Reconfirming My Stance. - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 03-26-2007, 05:06 PM
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I was honestly unsure of which portion of the boards to post this, but I felt it was a topic to bring up none-the-less. (Mods, feel free to move this if it is deemed in the wrong spot.)



Basically, I wanted to start a thread about the daily struggle - if any - some of us face to be a Vegan. Mostly, I would like to focus on the emotional struggle, because lately I have been having varied thoughts. Basic confusion has decided to harbor itself within me, and I just don't know what to do. Words of support, similar stories, and anything else is welcome on this forum.



I just read the online journal of one of our fellow Veggies. I read the most recent post, which had to do with the extremes that some of us go to. To sum up the post, this Veg was sick of titles. She was sick of calling herself a Vegan due to the stereotypes and hypocrisy that we face. One of the issues she brought up was honey, and how she believes that it is absolutely absurd to avoid honey. While I did not agree with this woman on everything, I did agree with her upon some, and it truly made me question why I remained Vegan to this day.



Struggling with beliefs is not an easy thing. As a once Christian God-fearing being, I have grown into an Atheist Vegan with quite different views ranging from everything on War and Politics to Food and Consumption. I have survived the tough times, however - but Veganism continues to wage a war inside my head.



Two years ago, it was the mere shock of the Meet Your Meat video that caused me to go Vegan. This video sent me into a wild fit of anger at meat-eaters. I even became angry at myself, and to this day I have been able to use that very video to inspire me when Veganism gets hard - but its shock factor is dulling. In a way, I am beginning to simply accept that horrible things happen in this world. I can not stop murder. I can not stop starvation. I cannot stop animal suffering. In affect, the question comes to my mind: Why even attempt? The question usually only lasts a few hours. (Today it lasted about five minutes.)



I became Vegan for a reason: I do not see meat as a correct form of food. I do not see murdering animals as right. However, when the murdering continues despite my boycott of it, where's the motivation? Sure - I may believe that meat is terrible and a mere form of murder - but not many others do, and the murdering just continues.



Anyway, this womans blog basically stated that she would eat whatever that she wanted. In a way, it seemed to me like she was Vegan more for health reasons, and riding it off as a 'eat-whatever-I-want' thing helped avoid lengthy conversations with others about her Vegan habits. For a few moments, I thought about doing this myself, for she actually had a compelling post on the issue.



..... Then I came to VeggieBoards and I read a post about a man that works at a Chicken-processing plant and still eats Chicken for food. When asked how he can do this, the man gave a response along the lines of, "They are stupid anyway. They don't matter." This reconfirmed why I am Vegan.



I am Vegan because my boycott of meat - no matter how small - helps better a process that I view wrong. I am Vegan because while I hate bugs in general, I do not see their food as mine. I am Vegan because animal byproducts do count as a part of an animal. Most of all: I am Vegan because it is what I feel right doing.



This woman had a good point in saying that labels are dumb. In the past, I have wanted to stick my chest out and make myself seem better than everyone as a Vegan. However, this is not a cause of Veganism. This was a cause of stupidity and common misconception.



Labels may be stupid, but it sure does make me proud to be a Vegan. I may not parade around yelling to everyone that I see that I am Vegan, but it is nice to be able to use one word to describe so much. The bottom line is that I may have my doubts, but I know where I draw my lines. Unless I could physically go out and kill an animal myself for food, I will not eat it, and as it stands today I am unable to harm Chickens, Cows, Pigs, and any other animal that you can think up.



Whenever I become confused, I shall now simply ask myself: Can you go out and kill that chicken? Until the day comes when yes is the answer, I will remain Vegan.
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#2 Old 03-26-2007, 06:35 PM
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it's awesome(for a lack of a better word) that you're able to rise above anything you're going through. first of all, it's hard enough for some to push their own views and agendas aside to see the reality of pain but when compassion manifests itself in such a way that it leads someone to be vegan, it's a good feeling on the conscience. maybe not the emotional being with the common misconceptions and daily obstacles. admittedly, it's not easy NOT to feel like you're going to give up, and nine times out of ten i do feel like that. i do feel like i'm a pain in the neck having to have foods prepared specially for me. however, i think that what it comes down to is the love, however small it is in comparison, for animals and being vegan helps you to overcome, so please remember that, if you ever forget. it's helped me through. also, you're not any more annoying or picky than the other people in this world. everyone has something they are very specific and passionate about, some just choose not to listen to that.
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#3 Old 03-27-2007, 09:38 AM
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Veganism goes much further than just what we put on our plate and in our stomachs.



