The Fellowship of Life
a Christian-based vegetarian network founded in 1973


All Life is One

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 routes.
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. 
What has 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 Babylon,
Three score miles and ten,
Seventy years, the sum of a man's life. 
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 acquired.
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".
On 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 feels them.
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.
Reproduced with thanks to the Vegan Society.

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