I recently watched a video clip which mentioned that “veganism is not enough… activism is the moral baseline”. It was a segment from a debate between Prof. Francione and DxE’s Wayne Hsiung, Published on Nov 30, 2015.
A few moons ago, this is something that I may have whole-heartedly agreed with, but I now find that it is not this simple. Activism is a wonderful tool to bring awareness to any situation, not just veganism, but is it enough to force change? Are we supposed to be forcing change or does that simply create an environment where we are just pushing against each other and not changing our core values?
Activism is an action that I have now realised requires additional substance. An alternative needs to be offered. On its own, activism can appear confronting and a method of pushing others into our own personal belief system. This is a method that has been proven not to work. There is a lengthy history of one section of society pushing against another and it never ended well. Has this ever brought about real change or was it purely superficial? I have, on many occasions, found myself holding a placard and confronting someone because they didn’t believe the same thing as me. And I consider myself non-aggressive?! Yes, I did it because I felt I was making a difference, but I now see that activism alone is not making a change. The same applies to education. I used to think if we educated others, that would be enough but these elements, alone, do not create change.
We need to create an alternative to create change.
The dictionary definition of activism, “The policy or action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change” feels unbalanced to me. It is an outward action, of one belief being pushed onto others. The belief may be legitimate, but where is the balance?
Following many hours of wonderful discussion, debate, analysis and inspiring moments with an amazing friend, coach, writer and truly beautiful soul, Catherine Louise Birmingham, I realised that we really need to change our thinking as a species and it all starts with ourselves. We need to dig deep down within ourselves to uncover and embrace those imbalances in our psyche. Am I giving and receiving? Am I learning as well as sharing? Am I acknowledging my weaknesses as well as my strengths? And am I willing to accept criticism as well as acclaim? Once we recognise, and are comfortable with, all this within ourselves then we are able to recognise and encourage this within others.
This alternative existence of compassion, love, harmony and balance will encourage right to bloom. By not fighting the other we will not be feeding it. We will cut the fuel supply to the world of anger, injustice and intolerance, leaving it incapable of existing. What will be left is a world which will thrive apart to this old environment.
We don’t need to keep fighting the fire, we can just remove the fuel. Anger and intolerance are powerful fuels.
But it must all begin within ourselves. Trying to force others to change is an external, energy consuming and unnecessary process. Energy which can be used much more efficiently to create an alternative.