The Phenomenon of Not Looking
By Linden-Mackey, Guest Contributor
[fusion_dropcap color=”” boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”1px” class=”” id=””]I[/fusion_dropcap]t has never been as clear to me as when explaining my choices to non-vegans the enormous propensity of human beings to avoid looking at and listening to truths that, if faced head on, would require radical behavioral changes. It’s akin to conversion of a spiritual nature, where one is called to shed the old, and don the new – put the hand on the plow and move off into a totally new direction.
There is so much irrefutable knowledge, widely available in all formats, about the realities of suffering and brutality in mass animal production for consumption, the adverse environmental impact, the damage done even to our own bodies by consuming these ‘products’, that it is remarkable that the inquiring and compassionate person would have any difficulty in embracing the wisdom of the vegan choice – if they were to only look to see and listen to hear.
Part of the collective refusal to look is due to the enormity of the reality – and the belief that if nearly everyone is participating, there must be nothing wrong. Parallels between the systematic tortures of animals justified by the underlying belief of animal inferiority and that of the Holocaust or slavery have long also been made – and as with those inhumane systems, larger society has to go along with the façade and agree to not lift the rock to see what is squirming underneath.
It’s extremely difficult to examine one’s long-held beliefs, especially when you don’t really even understand how they came to be formed in you – where they originally came from. More so if to choose the higher path will potentially put you at odds with family, friends, and co-workers – choosing to deliberately be out-of-step with what has long been accepted practice.
For most of us, it’s easier to just go along with what causes us the least amount of discomfort. If that means not looking, even if we uneasily know that something is terribly wrong, and even if we need to find more and more ways to numb ourselves to continue the deception of our hearts, that’s preferable to being the strong voice in the wilderness.
I certainly struggle myself with how to present truth in all situations … and often disappoint myself. Yet I really believe that our truest ethics and worth will be judged by how we have treated the most vulnerable and helpless of creatures – and by choosing at the very least to not consume them, I hope to be able to begin to lift my head.
Photo credit: Linden Mackey