In a rare interview just before his death, Aldous Huxley was asked what advice he would offer young people just starting out in life. He thought for a moment, smiled, and said that he was almost embarrassed to say it, but after a lifetime of searching; studying great art, reading all the classics, and penning many acclaimed books of his own, the most profound piece of advice he could think to offer was: “Try to be a little kinder.”
And yet, in light of the state of our sad, mad world, it seems that before we can even aspire to kindness, we must first turn our attention toward ending unkindness, as the abolition of cruelty is an essential step in our evolution from a fractured humanity to a united Humankind.
This is the essence of the message that is being sent to the powers that be, in what is perhaps the most widespread movement for justice in the history of the human race; that it is unkind, and therefore unjustifiable, for them to live in the illusion that their wants come before the needs of others.
As we, the people, occupy cities and institutions all over the world to protest injustice, it may be a good time to ask ourselves if we are in any way perpetrating the very injustices we are opposing.
We, the progressive thinkers, pride ourselves (and well we should) on our understanding that every human being — regardless of race, religion, nationality, age, gender, economic status or sexual orientation — has an inherent right to not be treated as an “other,” because it is obvious to us that beneath our individual differences, we are of like kind..
No one wants to be hungry or cold or terrified or lonely or deceived or oppressed. We all want to be healthy, happy, loved, appreciated, inspired and thrilled to be alive.
When it comes to feelings of pain and pleasure, all sentient beings are of like kind, which is why we — the believers in liberty and justice for all –are gathering, marching, writing and speaking up for the rights of all human beings, no matter the circumstances into which they happened to be born.
And yet, even many of the most progressive among us, seemingly without thought, continue to exclude certain sentient beings from the shelter of their compassion by accepting, condoning, supporting and even applauding the most unspeakable injustices perpetrated against those they see as “others,” because they happened to have been born other than human.
The overwhelmingly sad, yet unavoidable truth is that every non-vegan choice contributes in some way to the enslavement, torture and murder of billions upon billions of living, breathing, feeling, vulnerable, innocent fellow animals of all kinds… and this horrifying production is enacted upon the global stage, in one form or another, every moment of every hour of every day, in every nation on earth.
Curiously, people who are otherwise kind and just, who can so clearly see the injustices perpetrated by those who have power over them, remain blind in the face of all evidence to the unimaginable cruelty that humans inflict upon these helpless beings, who are totally at their mercy.
How much more convincing will be our message to the 1%, as we request that they forgo the pleasures, comforts and conveniences that require the oppression of those they see as “others,” when we are willing to do the same.
How much more sincere we will be when we shine the light of truth on all injustices, including our own.
And how much more empowered at this historic crossroads, when we stand together for liberty and justice, not just for some, but for all sentient beings, so that no one is made to suffer in any way, for anyone’s profit, anywhere on the face of this our earth, ever again.