It is a way of life. If one is just concentrating on the "food" aspect, one is missing out on the whole picture and then I can imagine it must be "hard" sometimes.



Veganism is about the whole planet. Human animals, non human animals as well as ecology.



When you are a vegan you're touching on ALL aspects of life. You no longer believe that the world belongs to you... but that you belong to the world.



It's easy then. It's more than easy. It just becomes so natural that one doesn't even think about it anymore.



It is also, for animal rights activists, a political struggle which also makes this way of life easy to follow. It is a struggle for animal equality - whether it be two legged animals or four legged animals.



When you no longer view animals as PROPERTY, then you just CAN'T partake voluntarily in their exploitation, no more than you can partake in slavery if you do not view humans as property.
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#4 Old 03-27-2007, 03:26 PM
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Excellent post - Thank you for sharing your struggle here.



Quote:
I became Vegan for a reason: I do not see meat as a correct form of food. I do not see murdering animals as right. However, when the murdering continues despite my boycott of it, where's the motivation? Sure - I may believe that meat is terrible and a mere form of murder - but not many others do, and the murdering just continues.



Quote:
Whenever I become confused, I shall now simply ask myself: Can you go out and kill that chicken? Until the day comes when yes is the answer, I will remain Vegan.



It occurred to me, reading these reflections, that your strength and your frustration come from different places.



On the one hand, you see veganism as social action; you are boycotting the meat industry in hopes of changing society, and you don't see the change happening, or at least not happening soon enough.



On the other hand, you see veganism as an expression of your personal identity - recognizing that you cannot kill animals (or participate in that indirectly) and retain your personal moral integrity.



These two ideas do work together, but they are different, and I think sometimes that causes vegans problems. Is a vegan diet an effective form of social action? The answer, I think, is a bit ambiguous. Sure, not buying meat, eggs, and dairy will have an effect, if enough people do it. Avoiding trace ingredients, probably less so - the message is lost in the noise of the scores of other reasons people choose between competing brands of processed foods.



I think sometimes vegans expect their purchasing choices to work like the Montgomery bus boycott. But the truth is, vegans just don't have that leverage (or exposure) yet. Other activities (public speaking, letter writing, demonstrations, lobbying) probably have much more impact per effort expended than what happens in the grocery store.



The personal choice, though, which you articulated so nicely at the end of your post, doesn't need external validation. You are following your moral compass, and you can do that whether or not there is rapid social change regarding animal issues.



The connections between personal conviction and societal change are complex and subtle. On a gut level, I feel there is a "hundredth monkey" effect going on; as people change inside, eventually there is a critical mass and society as a whole shifts its norms. But that doesn't happen on any kind of predictable timescale, nor is the cause-and-effect of it really very obvious until later.



You know what your heart is telling you; that is all you need to know to continue. If the lack of social change frustrates you, then you might choose to channel energy into more direct forms of social action.



But either way, the world does not need to change in order to make your choices valid and legitimate, and true to your own nature and values.
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#5 Old 03-27-2007, 03:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seusomon View Post

Excellent post - Thank you for sharing your struggle here.











It occurred to me, reading these reflections, that your strength and your frustration come from different places.



On the one hand, you see veganism as social action; you are boycotting the meat industry in hopes of changing society, and you don't see the change happening, or at least not happening soon enough.



On the other hand, you see veganism as an expression of your personal identity - recognizing that you cannot kill animals (or participate in that indirectly) and retain your personal moral integrity.



These two ideas do work together, but they are different, and I think sometimes that causes vegans problems. Is a vegan diet an effective form of social action? The answer, I think, is a bit ambiguous. Sure, not buying meat, eggs, and dairy will have an effect, if enough people do it. Avoiding trace ingredients, probably less so - the message is lost in the noise of the scores of other reasons people choose between competing brands of processed foods.



I think sometimes vegans expect their purchasing choices to work like the Montgomery bus boycott. But the truth is, vegans just don't have that leverage (or exposure) yet. Other activities (public speaking, letter writing, demonstrations, lobbying) probably have much more impact per effort expended than what happens in the grocery store.



The personal choice, though, which you articulated so nicely at the end of your post, doesn't need external validation. You are following your moral compass, and you can do that whether or not there is rapid social change regarding animal issues.



