refusing to dominate animals, we make the essential connections and open inner
doorways to understanding and deconstructing the abuse of privilege in our own
lives. Justice, equality, veganism, freedom, spiritual evolution, and universal
compassion are inextricably connected.
Photo by: Kevin Law
wealthy elite exerts its privilege and authority through all our social
institutions, using food as a method of maintaining control. By controlling
food and disseminating junk food and food sourced from animals, those with the
most privilege can confuse and sicken our entire population, especially those who
are most vulnerable and uninformed. There are well-documented connections, for
example, between the deterioration of our food supply and certain newly
invented pathologies like attention deficit disorder.
photo by: Kevin Law
The message ritually injected into us by our culturally mandated meals is, at a fundamental level, the message of privilege. As humans, we see ourselves as superior to animals, whom we view as objects to be enslaved and killed for our use and pleasure, and with this herder mentality of our special and privileged position over animals, we inevitably create other categories of privilege.
As our culture adopts veganism, the change in our consciousness will usher in the first revolution since the herding revolution began with the domestication of sheep and goats 10,000 years ago. That revolution propelled us out of the garden into an existential sense of separateness, promoting competition and the cultivation of disconnected reductionism and materialistic technology. The evolutionary thrust is obviously now in a completely different direction, toward integration, cooperation, compassion, inclusiveness, and discovering our basic unity with all life.
Freeing animals, we humans will be able to rejoin the celebration and contribute to it with our love and creativity. Competition and exploitation of other people can melt away as we regain our natural sensitivity. Our earth will naturally heal when we stop killing fish and sea life and polluting and wasting water in such unsustainable ways. Forests and wildlife will return because we‚Äôll need far less farmland to feed everyone a plant-based diet, and the whole earth will be relieved of the unbearable pressure exerted by omnivorous humans. We will be released from the paralysis that prevents us from creatively addressing the looming depletion of fossil fuels and the other challenges we face.
There is the macrobiotic perspective that animal foods are extremely yang in their energetic impact on the body, contracting the energy field, and that the body will then naturally and inevitably crave foods and substances that are extremely yin and expansive. These extreme yin foods are alcohol, white sugar, drugs of most every kind, tobacco, and caffeine. Grains, legumes, and vegetables tend to be neither excessively yin nor yang, but are more balanced, and so create few cravings. Eating extreme foods forces the body to gyrate continuously between the two poles, alternatively craving contracting foods like meat, cheese, eggs, and salt, and then expansive substances like sweets, coffee, alcohol, drugs, and tobacco, ad nauseam.
When we look with a relaxed eye at nature, we see an absolutely irrepressible celebration of living beauty. Animals in nature are both celebratory and inscrutable. They play, sing, run, soar, leap, call, dance, swim, hang out together, and relate in endlessly mysterious ways.
If we decrease our practice of exploiting animals for food, we will find our levels of disease, mental illness, conflict, and environmental and social devastation likewise decreasing. Rather than ravaging the earth‚Äôs body and decimating and incarcerating her creatures, we can join with the earth and be a force for creating beauty and spreading love, compassion, joy, peace, and celebration.
By including animals within the circle of relevant beings that we harm with our actions, we can get to the root of the destructive addictions that plague people in our culture. This is not to imply that all patterns of addictive behavior will necessarily disappear with the adoption of a vegan orientation to living, but it is a powerful start; inner weeding, mindfulness, and cultivating inner silence, patience, generosity, and gratitude are also essential dimensions of spiritual health.
One particularly glaring inconsistency that should be further investigated is the underlying assumption of vivisection, that we can become healthier by destroying the health of other living beings. Our welfare is tied to the welfare of all beings; we cannot reap health in ourselves by sowing seeds of disease and death in others.