Before I became vegan, I felt that everything I knew could be refuted. My opinions could and would be challenged by anyone who knew better or whom I thought knew better. In those years – all through college and law school, when I earned my tuition by working as a bartender, substitute teacher, maitre d’, shoe salesman, bellhop, plus various other jobs – I always had the feeling that I was kind of ‘winging it’, and would be exposed as not being a real bartender, teacher or maitre d’. And so, I lived in fear of being found out by someone who really was what I was pretending to be.
I look back now and see that I had little or no idea as to what ‘real’ actually was.
At the age of 29, I saw a movie in which was depicted the horrific slaughter of a bull. That scene made me vow to never eat meat again, as I realized that my choice of food was a cruel one; that when I ordered meat, I was complicit in the murder of an animal. It made me very sad to think that cows, lambs, pigs, chickens, fish, lobsters, ducks, turkeys… these animals were being executed for my taste buds. There was no arguing the truth of that.
I also realized that, unlike a wild, predatory animal, I had a choice in my meals. I could choose to eat from the plant kingdom and not from the animal kingdom.
That one decision ended my fear of someone proving me wrong. For the first time in my life, I was absolutely certain that choosing the compassionate alternative was the right thing to do. What a boost to my self-esteem to discover that I knew something that was absolutely right; something that no one, no matter their station in life – secular or religious – could convince me was wrong. I can remember how empowered I felt in having, at long last, found something in my life that was irrefutable. That was the beginning of my understanding that I could determine what was true and what was not true in all aspects of my life.
As I lived the ideal I had discovered, I came to know that the vegan perception leads to seeing all things in a new light, with new clarity.
Stepping away from animal exploitation, I was able to heighten my perspective enough to see through the greatest conspiracy of all; the conspiracy that has convinced the whole human race that they are predatory animals, fashioned to hunt and kill prey and consume their body parts; a conspiracy that has persuaded an unknowing and trusting public that they have the right to sacrifice the lives of other sentient beings for their pleasure, comfort and convenience; a conspiracy that has cost humans their physical and spiritual health, the earth its precious natural resources, and the animals untold suffering at the loss of billions upon billions of their lives.
Every human being has a conscience, the voice of reason within us. Those who listen to their consciences know, as surely as I do, that exploiting, enslaving or killing anyone, whether the victim be human or non-human, is cruel… and that cruelty is wrong.
That is an irrefutable Truth.