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1 + 1 = 2, damnit.

February 20, 2011

I like the idea of Family Day. Even if people don’t visit their families, I feel like family may still be on the mind. Also, it’s a day off of work. At least in Ontario. At least for non-federal government employees. (Weird how the federal government employees working in Ontario and paying provincial taxes to the Ontario government aren’t considered citizens of Ontario where Family Day is concerned.) But that is neither here nor there. If you are planning on celebrating Family Day appropriately with your family and you’re vegan, remember that you may want to ensure you have something to eat prior to showing up at any event involving food. Especially if your family is still not very embracing of your vegan lifestyle. But surprisingly, that is not what this current blog entry is about.

Recently, I had the nauseating realisation that maybe being vegan is not enough to make me happy. I always thought that if I do what feels right to me, it doesn’t quite matter what the rest of the world is doing, because in my idiosyncratic world of me, I am doing “the right thing”. But there is always that nagging feeling that feeling good about what you do as an individual is meaningless and if you actually want more out of life (read: reach the state of true eternal happiness), you have to effectuate change for the good. I’m sure one could rationalise how my being vegan is actually extremely influential on others and the impact I have had on those around me has been tremendous and I am instrumental in the revolution of change toward the way we feel about animal suffering and the immorality of factory farming and in a way, I would even believe it and agree with it. However, I’m impatient and thus frustrated. I want to see change NOW. I applaud how much and how quickly we seem to have progressed with respect to how women are treated, how racism is widely unacceptable, and how we care about our personal health and the environment and that really gives me hope that one day we will look back on factory farming with disgust and shame, the same way we look back on pregnant women smoking or people owning black slaves. But at the same time, I am ashamed and disgusted now and I want people to agree now. It’s like when you have the answer to a really easy math problem that for some weird reason, no one admits to know how to solve, and they just won’t listen to you. That kind of frustration. I think people know the answer to 1 + 1 = ?, but if solving “?” means that they will have to change their lifestyle, their traditions, their upbringings, then they pretend that “?” will always be “?” and they will never ever admit that it’s actually “2”. Too abstract?

So there I am with these feelings and the answer (that I wasn’t the first to solve) and I become frustrated. Change is slower than you think. I’m hopefully integral in the process, even if I never will live to see the day when we all finally admit to the answer and change our lives to accommodate it. Surely there were many women who dedicated their lives to women’s suffrage and never got the opportunity to vote. Perhaps I should be content with my place in the grand scheme of things even if I never get to see the day when livestock are no longer considered as machines and when the reduction of their suffering is the utmost priority. But in the meantime, I am vegan and somewhat dissatisfied with it. The itching feeling that it’s just not enough won’t go away, no matter how I try to convince myself that it is.

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