Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Consequences, not Dogma

I've long believed people can accomplish more by being practical and consequentialist in their attitudes and decisions, rather than being dogmatic.

For this reason, I love this post by my good friend Ari Nessel, who has had an amazing impact on the world -- far beyond almost everyone else I know. He doesn't let anyone else's opinion or judgment (or concerns about popularity) get in the way of his singular pursuit of the bottom line: a better world for all.

Veganism is, in my thinking, more aspiration then a position. As humans we cause harm just by being alive. However, we can always try to cause less and less harm by being more mindful of how our choices impact other sentient beings and then aligning our actions. I don't fit cleanly in the vegan box. When my family eats pizza (they are vegetarian not vegan), I will eat their left overs rather than let is be thrown away (which would benefit no animals). Our family has adopted a number of chickens that were rescued from a factory farm. I will eat baked goods that are made using their eggs. I eat oysters (and have recently tried mussels) after doing some research and coming to the conclusion that their capacity to feel pain is likely not so different from some of the more advanced plants, and that their farming has few negative impacts on our oceans. 

Am I vegan by its formal definition? Definitely not. However, am I living a life that is in alignment with the intentions of veganism? I believe so. I share this because I want people to know that they can live the aspiration of veganism and be "imperfect". More precisely, they can embody this practice of kind consideration for all life in a way that is entirely unique to them, and in ways that allow space for them to deepen (e.g. also eating organic, reducing processes foods, removing palm oil...).

If you are a fellow animal rights advocate and find these comments hurtful, please forgive me for any angst or disappointment I may have caused you. However, I honestly believe that seeing ahimsa, or a life of non-harming, in shades of grey rather then in black in white will encourage more people to join this courageous and compassionate movement of animal rights. 

No comments: