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I've been vegetarian for 6 years, and vegan for 5 years. But, I'm new to this forum, and I feel like I still have all of the same conflicts/questions as I did at the very beginning. I still feel like a newbie, like I'm just barely getting by, even though the diet itself is extremely easy to maintain. I'm writing this just as someone who's exploring a lot of alternatives and questions, and trying to be open-minded and honest even if I risk losing my "vegan purity". I feel like this is probably the subforum where people are most likely to be accepting and encouraging of intellectual diversity. I hope you'll treat me as you would a newbie, because that's what I am.

My issue is that I feel like there are several parts of me that are in constant conflict:

1. The Vegan - "I have very strong beliefs/opinions. Some actions are definitely wrong, and should never be allowed, and should be stopped by force if necessary. It's fair to say that things should be a certain way. Factory farming is heinously wrong. It's essentially just torturing animals. It's barbaric--no living being should have to suffer like that. But, for that kind of cruelty to occur on the scale of billions of animals is absolutely evil. Ditto for other issues like poverty and human rights. It feels completely unacceptable to me to passively allow something like that to happen, to not speak against it in some way. If a person was a serial killer, wouldn't you do whatever you could to stop them, because they're causing egregious harm? Likewise, people are responsible for the torture and death of the animals that they eat; they're accomplices in mass torture and mass murder. It's morally equivalent isn't it, in terms of the harm being done? Isn't it fair to be very upset, panicked, angry, and have a sense of urgency about something this serious/tragic? Isn't it right to want to wake other people up, even if it means tearing apart their cherished delusions and pushing them from behind?"

2a. The Buddhist - "All people are pretty similar. They want similar things--to be happy, to be free to pursue their deepest wishes, to feel accepted, to not feel lonely/estranged, and to feel like they have a sense of purpose or meaning guiding the course of their lives. I accept that some people have strongly held moral views, but systems like this tend to be divisive. They create an us vs. them mentality--vegans vs. non-vegans, activists vs. industries, etc. But, even the most seemingly 'evil' actions are just expressions of the desire to be happy and protect oneself from harm. Vegans, animal rights activists, slaughterhouse employees, poultry industry leaders, apathetic bystanders...everybody has the same human needs, and uses similar defense mechanisms to try to block out things that aren't consonant with their worldview. It's just very tragic that everybody's fighting, when we're all so similar. I feel like it's my mission to find goodness in every person, to accept all aspects of reality, and to not block out alternative perspectives just because they're unpleasant. I have to face the existence of the inner reality of the non-vegan, and I have to love that person as well, because they have value, needs, and they're not essentially different from me. I don't want to be disconnected from others--I don't want to think other people are evil. Everybody's trying their best. It's also just very lonely and isolating to feel judgmental toward the majority of the population."

2b. The Humanist - "Every person has a different subjective perspective. Fulfilling our potential as human beings depends on people being able to get in touch with their real selves. We have to distance ourselves from outside influences and do what's truly right for us. Nobody else can decide for us what's right. We have to listen to our own voice. All forms of coercion that separate a person from their true self are spiritually destructive, and that is at the root of all individual and social maladies--loss of contact with our genuine inner reality. People are unique, and nobody has the right to impose their worldview onto another person. Everybody is entitled to their own truth. This is the only attitude that can really respect and unconditionally accept each person's individuality and personal creative potential, and create a world in which people are able to thrive spiritually."

I was just wondering if anybody else has similar types of internal conflicts. I feel like the vegan worldview cares about suffering, and it cares about protecting creatures from harm. These three perspectives could all be said to embody love or compassion in some way. But, aside from that, they're about as far apart as Deepak Chopra and Malcolm X. But, I feel like it's difficult to defend this perspective without losing other human qualities that, in the final analysis, feel more fundamentally important to me.

Is there a way to be vegan without constantly being at war with other people who hold opposing perspectives/feelings, and yet still express how things are and make a significant impact upon a very serious problem? How do other people manage this spiritually/psychologically/philosophically/emotionally? How do you spread information/awareness that's important to you and matters to you, and yet still respect other people's freedom to reject or dismiss that information? How do you make a difference while still getting along with others?

Thanks in advance for anything. <3
 

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Although Im still a new vegan, Ill throw my two cents in because Im generally okay with non-vegans.

Personally, I dont see veganism as a moral imperative but rather a moral ideology (Whether thats the right way to see it, I dont know). Most people, Ive found, share similar ideals, but find change difficult or futile, just as I once thought. While Im far from an activist, I can see how my actions has positively affected* those around me. When given clear vegan options, 9 times out of 10, my friends and family choose those. I cant believe the most the world is much different, so I dont myself as fighting evil-doers as much as helping people live closer to their own ideals.

*Im embarrassed to admit how much time I took trying to determine whether I meant effect or affect here. Im still not sure.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by plusgood View Post

Although Im still a new vegan, Ill throw my two cents in because Im generally okay with non-vegans.

Personally, I dont see veganism as a moral imperative but rather a moral ideology (Whether thats the right way to see it, I dont know). Most people, Ive found, share similar ideals, but find change difficult or futile, just as I once thought. While Im far from an activist, I can see how my actions has positively affected* those around me. When given clear vegan options, 9 times out of 10, my friends and family choose those. I cant believe the most the world is much different, so I dont myself as fighting evil-doers as much as helping people live closer to their own ideals.

