Indoctrination: Easier than we think

This blog was originally posted on my website on April 16, 2013 at http://www.yourveglife.com/blog/2013/04/indoctrination-easier-than-we-think

I was watching the documentary Fahrenheit 911 directed by Michael Moore in 2004 and got a fresh reminder of how we can get so easily lied to and fooled by a version of events. When this country decided to invade Iraq, I bought into the propaganda myself. Like a lot of people, I thought it was justified and necessary. Watching Fahrenheit 911 is, in fact, what woke me up from my trance. I am grateful to the person who made me watch this movie then. I wish I could remember who it was to thank her. Looking back, it is hard for me to comprehend how I could believe the lies that were perpetrated to take us to war. I remember fighting with my brother who was against it. I was that indoctrinated. And now, as a Vegan, it is even more bewildering to me to see how asleep I was.

Today I was reflecting on the Boston Events and how terrible what happened is. But really, is it surprising? We are constantly creating our own destinies and our own programming. We are all part of this constant indoctrination which drives some of us crazy enough to commit despicable acts of cruelty. Are we so different from these people? I don’t think so. We are ticking bombs ourselves. We constantly inject this society’s programming and we live completely unnatural lives, completely disconnected from the natural world.

Each day, we are being told stories. These stories, whether they reflect a version of the truth or not are in fact irrelevant as they do not reflect our inner truths. We should reject them. They add nothing but negativity to the world at large. The truth is that we are not who we think we are. We are the manufactured products of this society. And like over-processed food products in a supermarket, we contain a lot of calories, but not many nutrients. And like these products, our lives become shallow reflections of what we should be. To be authentic, we have to become unprocessed foods.

If that food analogy is too much, think about what most people eat. They go to their local supermarket, pick up overly packaged junk food and dead animals packaged in neat cellophane. These “foods” have zero health benefits. They only make us sick, fat and eventually kill us. Our lives have become like these foods: overly packaged with propaganda, lies, extra busy routines, dead end jobs (the calories). But at the end of the day, we get no nourishment from them. But when we endeavor to “unprocess” our lives, we can relearn to live simply, think simply (not stupidly) and reconnect with our inner selves. Rejecting the constant daily mental junk does as much, if not more, than rejecting the daily junk food. One gets influenced by the other. If you do one, you will eventually be driven to do both.

I remember someone telling me once that no one could make him believe anything. But that person was eating other animals, was pro-war and had faith in the capitalist system. Was he really thinking nothing had a hold of him? He was obviously delusional. As we can all be unless we become aware of that illusion.

Being indoctrinated is easy if one is not careful. All day long we receive messages to make us act a certain way. Just opening the television set is enough to put hundreds of foreign messages into our brains. Commercials are the prime example of this kind of cultural programming. But the subtler ones are the most dangerous. Whether you are watching the “news” or some television show, ask yourself how it serves you. If it doesn’t serve you or doesn’t enhance your awareness of yourself and the world, you likely really just waste your time and receive distorted messages. You are accepting messages of lies all day long without question. I understand the desire for entertainment. I like a good movie too. That is human nature to be enjoying works of art. But some of it is really toxic.

When you see teenage girls dressing up like some musical idols, you end up with teenage girls looking like prostitutes more than young girls. When you have young boys emulating some rappers on television, you end up with young men who learn to devalue women and embrace a violent sexist ideology. When you listen and approve of commercials dealing with animal foods and drugs, you become the next potential schizophrenic victim from eating violence, drugs, antibiotics, etc. When you listen to politicians, you program yourself to believe that they actually have the power to change things. They have none; you do, by your own choices.

What if you decide differently today. When you buy pesticide free unprocessed vegetables and fruits from a Farmers’ Market, you make a choice. When you turn off the television and stop being brainwashed, you make a choice. When you refuse to accept the status quo by being Vegan, you make a powerful choice. That choice is to not follow the herd. That is the beginning of freedom.

MY 2 CENTS ON HURRICANE SANDY

There has been a lot of discussion in the press about the consequences of Sandy on the country and the issue of Global Climate Change. Interestingly enough, the conservative mainstream media outlets are finally daring to use the words “Global Warming”. I was wondering all these months of crazy weather when someone would start to wake up. But is it a wakeup call?

I have read a number of articles from the mainstream press regarding the cause and effects of Global Warming. Not once did I see mention of what is called the proverbial “elephant in the room” of climate change: our meat, dairy and egg consumption. We now know from both the United Nation’s report “Livestock’s Long Shadow” and the WorldWatch Institute’s own report that the main cause of climate change is the type of food we consume. According to the UN report, it contributes a (conservative) 19% of greenhouse emissions but the WorldWatch institute goes as far as 51% of greenhouse emissions in their own reports as they include more externalities the UN report left out. To say that this is an inconvenient truth to the mainstream media and even the environmental movement is an understatement. What does the environment movement say to people? The usual: change your light bulbs, buy a hybrid car and recycle. It does not tell people what they really need to change: their fundamental relationship to food.

