In the heat of the summer of 1966, revolution was in the air. Black people were revolting against the injustice of whites, women against the domination of men, and young people everywhere were expanding their minds beyond the restrictive perceptions imposed upon them by their parents, teachers and governments. Like a hurricane, the winds of change swept through the world, blowing away centuries-old dogma, and leaving in their wake a higher consciousness than had ever been known before.
It was during that summer that Light and I forged the bond that has held us together through all the years since. In the spirit of the time, we took a vow to ourselves, each other and whomever else was listening, to pursue not the lies we saw being exposed all around us, but the absolute truths that we had been told didn’t exist. We vowed to discover those truths and to hold each other to the task of living them.
Our test came soon after, when we saw a movie in which was depicted the slaughter of a bull. Three men were standing in hip boots, ankle deep in blood. They were all hitting the bull on his head with sledgehammers, but the huge animal did not die with one blow. He screamed louder and louder each time, until he fell to his agonizing death at the men’s feet. I will never forget those screams as long as I live.
We walked out of the theater horrified but resolute in our decision to never eat another animal again. Over the next few years, as we learned that no animal product (whether for food, clothing or anything else) could be produced without some form of cruelty and violence, we veganized our lives, without yet knowing the word.
Because it embodies the values we had always believed in, such as justice, kindness, gentleness and compassion, veganism became the foundation of our higher selves. In its light, we were able to recognize and evolve aspects of our behavior that were inhibiting the growth of our noble nature, and to eliminate them, one step at a time. If we were to forsake the vegan ideal, that foundation would crumble, toppling our higher selves, along with our cherished values, until there was nothing left of us of any value.
Perish the thought.