February 4, 2011
We could easily come to the conclusion that apathy is the major “illness” that plagues most humans, the majority of which, are numb to the cascade of obvious brutality that occurs about them each day. It is more than an illness, it is a tool utilized to deflect pain, a self-preserving veil over the soul, and one that can most certainly affect those who comprise a movement of compassion. Apathy is a powerful shroud generated to warm us over, like a winter blanket, shielding us from the cold slate of pain in truth.
On a daily basis, I see those who claim to be within this movement of compassion exhibiting some of the initial “symptoms” of this very illness. One of those symptoms, hate, has a compounded effect on the working “body” of activism, as a whole. There will be no “antidote” whilst a portion of us are infected with the same contagious “disease” which has afflicted the “patients” we are attempting to cure. Certain individuals are inadvertently working to undermine a very non-coordinated effort.
Attacking those who are not yet within our sphere of understanding will seldom shed light on the subjects we desire they comprehend. More times than not, they will be frightened away by such candor or worse, hence forward, they will see the rest of us as stark raving lunatics, no matter what we say. In a sense, one’s initial compassion for life can become a blind, hateful rage toward others, therefore manifesting itself as the very thing that we so desperately wish to overcome. Apathy is a generated trait, not an inherent one. I agree that it needs to be chipped away and broken down but we will not accomplish that with hate.
As activists, we must try to remember that nearly 50 percent of the world’s population is employed in the food producing industry. That is a staggering statistic. This means that nearly 1/2 of the human race survives by generating food for the rest of the world. Most of these people have been born into their profession. They have not been shown anything different from what they have been taught since childhood. Many in agriculture, would rather not be. Roughly 3/4 of the people around the world who till the soil, are forced to do so by hand, the majority of which, obviously live in poverty situations. Think about that number in relation to the prior percentage and you will indeed see a small taste of the the dilemma.
More people die and receive injuries in a “slaughter house” capacity than in any other profession. Many of these injuries are never given an official public statement and all of our hands are stained red. For those who do not directly slaughter animals in agriculture, a staggering amount of the crops they yield go to the factory farming industry in order to feed cattle or livestock, nearly 50%. Are these human beings, who have starving children living in squalor, evil for contributing to the continued workings of cattle farms? Are any of us 100% free and clear of the blame? As vegans, the same companies that produce our soy, buy from sources that feed factory/beef farms. Some of you may not like to hear this, but it is time that one of us states it, considering the vast amount of hate being cast about in a movement that is supposed to be geared toward compassion.
Have you ever wondered what would occur if every human being on the planet was presented fact in regard to what will happen to their children as a direct result of our continued meat consumption? What if sources which the majority of humanity believes to be “credible”, such as each and every one of our mutual governments, were forced explain the truth to us very publicly? Do we not have hope that there could be a massive, worldwide change in the way that we live? Can we optimistically have some faith in our species and rather, place the blame where it truly belongs?
Obviously, “truth” is not exposing itself due to the fact that corporations control those in power and they directly benefit from the industries which wreak havoc on our world. The factory farming industry, big oil and banking certainly does profit from war, brutality, planetary devastation and mass poverty. Misinformation fed to the credulous public comes in many forms and from countless directions. They have indeed generated a fund-fueled mechanism of genocidal naivety and indifference at the expense of our children’s future.
There is no doubt that Capitalism drives the current death machine and ofttimes, our hatefully expressed disdain for the fearful can only help fuel that same machine. Hate will not extinguish apathy. You can not pour petroleum on a fire and expect it to dissipate. At this moment, we are pushing ourselves toward a self-induced holocaust. Our only hope of smothering this towering inferno is an ocean of compassion for all life. This includes caring for human beings who do not as of yet, fully understand.
President of AELLA