The connections between personal conviction and societal change are complex and subtle. On a gut level, I feel there is a "hundredth monkey" effect going on; as people change inside, eventually there is a critical mass and society as a whole shifts its norms. But that doesn't happen on any kind of predictable timescale, nor is the cause-and-effect of it really very obvious until later.



You know what your heart is telling you; that is all you need to know to continue. If the lack of social change frustrates you, then you might choose to channel energy into more direct forms of social action.



But either way, the world does not need to change in order to make your choices valid and legitimate, and true to your own nature and values.



Thanks, man! I never thought that deep into things. You are a wise man.
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#6 Old 03-28-2007, 04:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aussyj View Post

Struggling with beliefs is not an easy thing [] I have survived the tough times, however - but Veganism continues to wage a war inside my head. []

I am Vegan because my boycott of meat - no matter how small - helps better a process that I view wrong [] I am Vegan because it is what I feel right doing.

[] I may not parade around yelling to everyone that I see that I am Vegan, but it is nice to be able to use one word to describe so much. The bottom line is that I may have my doubts, but I know where I draw my lines. Unless I could physically go out and kill an animal myself for food, I will not eat it, and as it stands today I am unable to harm Chickens, Cows, Pigs, and any other animal that you can think up.

Whenever I become confused, I shall now simply ask myself: Can you go out and kill that chicken? Until the day comes when yes is the answer, I will remain Vegan.



Great post. This and Seusomons response also made me think of this article I found some time ago on how to hang in there for the long haul by Don Irish.

Its meant as advice for young people involved in peace/social activism in general, not veg*nism in particular. The author makes some very interesting points though that can easily be applied to veg*nism/AR (which also can be seen as one form of peace activism, I think).

Excerpts:

1.\tRecognize that those who plant trees may not live to enjoy the fruit. Others have preceded us; we can likewise serve those yet to come. Always take the long look, not expecting quick results.

2.\tEverybody/everything is connected to everybody/everything. A holistic approach to life is more effective, comprehensible, and satisfying.

3.\tYou can't do everything - but you always can do something. To focus on effectiveness may often result in ineffectiveness. Do what you can, where you are, with what energies and talents you have, given other significant obligations.

4.\tRemember that the world does not depend upon you alone for needed changes. That's a burden lifted from your shoulders! Avoid burn-out: find respites from continual, unceasing pressures. Life is to be lived!

Full article:

http://www.kidsmeetingkids.org/facts_9.htm



Refering to

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aussyj View Post

Struggling with beliefs is not an easy thing. [] I have survived the tough times, however - but Veganism continues to wage a war inside my head.

Struggling with ones beliefs is legitimate and necessary. Im aware that some people esp. deeply religious people will not agree, so this of course is just my personal view:

First of all, as you described so well, of course it already took a struggle to get where you stand, and to (re-)confirm that stance. But it might never really stop, and Im not so sure if it would be that good to ever reach a point of no more struggling [e. g., with your beliefs, decisions] at all.

As long as youre feeling, experiencing, learning, etc., it is very likely that new and other obstacles and doubts will occur, with regard to your ethical beliefs and beyond, which will lead to reasoning, pain, etc. Which in a way is very good though, since this interaction keeps you fighting, and alive!

Whereas if you actually reached a point at which you would be too satisfied, for example with how everything turned out, or how you had succeeded (in doing something or living your beliefs), what else could come after / grow from that? Nothing much, I would expect.

Im not saying that you should no longer strive to stand firmly by your beliefs in the first place. Or that you should not be happy with where you stand or what you are doing.

Just suggesting to recognize a crisis when it occurs, not to push it away as something that must not have occured. Do not let it pull you down or totally change your mind on a subject or situation though if you can. Instead, try to view it as an opportunity, in spite of, or maybe even because of, the sometimes not so easy struggle it involves.

Hope this is not too contradictory. Guess I sound like some self-help paperback (maybe this debate really is crossing the boundaries of my foreign language skills )

I do not completely agree with Dianas statement that once You no longer believe that the world belongs to you... but that you belong to the world (which in itself I would sign) veganism becomes more than easy, or that animal rights activism being a political struggle makes the vegan way of life easy to follow.

I dont think life in general can be expected to be easy, and I no longer think it would be too great if it actually were "more than easy".

I see it as an ongoing challenge, and one that is definitely worth fighting for.
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