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Overcoming a Depressing Vegetarian Message
A Potential Fix to Confronting "Cognitive Dissonance:"

By: Scott Harris [email protected]

June 2002

I think that switching the emphasis (not necessarily the message) to the positives of an ethical approach to vegetarianism / veganism will:

1- Prevent people from developing a defensiveness that will kill our message before it has a chance to take root

2- Allow the individual(s) to feel a sense of "ownership" and self-empowerment.

3- Leave them with a sense of optimism.

Honestly, becoming a vegetarian back when I was a thirteen was the single
most powerful and shaping experience of my life.  Becoming a vegetarian gave
me, at a relatively young age, a degree of control over my self and my
environment.  More importantly, I learned to take responsibility for my
actions.  It allowed me to develop an ethical foundation and a belief system.
Ultimately it gave me a degree of confidence - at an age where little is more
important.  It was, and continues to be liberating and empowering.

If we emphasize the positives, we stand a chance of not only saving our
non-human contemporaries, but also in affecting the self-esteem of a large
number of people.

Need proof?  Well, my (almost) nine year old daughter has been a vegetarian
since birth.  Her friends and classmates are drawn to her, not just cuz she's
cute and clever, but because she has a greater degree of confidence and
comfort than most of her peers.  She has developed a thoughtfulness and
contemplativeness that has allowed her a moral framework that most adults
lack.  Subsequently at least three of her classmates (in an agrarian
community) have given up meat.

We welcome your comments:

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