Being vegan means having reached such an advanced level of awareness, that one feels the self-incited moral obligation to adapt not only one’s diet, but one’s entire lifestyle, with the ultimate aim of causing the least harm possible to earth and all its inhabitants. Because less than 1% of humans commit to pursuing this aim, it can be said that vegans form an elite of people whose behaviour and attitudes are fundamentally opposed to what the other 99% believe to be true or morally acceptable. The word ‘elite’ does not suggest vegans are better than non-vegans, but rather refers to their minority status and their growing ethical and educational impact on the majority. The aim of veganism is not to feel superior and distance oneself from the antagonists, but rather to show them their perceived superiority towards the beings they consciously or unconsciously exploit.
Choosing not to hurt a sentient being to satisfy one’s tastebuds, is a superior choice. Kindness is superior to cruelty. Altruism is superior to egoism. But spreading that message only distances vegans more from their surrounding, that is simply not ready to accept these truths quite yet. Vegans often say that the hardest part of living a plant-based lifestyle is not changing one’s diet, finding vegan restaurants or leather-free shoes, but dealing with the indifference and mockery of others. We certainly know what Sartre meant when he said “Hell is other people”. In fact, there’s no quicker way to lose friends than becoming vegan! Your friends are often those who eat like you.
Only by giving the right example, by showing compassion to animals but also by understanding our friends and family members who are unaware, as most of us were in the past, by applauding every small step towards a kinder world, can we ultimately achieve a world devoid of animal abuse. Vegans are innovators and early adopters of a revolutionary philosophy. History proved it’s just a matter of time until the rest will follow. And instead of tormenting our minds with the thought meat eaters are despicable and cruel, we could say to ourselves… They’re not cruel. They’re just kind of slow.