I am just wondering if the planned obsolescence rife in our consumerist contemporary world might potentially have a positive side? Meaning that the more quickly resources wear out and are dumped the quicker we shall be forced to live without them . Kind of a backwards thinking along the lines of “I have this box of chocolates which is haunting me, so if I scoff the lot as fast as possible they won’t be tempting and tormenting me and I can return to being my usual non-chocolate eating self”. That’s a trivial example, but expanding energetically – there is an aspect of me which has always been in dislike / aversion of old stuff, and in scorn of the reverential attitude people have towards antiques. Or their extreme attachment to their own personal material possessions. These attitudes promulgate selfish, divisive, and entitlement processes which separate humanity into the haves and the have nots. I was stunned by the extreme lack of possessions in the rented bedsit my father lived in – when he died it only took my brother and I a couple of hours to clear everything out. He had a small box of cherished tapes and a cheap tape player, a few house plants, 3 changes of clothing, and the most basic of toiletries imaginable. His bible, prayer book and rosary and a handful of family photos completed the collection. There was one box of official papers including passport and car documents (his one luxury was his little car). I am still in awe of Dad’s lightness of tread upon the planet – in his last years he told me he made a stew of vegetables and soya mince which lasted 3 days, his other daily meal being wholemeal bread. He had been a Cistercian monk for 13 years from childhood and the inherent frugality clearly endured throughout his life. Not that he didn’t thoroughly enjoy other things! Like his father before him he was vegetarian when alone and never bought meat or fish, but would politely accept any food offered to him whilst among other people, and totally relished fine food and drink. My grandfather was a Staffordshire coal miner and was known for his immense physical strength, and for working all day down the mines on dried fruit and nuts. Sadly he died before I was born, and indeed I had never been told these stories about him until after I went vegan at the age of 16. Had such information been shared with me I doubtless would have given up animal products at a much earlier age – in truth I did not encounter the possibility of living without exploiting other creatures until the 60’s hippy era raised public consciousness. Even so for me it was a matter of : even if it costs me my health and shortens my own life I will still refuse to take the equally precious irreplaceable life
of any other.
Back to the materiality issue, it sounds like playing devil’s advocate to say lets just use everything up now and get it over with! Then perhaps we will be able to move into the desired realm of real values and genuine sharing. In a similar way there is a part of me thinking let’s just take the mad cow and all the other animal-associated infections plagues and diseases that keep appearing, whether from natural or deliberately engineered causes, to their ultimate conclusion and get that over with too. Sounds a tad too radical and extreme of course, but sadly my experience of human nature is that we will not surrender anything in our hot heavy grasp until forced to……. even though it may be killing us and poisoning our planet and causing untold misery to others. My 40 years as a vegan activist demonstrate this only too coldly………. so many good kind people, some of them friends, who drop the familiar mental emotional portcullis when I hand out leaflets or raise the thorny issue of humanity’s inhumane abuse, enslavement, torture, and murder of increasing billions of fellow earthlings. Cognitive dissonance and denial. And Fear : the real “f” word….
The film “Earthlings” available to watch free on youtube now, is the best most comprehensive portrayal of the myriad ways this abuse manifests – from entertainment, to clothing, the pet trade, sport, and of course, food. This film ought to be required education for every person on the planet : only then could we make genuinely informed choices. The greatest book I could ever recommend is the paradigm breaking “World Peace Diet” by Dr. Will Tuttle : awesome awesome words and the most piercing understanding of the origin and perpetuation of collective human suffering I have ever read. And all without the anger or moral outrage one finds in lesser tomes. It is more than sufficient to calmly lay out the truth of what is really going on here in today’s complex systems, and allow individuals to join their hearts to their heads and decide electively to change their habits allegiances and values. Carnists often throw the accusation at vegans that we are trying to force our eating practices down their throats. They demand their right to continue the habits which are costing not just deliberately-bred animal lives, but the very sustainability of the planet ALL life depends upon! How can that be a personal choice? How can such a destructive dangerous practise be allowed to continue unchecked? It is about way more than the ethics of domination, the politics of power, or the spirituality of sacredness. I would like nothing better than to climb off my soapbox for the last time and get on with living a beautiful personal life! Don’t you think? But my conscience and empathy simply cannot facilitate that. I vowed to be a voice to the voiceless innocents of every species, including my own, and that is turning out to be a lifelong endeavour.