The Grain of Truth
There are many arguments for veganism that have been popping up lately. They mostly center on health and kindness, and are usually rife with passion and occasional bluntness. Of course, most people aren’t too crazy with militancy, which is understandable – after all, nobody likes to be told what to do. I should know, I’m one of them.
Perhaps I should talk about my backstory and decision to follow the philosophy of non-violence. I was born into a vegetarian family, which is quite fortunate. For a few decades I simply followed the same diet as my family, but it’s important to note that “diet” is the key word here. No, we did not eat meat, but we wore leather and had dairy. No, we did not buy or cook eggs, but we had desserts and bread from restaurants and supermarkets. The realization wasn’t there. After running into vegan groups on Facebook (social media can occasionally contain gems within mounds of dark, burnt coal) I changed. Tossed out the leather, cut out the dairy and honey, and am continuing to go as animal-free as possible. Maybe it’s not possible to go 100%, but it’s important to shoot for 100% so that you can reach that 99.9% animal-free zone.
While I can agree with anyone who says that it was easier for me since I came from a mostly animal-product-free household, I think the nature of the arguments of the more frequent page contributors helped. Not militant, but full of educational value, understanding, and most importantly, a willingness to answer what may seem like the stupidest questions to some people. There was also the intelligence to realize that shooting for universal acceptance was foolish. Nobody can expect the entire world to go vegan, nor can they expect people to eventually realize the philosophy of non-violence. When the founder of the peaceful Hare Krishna movement (which, I have to say, is most open to veganism since it is already strictly vegetarian), Srila Prabhupada, landed on the shores of NYC in the mid-1960s, he stated that even if he managed to only make one disciple, he’d consider himself to be successful. The point being that one should not waste time with those who refuse to even deliberate properly.
Personally, I think the simplest arguments are the best. I think my favorite argument is the one that simply says that you are given a situation (hunger, for example) and that there are two ways to satisfy it, with both providing you with an equal amount of satisfaction. One is brutal and violent and the other one is peaceful; which do you choose? I’m sure a large amount would choose the latter; it’s after they do, that you can relax a bit, put them at ease, and continue speaking. While I wouldn’t call myself an activist (yet), I know several have used this (such as the always amazing Jamison Scala and Christopher Sebastian, for starters). It likely builds confidence in both the vegan speaker and non-vegan listener.
I’m not the world’s biggest optimist. I disagree with those who think the world overall is getting better, or that the whole world will stop with the animal holocaust. But, vegans are growing in number, and it’s the right thing to do, and that’s something that will always provide me with comfort even as the world continues to slowly rot. Meeting a vegan makes the world great, even for just a while.
The above essay was written by Krishna Majmudar.