*Im embarrassed to admit how much time I took trying to determine whether I meant effect or affect here. Im still not sure.
I like how you think! Yes, "affected" is correct - it's something you do, and effect is something that just happens. Like that
Just be careful with "then" and "than"


Akros, I've only been vegan about 2 years, but I spent most my life trying. I'd get so obsessed with the kinds of thinking you ask about, it would lead me to give up, or feel, and act, crazy. Since I've taken a more pragmatic approach, and learned to respect the differences of others, I also feel I've done more good. Being vegan now feels really good, and importantly, normal.
Welcome!
 

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'Lo Akros


There is a fairly comprehensive explanation of how buddhists can view meat eaters with loving compassion in the book 'Heart of the Buddhas Teachings' by Thich Nat Hanh.
 

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Originally Posted by silva View Post

I like how you think! Yes, "affected" is correct - it's something you do, and effect is something that just happens. Like that
Just be careful with "then" and "than"
Thanks, silva. Phew. That's a good, concise explanation.
 

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I am pretty much in the same exact spot you are. In fact, I've been wondering about these things everyday since becoming vegan 2 months ago.

What I've decided thus far is that while I have a lot of compassion and love for animals, I must also have love and compassion for my fellow human beings, who are at different points in their lives, spiritual development, or conscientiousness and who are not evil people at their core. In fact, I must also recognize that these individuals are no different than I was a year ago when I was misguidedly eating meat and thinking myself as doing nothing wrong. How can I be so hard towards them when I, myself, were them for 25 years? How can I be too critical that I forget that what I realized may not have just 'clicked' for them yet?

But at the same time, it is difficult for me to not want to save the lives of every creature oppressed and murdered. It's painful for me to realize that if it were human beings, caged and ready for slaughter at the butcher shop around the corner, I'd have no hesitation in breaking in a night and setting them free but since they are not, I do not. It makes me feel dirty and hypocritical. I also feel just as dirty and hypocritical when I don't lecture each person that eat meat in front of me or list the reasons how wrong eating meat is at every chance I get.

I suppose the latter impulses are only tempered by the fact that no one had converted me to veg*nism and especially not by getting in my face and presenting my sins before me. In fact, the veg*ns who did get into my face only served to make me more resolved against veg*nism. Rather, I came to it through introspection, logic, and soul-searching. I feel that I am serving both impulses by being the example I want to be and would want others to follow. I would hope my actions serve better my cause (and the compassionate treatment of animals) than any amount of proselytizing I could do.
 

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Originally Posted by silva View Post

I like how you think! Yes, "affected" is correct - it's something you do, and effect is something that just happens. Like that
Just be careful with "then" and "than"
Nah. Effect can also be a verb: Good weather effects movie sales.
Effect, as a verb, indicates causation relative to the object. In this example, the weather seems to cause movie sales.

On the other hand, affect implies a change or influence on the object while not being directly causative: Good weather affects movie sales. In other words, the weather causes a change or influences movie sales but does not directly cause movie sales.
 

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I'm in the same predicament myself. I want to "teach through kindness" and set an example about being a happy veg*n, but it's really really hard to contain my rage and remain peacful when I present the facts/ photos/ vidoes to someone only to have have them willingly turn a blind eye. This is probably strengthend by the fact that I made the switch the INSTANT I learned the truth, one video from PETA is all it took - And I feel that's all it should ever take - but not everyone agrees..

I have a feeling this will be something I'll be struggling with for the rest of my life.
 

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Peace and love are over rated hippie concepts. I want to effect pragmatic change in this world, and sometimes anger is necessary. Anger is a positive tool if it can be translated into nonviolent actions.
 

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Originally Posted by Josh James xVx View Post

I want to effect pragmatic change in this world, and sometimes anger is necessary. Anger is a positive tool if it can be translated into nonviolent actions.
Aye, love has no fear of anger.

Using a simple parental analogy; If our kiddies do something that will/does seriously harm them we do, out of love for our kiddies, feel anger arising.

Seems reasonable to me that if we love humanity and we see humanity doing something that will/does harm it then we would, out of love for humanity, feel anger arise too.

That doesn't make love an overated Hippie concept though.
 

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Originally Posted by JoBravo View Post

Nah. Effect can also be a verb: Good weather effects movie sales.
Effect, as a verb, indicates causation relative to the object. In this example, the weather seems to cause movie sales.

On the other hand, affect implies a change or influence on the object while not being directly causative: Good weather affects movie sales. In other words, the weather causes a change or influences movie sales but does not directly cause movie sales.
Thank you! I feel words more than grammar, and it bugs me!
 

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Originally Posted by Clueless Git View Post

Have you ever read "The Tao of Pooh" Venomous?
I have that! I should be more Pooh like.
 

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I had the struggle badly in the beginning and throughout most of college and it faded eventually. I feel it from time to time but I have had more sucess with love, kindness and good examples so I just work through the feeling now (venting with my hubby or other veg, coming online, even a good workout) and stick to being a positive example.
 
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