I followed Dr. Jill Stein, Presidential Candidate for the Green Party, as she brought fruits and vegetables to the people who have been blocking the Keystone Pipeline for over a month and how she got arrested. I felt a ray of hope: a candidate willing to get arrested who brings Fruits and Vegetables, not animal flesh to help them. What a symbol!

In the meantime, with only a few days left to the election, we are stuck with two false choices. On the one hand a President who pretends to be doing something for the environment and his presence at helping with rescue efforts after Sandy certainly helps making him look good as he is apparently pro-FEMA. But let’s not forget that he let TransCanada starts running its pipeline through the country, that he is for the so-call “clean coal” and has never addressed the real issue of our climate dilemma: our food habits and the big agribusinesses and USDA who determine our food supply. The USDA, after all, thinks ketchup is considered a vegetable (sic!). On the right, we have… well Mitt Romney. Do I need to even go there? These two candidates are one and the same, two sides of the same coin who just pretend to be opposed. But they are paid by the same people, the ones in the shadows, who really run the show: Big Corporations (which includes, the Industrial Military Complex, the Big Pharma industry, Big Oil and of course Big Agribusiness). So, who are they gonna work for? Who are they paid for? As Michael Moore would say, “Who’s Your Daddy?” It’s not us, the 99%, it’s not the planet and certainly not the biggest victims of it all: non-human animals.

What are the solutions? (If any). Grassroots movements have always changed politics from the bottom up, not the bottom down.  The Women’s movement made it possible for women to vote, the Anti-Slavery movement (who was NOT for “better conditions for slaves” aka welfare as it is done for animals) eventually won by being uncompromising. The Environmental movement should do the same as well as the Animal Rights movement. This is all part of the same thing. These are continuing struggles. Just because women have more equality, doesn’t mean that they are not attacked by extremists (mostly white old males) who want to tell them how to “run” their bodies (they probably think a woman’s body is like running a business). Just because slavery is illegal doesn’t mean it has disappeared. There is in fact more slavery in the world now than even before (sweatshops anyone?). Just because groups like the Humane Society of the United States “win” so-called welfare victories (which they are not) doesn’t mean animals are better off. (It is far from it since they are putting themselves in bed with the animal abusers. It would be like the jews working with the Nazis for better food and conditions.) And because Obama has put money into green programs like solar and wind doesn’t make him an environmental president, far from it.

We need to reclaim what we belong too. To paraphrase a famous Indian Chief: The Earth doesn’t belong to us, we belong to her. The animals don’t belong to us, they belong to themselves. And the rights to liberty and the pursuit of happiness doesn’t belong to the super greedy rich, it belongs to us all.

As long as we ‘other’ the animals and the Earth (to quote the brilliant Colleen Patrick-Goudreau), and thereby separate their fate from ours, we can’t have peace and harmony on this planet. As long as we nurture the selfish attitude of the ‘other’ as being owned by us, we are not free. Freedom, peace and harmony come only with detachment (detachment is not disinterest), respect and love as well as an understanding that everything is here for his or her own reasons.

So in the next few days, if you are voting, don’t vote for the lesser of two evils, vote with your conscience. But remember that this is a drop in the ocean of what can be done. Whoever is elected can only make change if there is a mass movement to demand these changes. Our part as Vegans is to help people connect the dots between the environmental problems and our exploitation of animals. The two are intrinsically linked. Go out there, spread the Vegan message of inclusion. The more of us, the bigger the changes or God helps us all.

The World Peace Diet by Dr. Will Tuttle

This is a copy of my Amazon.com review of this very important book:

 

5.0 out of 5 stars The most important book you may read in your life. September 19, 2011

 

As a Vegan of a few years, I have read many books on the subject of Veganism, animal rights, Vegan cooking, and so on. As I was researching reading more interesting books, I came upon The World Peace Diet by Dr. Will Tuttle. I have since had the honor of meeting and talking to Dr. Tuttle on a couple of occasions and was able to measure the man with the extraordinary book he has written. He is indeed everything he preaches and more in his wonderful book. Discussing this book could take a book in itself so I will just mention some of the most important points.

I was astonished by the degree of connections Will makes between so many subjects which, on the outset, may not seem related: women’s issues, environmental issues, animals’ issue, history, anthropology, sexuality, the environment, etc… But he brilliantly connects the dots between them all. There is a degree of kindness, love and connection in this book which is impossible NOT to make while reading this book. I can’t help but think of what type of person can read this book and come out of it unchanged. I don’t see how it is possible and would then speak to a high degree of disconnection and maybe hate of the living world if it happens.

As a vegan, this is the book I want to give to non-vegans. I actually recommend it when I do vegan outreaches and am at a loss for words on some issues. Instead of arguing with someone, I recommend the book as it is the best speech I can make on behalf of animals.

