Veganism is an act of courage and rebellion

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The Rebel © Osho Zen Tarot

“The rebel: His very being is rebellious – not because he is fighting against anybody or anything, but because he has discovered his own true nature and is determined to live in accordance with it. (…) The rebel challenges us to be courageous enough to take responsibility for who we are and to live our truth.” (Osho Zen Tarot Cards, Rebel)

Will Tuttle describes veganism as one of the most rebellious acts we can take, because we break with our conditioning what it means to be human, to live in community. Veganism challenges the idea that we are omnivores, that we are born and meant to kill other living beings in order to be healthy and strong. Veganism challenges the idea that barbecuing, roasting, and stuffing slaughtered animals is an essential part of our culture of celebration. Veganism challenges our belief that doing what others are doing and going with the flow, ‘being easy’, is a condition for belonging, acceptance, and harmony.

I’m noticing I’m getting judgmental of anyone who rather buys cheap hamburgers than take the time to learn about the lives and deaths of their food. I ‘m getting judgmental of anyone who doesn’t have the guts to watch a documentary, go to the slaughterhouse, or kill their food themselves. I have the guts to cut off a tomato, dig up a potato, pluck an apple. You want to eat pork? Raise and kill the pigs yourselves.

Ten years ago I was judgmental of vegans. I remember when my friends and I went out for dinner. There were 12 of us, so it was a hassle to write down everyone’s order. When it was Paul’s turn, the whole process slowed down. “Do you have soup?” “Yes, we do.” “Is it made of animal products?” “Well, we can take out the meatballs, and you’ll never notice they were in it.” No, that didn’t work for Paul. “Well, we have cheese, that doesn’t require the killing of animals.” No, that doesn’t work either. It was made of the inner lining of calf stomach. Gosh, Paul, can’t you just order what we eat? No, Paul decided to stick with a salad. What a kill joy.

In retrospect, I admire Paul. He stood up for his principles and his truth, even though he must have heard my non-verbal criticism loud and clear. He wasn’t making a fuzz at all, he wasn’t proclaiming he was right, and we were wrong. He honored whom he was, and the natural choices that followed his being. A rebellion doesn’t fight anyone or anything. A rebellion decides that society has conditioned her long enough. Now it’s time to decide for herself whom to be and what to do. A rebel follows her own heart. That’s courage.


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2 Replies to “Veganism is an act of courage and rebellion”

  1. Miss Elly,
    I will never forget the time I was in the military and this Sargent came up stairs bragging about his kill. We all went downstairs and look at the deer. Most people were counting the antlers, I was staring into its lifeless eyes. Ever since that day, when a hunter braggs on his kill, I usually turn and go the other way. When hunters call hunting a sport, well I can’t resist myself then. I remember saying to a group of hunters that “if you consider hunting a sport, that just goes to show me you have never accepted a challenge in life because of weakness. Animals don’t have cognitive thought, they just try to survive by eating on a day to day basis. You on the other hunt not for sport, but for the love of killing. When an animal can’t defend itself with a weapon, how can you call it a sport. That’s insane. Try joining the military where you get shot back at.” Most say they would never go into the military. I say, “that’s because the ones who hunt, now become the hunted. Imagine if animals could hunt back with the same offensive weapons that humans carry. How many hunters would you see then? I see hunting as not a sport, but as a cowardliness way of spending leisure time. Bragging on a kill of anything sickens me. I pray that I can live up to being a full time vegan.

    1. Dear Richard, I read your sadness, upset, anger, and disgust with people who hunt to pass away time. You wished there was more balance in power between those who hunt, and those who are hunted. For you it is an act of cowardice, and sometimes you can’t help yourself, and have to express your view. The military is a place with more balance: you have a gun, and so do others. Did I get you?
      I also read your hope that you will live up to your vegan aspirations. You want to live in a way that reflects your care, consideration, and respect for all living beings?
      I resonate with both points. I am proud that I skipped putting cheese on my sandwich at Subway, something I would almost automatically do. And the sandwich didn’t taste any less, because of that (of course, I had lots of guacamole instead!). I salute your efforts and intentions, and that’s all we can bring to the table. We might not always succeed, and then again, that’s not the point (or at least, not for me). The point is to deepen self-connection, understand your own values and truth, and have the integrity to live in accordance with them.
      As for the hunting, I agree with you on that point. My challenge is to compassionately embrace the hunters, bring understanding to their actions, and help them to find strategies that support all needs: theirs and the animals. I tend to become self-righteous and judgmental, and I cannot imagine that is gonna relieve suffering and bring joy.

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