By Lilian Jones, The Vegan (Winter 1977 edition)
All life is one. This is the theme which runs through esoteric and
academic philosophies and the religions since man's earliest times. We
are all that we seem and more, from the tiniest speck to the distant
stars, all is one and the one contains the many. This being so, every
creature is part of us and we in turn are part of a much greater scheme
than we can readily comprehend, all that happens is of personal
significance. There are those who have come to realise this via many
Life may be said to be a dream but man has turned it
into a nightmare. Many are asleep, indeed it would not do for us all to
wake up at once for this would result in chaos, but this fact does not
exonerate us from our duties to the creation while we are here. In turn
we are presented with a unique opportunity from moment to moment, to
realise what lies behind the mystery of the creation.
happened to the world today and what man does to his own kind and to
other creatures needs no reiterance. Now what is required is work to
restore the order and harmony of the world. Without the vision of single
individuals nothing would get done and for each of us our heritage would
be poor indeed. Great efforts have been made and are being made by men
and women often in obscurity and sometimes against terrible odds to stem
the flow of brutality which threatens to engulf the world.
Ignorance is to ignore the truth. No deux ex machina is going to descend
out of the sky and rid the world of its follies overnight, we have to
take a positive step, the choice is left to us. Life is not easy, it is
a constant battle against lethargy which encourages habitual rituals and
the acceptance without question of secondhand meaningless opinions,
thrust upon us from our childhood. However there are life-lines thrown
to us too, remember the nursery rhyme;
How many miles to
Three score miles and ten,
Seventy years, the sum of a
Indeed it takes most of a man's adult life to free
himself from the rubbish accumulated over the years before he realises
that life is the one thing he hasn't really got, whatever else he's
Those who want a permanent happiness, one which cannot
be destroyed, they have to examine life closely to see where permanence
lies in an ever changing world. Some are victims of suffering or
helplessly witness the pain that is inflicted on other beings. There is
a saying, unhappiness is the grit in the oyster that produces the pearl,
sometimes it is suffering that spurs us to action.
Who we should
ask would we emulate, the three wise men or the three wise monkeys?
Isn't it easier to turn a blind eye, a deaf ear and keep silent about
evil than to search for the "Good"? It is leveled against some that they
are too emotional, but no intellectual argument however skillful can
justify the cruelties man inflicts on helpless creatures that cannot
plead for mercy. Being dumb, however, doesn't mean being stupid, it
simply means, unable to speak.
There cannot be peace while man
still continues to kill. Now this is so fundamental and so vital that it
would be sheer hypocrisy to gloss over it and there is no excuse for not
caring. Of course he likes to defend his motives by his superior
intellect but there is nothing clever about the obvious economic
stupidity that allows him to feed his food to animals, then eat them
like some parasitic worm.
The pattern of perfection cannot be
fully realised until man has built his foundations on the ethical
principles of loving kindness. Beauty and love are at the heart of
creation, anyone who thinks this sentimental let him make no mistake;
Christ for example was no "softie". To withstand the severity of a Roman
scourging, you had to be tough; it more often than not ended there and
then in death.
Any man who has no compassion for animals and who
can ignore the atrocities perpetuated upon them daily is blind in this
area and we must not allow them to lead us. We must push back the
frontiers of consciousness little by little until we have cleared the
ground in which the fruits of others can grow and flourish. To borrow an
analogy from Archimedes, "Give me where to stand and I will move the
earth," it is my belief that the vegan has found the place on which to
make the stand.
The family butcher is aptly described, for it is
part of the great family which is butchered and the guilty secret is
blazoned down every high street where a birthright is sold for a mess of
pottage. The incongruity of the jolly straw hat and gay apron which
attempts to disguise the deed would indeed be funny if it were not so
tragic. In front of the television the human animal turns up his nose at
the beast devouring offal, while he sits back replete with steak and
kidney pud. How often we hear the phrase, "I love my steak".
an evening out he dresses up as if murder were a thing to celebrate. He
is so sure of civilisation with the high minded talk of Science and
reason and a touch of Mozart. As in the days of Noah, there are those
who groan inwardly knowing that in the background shoved out of sight
people and animals alike are tortured. Can one be too sensitive? Surely
pain and anguish are still pain and anguish for whoever and whatever
Thank God and it is thank God, that there is hope,
we are their hope. Between the sleeping and the waking is a twinkling of
an eye. From misery to joy is the same distance. Paradise is imminent
and in the striving towards it we will attain it.
with thanks to the Vegan Society.
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