Of course, Will Tuttle goes into details about the various aspects of abuses done to animals but a lot of books do that. This one, however, just goes a lot further. It is not just a detailed description of the abuses, it deconstructs the psychology and perversity of our programming behind these acts. We are all indoctrinated since birth (and beyond aka past lives).

As a woman, this book has touched me to the core. The link between the abuse of women and the abuse of female animals (for their milk, eggs) is inescapable and comes from the same mentality which has ruled our world for the last 10,000 years or so. It is what Will calls the « herding » mentality: patriarchal, aggressive, dominating, warlike, exploitative of the natural world, other humans and non-humans. He calls for the rebirth of the « Sophia » principle (named for the goddess) therefore the rebirth of the feminine values of compassion, peace and respect for all beings. There is truly no peace without peace towards all beings. The connection between our wars and what we do to animals is undeniable. The fact that most violent criminals also have a history of animal abuse is a well recognized fact in our society.

There is only one way out of reading all this which makes sane sense: The will to free ourselves of our social brainwashing and regain our true selves. Will Tuttle is someone who connects with nature, the spirit and recommends that we do the same with meditation and connection with nature. This allows us to see the interconnectedness of all nature and all beings. When we abuse animals, we also abuse ourselves. When we eat animals, we kill others by contributing to the starvation of other humans on this planet. When we eat animals, we also destroy the earth’s abundance, destroy the Amazon forest, pollute the rivers, contribute to Global Warming (biggest contributor is in fact animal agriculture, per the United Nations and the WorldWatch Institute). We also contribute to the growing poverty of the human spirit which pushes us ever further away from our higher selves.

« Personal choice » is no longer a justification for eating animals and their excretions. Doing so is the most selfish thing that can currently be done. And it is also a very unhealthy choice for our bodies. The alternatives to eating animal bodies and excretions have never been so obvious. How hard is it to pick up a good vegan cookbook or browse the internet (thousands of vegan recipes online for free) and try some delicious healthy foods that will totally liberate the planet. This book has answered a lot of my questions, prayers and needs. I could read it over and over again and still find something new to understand or connect. This is how rich I think this book is.

Someone said: « There are no valid reasons to eat meat, only excuses ».

 

EATING ANIMALS By Jonathan Safran Foer

I picked up this book based on outstanding reviews in VegNews Magazine and other sources. I was in fact taken by the writing from the very first page. The author draws you into his life and conflict about eating animals in a very personal way which i have enjoyed. But i can’t help feeling that he tries very hard to find excuses for the meat industry, although he makes none for the factory farming, thank God.

My favorite chapter of the book is the one devoted to the idea of eating dogs! Yes, it may shock a lot of westerners to read this chapter but it is really the author’s way of showing the absurdity of most people’s way of treating some animals as pets and others as just merely food. He makes a good point of showing that millions of companion animals are being killed in the appalling US shelter system and that these dead animals could feed thousands of people. He demonstrates the weirdness of the distinctions we make between species of animals and the absurdity of our food systems as it is presently. There are in fact entire sections of the book dedicated to graphic descriptions and testimonies on how animals are being killed in the most horrific ways just to satisfy our dietary habits.

What annoys me with this book, however, is the tendency the author has to point out that he is a vegetarian and at the same time somehow approves of the way the animals are treated in systems other than factory farming (which is near nonexistent). He points out that it is still a cruel system in some respect but gets too deep into the friendliness he feels for these farmers, however well intentioned towards the animals they may be. The one testimony that actually made me breathe a bit better in all of this is the one from the vegan woman from PETA when she points out the not really answered question in this book: Why eat meat in the first place?

I still have not found many books pointing out the absurdity of eating meat (aka animal flesh) at all. I am still waiting for the person (except maybe with Skinny Bitch!) that will point out that we DON’T NEED MEAT TO SURVIVE, that our bodies are healthier without it (hence the fact that we are natural herbivores and just made the choice of being omnivores). The fact that the author shows up in « humane » slaughterhouses to show a « better » way of treating the animals does not impress me at all. In the end, these poor creatures are still being castrated (which he points out), and killed. His reaction to seeing and almost petting a live animal and knowing it is going to die a minute later is proof that we are not natural meat eaters. A real carnivore wouldn’t get squeamish at the idea of blood and death. In fact, in nature, carnivores are attracted to blood and flesh and they have the teeth to tear it apart! We are not them! And if someone pretends otherwise, he must seek a doctor right away.

In the end, the author makes a valid point for vegetarianism versus eating animals. But his motivations, no matter how well founded, are not strong enough if he still somehow defends the killing of animals in some parts of his mind. On the other hand, i loved his de-construction of some parts of Michael Pollan’s book « The Omnivore’s Dilemma » and how he counters the arguments presented in that book. This is a book in fact that i couldn’t finish as it made me angry. Michael Pollan is an apologist for the meat-centered, global warming causing, disease prone, diet. There is no place for meat eating in the global warming century, which Jonathan Safran Foer points out very well.