there are talking about veganism as a moral imperative, the more we chip away at the societal attitudes to animals that keep people exploiting. Think of the conversations that don’t go so well as a planted seed for the listener and as an opportunity to practise, reflect, and hone your skills, and you won’t go too far wrong.

—————————————————–

* The most bizarre objection to veganism ever heard by my partner when he once had such frivolous objections volleyed at him was “if humans weren’t supposed to eat meat, they wouldn’t have needed to invent [yes, invent!] fire to cook it.” I, on the other hand, once heard “in a vegan world we’d never have the chance to meet cows. If we didn’t meet cows, we’d never learn to care about them.”

Order a FREE vegan kit: http://www.peta.org/living/food/free-vegan-starter-kit/

Take PETA’s Cruelty-Free Shopping Guide along with you next time you head to the store! The handy guide will help you find humane products at a glance. Order a FREE copy HERE

Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click on the below for nominal, or no, fees to vegan literature that you can use to convince others that veganism is the only compassionate route to being an animal friend.

PETA: http://www.petacatalog.com/catalog/Literature-39-1.html

Looking for merchandise? Action for Animals has a very good selection : http://store.afa-online.org/home.php?cat=284

Have questions? Click HERE

Read more…

Which Will We Choose?

July 18, 2016
by
Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

Source Gentle World
By SUN, CO-FOUNDER OF GENTLE WORLD 

We human beings are a complex, multi-faceted species. The consciousness that motivates us is a dichotomy in which a battle rages between the violent, angry, unreasonable, selfish, jealous, greedy, cruel part of our nature and the gentle, compassionate, kind, reasonable, just, empathetic, generous part. Whichever part we choose to nurture is revealed, moment to moment, in our behavior, which molds our individual and collective character, and ultimately determines our destiny.

The state of the world in which we live indicates that so far, our collective violent nature is winning the human race. From a very early age, we are fed heaping portions of it. Our history is fraught with violence, our books are violent, our entertainment is violent, our sports are violent, our heroes are violent; even our gods are violent. But the most insidious influence is the violence we ingest in our food, in the form of the bodies and things that come from the bodies of other species. When we eat these foods, as we do throughout our lives, including our formative years, we consume all the violence that brought them to our plates along with the misery of its victims. By the time we become “adulterated,” we are contaminated on a cellular level, so that we accept and even expect it as the norm.

From the beginning of recorded history, we human beings have been killing, exploiting, abusing and in general, perpetrating one or another form of violence upon every species in our power, including our own. Violence is so much a part of our human history, that it feels safe to assume that this behavior is inherent in our species, and it may well be. We teach our children, by example, that anger, which is its trigger, is a natural, acceptable response to those who disagree with us. For our governments and even our religions, violence is the “go to” solution of choice for many problems, including that of violence itself. It is so ingrained in our culture and psyche that few of us take the phrase “peace on earth” any more seriously than we do “have a nice day.”

How can we oust such a powerful force from our very nature to become the gentle selves we know we can be? How can we even acknowledge, lest we be perceived as weak, that there is a part of us that cringes at even the thought of violence and is shocked and sickened at the sight of it? Is there any hope at all for a peaceful resolution of the opposing forces in our nature, which are driving us mad? If so, the answer must be the pillars of sanity we call reason and compassion.

Veganism is reason and compassion in action. It is a spiritual, yet practical giant step toward that end, available to all who are willing to take it. It is a force for justice and sanity that empowers our gentle nature to lead us out of the ocean of violence in which we are drowning, to the safety of its shores. By eliminating animal products not only from our diets, but from our lives, we actually lose our appetite for violent behavior, with each day that goes by. And miraculously, as we do, we evolve ourselves to a gentler species. Our minds are brighter. Our hearts are warmer. Our health is more vibrant. Our integrity increases. Our self-esteem soars. By simply living a gentler way, a new perception emerges, from which nothing ever looks the same again.

Count Leo Tolstoy said, “As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields,” and those we consider some of the greatest minds agree. Voltaire, Shaw, Emerson, Thoreau, Alcott, Franklin, da Vinci, Gandhi, The Buddha, Einstein, Schweitzer, Socrates, Plato, Plutarch, Cicero, Pythagoras and many others have written that in order for human beings to create real peace on earth, we must first stop feeding ourselves and our children products of violence. Isaac Bashevis Singer, the great Yiddish story teller, believed that our heartlessness and utter mercilessness toward our fellow earthlings for our own gratification is reason enough for the pandemic guilt, depression, anxiety, disease, and never-ending wars that plague our species.

Whichever part of us wins this age old struggle between our violent and gentle natures will determine the destiny of the human race.

Which will we choose?

Order a FREE vegan kit: http://www.peta.org/living/food/free-vegan-starter-kit/

Take PETA’s Cruelty-Free Shopping Guide along with you next time you head to the store! The handy guide will help you find humane products at a glance. Order a FREE copy HERE

Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click on the below for nominal, or no, fees to vegan literature that you can use to convince others that veganism is the only compassionate route to being an animal friend.

PETA: http://www.petacatalog.com/catalog/Literature-39-1.html

Looking for merchandise? Action for Animals has a very good selection : http://store.afa-online.org/home.php?cat=284

Have questions? Click HERE
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