Lifestyles can be, and are often unconscious, indifferent, unexamined, superficial, unjust, self-centered, flippant and transient, whereas ethics are conscious, empathetic, examined, intentional, just, self-less, principled and permanent. If people are driven and inspired by being a good samaritan, ethics (and morality) are integral parts of their “lifestyle”. Many vegans strive to integrate all of the latter standards in their imperfect attempts to inconveniently attain ethical consistency in spite of the foundational, convenient, abundant world of non-vegan options.
95% of people want to think of themselves as good samaritans who would do the right thing, claim to care about animals and believe animals should not be harmed unnecessarily, yet 95% of people continue to go along with the cultural inertia they have inherited, and harm animals unnecessarily, so they can consume animals and products made from them. This is primarily because the foundational violence and injustice of that behavior has been deceptively cloaked, packaged and marketed as “happy, quality, delicious, and luxury” products appealing to human ego with an irrational pretense that other animals are lesser beings who are ours (a God given right) to use as property, anyway we choose. Some irrational, fear-based, wall has been constructed and a club of violence is so often wielded with delusional justification of “that is their purpose”. Somehow, the illogical and absurd deduction that the tapestry of society’s social foundations are in jeopardy of unraveling if we actually care about animals enough to extend them equal respect in the ethical and moral community, exists in western society. The great irony is that unless we do an immediate about-face in our behaviors towards our fellow earthlings, we absolutely will see the collapse of society as we know it. Frankly, our disrespectful and destructive cultural perspective towards other earthlings is not universal and evidence of true respect, dignity and humane characteristics has existed for over 6000 years in other cultures.
The Jains and the Buddhists of the East have an ethical principle of “ahimsa” which can be summed up in a single, yet deeply profound sentence found in an excerpt from page 23 of the book “Letter to a Christian Nation” by Sam Harris; “Do not injure, abuse, oppress, enslave, insult, torment, torture, or kill any creature or living being” which is credited to the Jain patriarch Mahavira. No religion that is founded on the ethics and morality of peace, love, compassion and empathy demands the unnecessary killing and consumption animals. As a western nation, people have never been offered an honest view of respecting animals, they have been deceived with a co-oped marketing perversion of the term “humane” and they have never been conventionally offered an equally enticing, peaceful, plant-based option.
“Supply and Demand” is a generally accepted capitalist market principle, however “Marketing” is the method of creating demand where there has never been demand for certain types of products before; “demand” has been a contrived concept. “No option” for vegan products is not an option for vegans and those who would be vegan if options were actually available, affordable and accessible everywhere. Demand can be created through marketing just as Steve Jobs was quoted in the film “Jobs” for saying “How do people even know what they want if it doesn’t exist yet?” Our society has had animal products and exploitation shoved down our throats everywhere, every day, so much so it is an invisible indoctrination we have never even considered there was another way when it has never been presented as a possibility. Up until very recently, the vegan option has been to develop the discipline of a martyr and either abstain from participating in the abundant convenience and joys of our culture, or be inconvenienced to prepare and provide for all our own needs in every sitauation. The fact is companies create demand for products that didn’t exist through marketing everyday.
Savvy vegans will become entrepreneurs to create demand with marketing the products of the future that are consistent with our “good samaritan” values and beliefs. Savvy businesses are already aware of “cause marketing” because they are appealing to our collective desire to consider ourselves good. Our greatest innovators, ethicists, futurists, and visionary influencers such as Plato, Socrates, Hippocrates, Leonardo DiVinci, Gene Rodenberry, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, James Cameron knew/know that the future of humanity, especially now at population 7 billion and growing is, to cease exploiting our fellow earthlings as our survival literally depends on eco-centric efficiency and living within our means. People who resonate with the oath for peace, liberty and justice for all, and believe that love, compassion, dignity, empathy, respect are aspirational values, are already vegan at heart. Let us show people (humans and now, corporations) that they have permission to follow those deeply held values in the marketplace. Savvy investors will shift their funding towards vegan ventures. Savvy policy makers will examine and enact socially just laws. Savvy religious leaders will embrace moral consistency in peace, love, compassion and nonviolence towards all of God’s creation. The beautiful thing is that a vegan ethic transcends and is evidenced by deciples of all religions with vegans amidst their fellowship.
The fact is, animals are fully conscious, sentient individuals with a will of their own. They do not agree or sign up for a contract or exist to serve and be dominated and destroyed by humans. We have peaceful, alternative, affordable, environmenally sustainable options and when they have equal and often better nutritional, taste, style, or entertainment value, why wouldn’t we use them? The clinical community has made clear that plant-based foods are optimal for thriving human health and animal products are unnecessarily arcane. The ecological collapse that is primarily driven by animal agriculture (63 billion animals a year, trillions of aquatic species) supporting 7 billion people equates to an estimated 200 species going extinct daily. No one is entitled to have other people wear chainmail, wield knives and stand up to their face in blood all day or kill their conscience and kill their humanity, to kill innocent individuals on the weaker end of a power situation fighting and screaming for their lives, for them, especially at the expense of anthropogenic global ecocide. Vegans are not going to allow people to ignore the screams or allow the violence to remain sequestered from our collective consciousness. The beautiful thing is people are deciding they no longer resonate with a foundation of violence towards the innocent and are connecting to vegan communities every day.
Thank you to all of you in the world who are striving to empower a rapid world Vegan Shift.
“If not you, who? If not now, when?”