I didn’t just pop up out of the blue to make the lives of everybody on the planet miserable by my views on all life and non-life that enter my consciousness.
I’m about to be 74 years old in 2023 as I write this brief. Never heard of vegan until the 1990s. So how did I evolve to where I am today, a champion of human rights and then later all animal rights? I wasn’t militant, wasn’t a protester, abhorred violence of any type. And yes, burning cities is violent. Didn’t burn my bra back in the seventies, though I didn’t wear one for a while – didn’t really need to. In fact I still don’t know any vegans beyond social media, and I do get around, always enjoying the company of others, or just being in their presence.
What single or simple thing was it that drove me, beyond specific instances, beyond experiences, beyond the traits of my parents? No one in my immediate family carries what I carry. Even in the families of my relatives, close and distant, no one cared enough about the incongruities and the unfairness as I saw it back then to change their lives and attitudes in the way that I did.
It wasn’t that I was a people-lover or an animal-lover, because I wasn’t. But neither did I hate. It wasn’t a word in my vocabulary. Just recently a thought came to me: “you have to give a damn to discriminate”. I am against discrimination, being the architect of the five principles to a better life, but I don’t really care about who gets what as long as there’s no suffering involved. In that regard I’m different. I’m not going to fight for blacks to get something unless all colors get it – and yes white is a color in my color wheel.
My mother said I was a baby who never cried and her most affectionate child.
There was, looking back and through the years, something that stood out more than anything else, absent all the agendas and hype.
I didn’t like to see anyone suffer. That’s how simple it was and how it remains. It wasn’t evil that I saw as some faceless people have indicated to me throughout the decades of government surveillance.
From early childhood as far back as I can recall, I saw suffering in people that perhaps other people didn’t notice.
I seemed drawn to the inner self of people, rather than the shell or outer self that we all portray to those whom we encounter.
So that’s it: suffering.
Then comes the why followed by how does one fix it, alleviate it, is it even possible or were we born to suffer and then again, why?
Out of all that came a question, simple once again: why do people do what they do?
For whatever reason I got stuck on that last question and have forever since been trying to figure it out in a myriad of ways, always evolving, always transcending to see from above or behind or in front of or under more clearly the interactions with everything and everyone that leads one or many to initiate or react in the ways they do.
And even beyond all of that, while as stationary as one can be in a constantly moving environment – internal and external – trying to understand what is not visible to my eye or audible to my ears or that which my brain lacks the capability to comprehend, maybe there’s a back door or side door or otherwise elusive door left unlocked, that I have yet to utilize what lies beyond, which may explain it all or at least more of what I do not currently comprehend.
Somehow I think the word current may have something to do with all of it.
What I have come to understand is that one need not have to suffer to recognize it in another, and that the recognition alone is strong enough to drive someone to care and to act.
What I witness is some people who suffer is that when they see it in others they tend to look away. It’s like, ‘what’s the big deal, I suffered the same’. That’s not me.
What is me: I don’t like to see people suffering – no matter who they are or what they’ve done or didn’t do. That caring eventually spilled over into all the other animals on the planet who suffer at our hands, or at each other’s hands.