How deep does this go?

“Being vegan isn’t about being perfect, and it’s not about being pure. You do not get a certification of 100% purity when you become vegan. Being vegan is about intention. It’s about doing the best we can to not cause harm when it’s practical and possible and it’s not always practical and possible.”

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau*

Admittedly, this was said in response to a question from someone who needed medication that had been tested on animals, but I felt it really sums up what I’ve been feeling and thinking about.

The more I learn the crazier the world seems. I keep thinking this is a twisting, sinking tunnel that just goes down and down, deeper and deeper with no end in sight.  We use animals in everything and for everything – most of it is  horrific.

This is our system, a way of thinking and behaving so legitimised and embedded in our culture that it pervades everywhere and contaminates everything – even the good things.  It is practically and psychologically impossible to separate ourselves from this system.

For a while, I have been wondering when I will know enough and be doing enough to call myself vegan. Every day I find out more, and my thinking keeps shifting and sliding faster, twisting and turning around more contradictions and backtracks  than I can keep up with. I become more and more aware of what I don’t know and how so much of how I behave has to change. I can’t do it all at once. I doubt I still even know what half of ‘it’ entails.

However …

My intention is to change and to learn.  My intention is to “do the best (I) can not to cause harm”.  I just don’t know enough; I haven’t been living with this awareness long enough yet to get it right. But my intention is to be vegan.  I find it difficult to imagine that I could ever be anything else ever again. So I keep pushing blindly forward – hoping my intention is enough to move me through this, even when I am getting it all wrong.

* Said during an interview I was listening to on youtube. The recording is about an hour, so I didn’t include the whole video.

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3 thoughts on “How deep does this go?”

  1. It’s progress, not perfection! I used to call myself an imperfect vegan when I was still in the real learning stages and now I call myself a “practical vegan.” It’s not about being perfect, it’s about evolving. Sounds like you are! I am enjoying your blog!

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    1. Thanks. I had been trying to figure out what to say about myself because I am well aware that I still have a lot to learn – just wish it wasn’t all so depressing. I realised when I heard that quote that vegan described my intention and what I am working towards. I realise that it is probably going to be impossible to opt out completely because we use use animals in so many unexpected things. I had been telling people that I was in “the process of going vegan”, but that felt odd. So now I will just say ‘vegan’ and if they ask about my leather handbag I will go into more detail. At first, I wanted to throw it away, but that seemed wasteful. So I have decided to keep things and make the changes as they need replacing – if it is practical to do so.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Throwing everything out and replacing everything all at once isn’t practical for most vegans. Opinions vary, but quite a few of us believe it’s ok to wear or use things you had before you were vegan – just don’t buy them again in the future! You didn’t know any better when you bought your purse; but now that you know better you can do better. I still have a car with leather seats, which was purchased years ago, when I was vegetarian not vegan. It’s completely paid off and I can’t afford to buy another car just because I’d prefer cloth seats now. Among other things, by not having monthly car payments I’m able to afford my rescued shelter pets and to make donations to organizations like Farm Sanctuary and other animal advocacy groups while still paying my mortgage.

        Liked by 1 person

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