Saturday, 27 August 2016

Veganism and Further - Discussions

Something about veganism did not gell. Though apalled I have also given up milk in periods in my life. There is something very incomplete about veganism when many of them 'give up milk', but stay part of an industrial corporate system which devastates the animals more than anything else does.
"I found a better phrase to describe "Vegans": "Pro-consumerism activists"."
(via Sun Son)
One basic theory about civilization that I have: We're all naturally moral, feeling beings. If these feelings are left alone (ie., the human mind is left in silence) it will find a very effective way to stop it. But, going against feelings, and towards arbitrary meaningless things is what civilization does. So, it incentivizes and finds a way to lay claim to "solve problems" just so its own machinations will not stop. It is self-serving, this culture's memes and it comes at an enormous cost to the environment, human health (including psychological torture of various forms).
So, veganism is one such attempt: to not acknowledge that it is consumerism which is causing animal cruelty but to trick people into the fallacy that *other forms of consumerism* (ie., business as usual) can solve this. The only "minor adjustment" (which turns out to be unfortunately a self-inflicted torture) is to ask those who are concerned to give up consuming this stuff. IF this is not hijacking people's concerns, I don't know what else is.
I mean, how can we pretend that it is not violence to *indirectly* hurt someone? (ex: I destroy your home, you die of starvation).
Girish Arora So what is your grouse against imagining a life that is not part of the 'industrial corporate system' and is vegan, notwithstanding the rather narrow definition being ascribed to someone who doesn't want to exploit animals, or someone trying to figure a way of life that is as less exploitative as possible.
Suraj Kumar For one, it must again get back to dealing with killing. I mean, what do you intend to eat, if you're a vegan? And what happens to the animals? I hope you're not going to, like all the vegans, say "They will all slowly die out and we will simply take over the planet".
Girish Arora Have shared in the past. Sharing again.

I was an Organic farmer when Organic was not cool. In 1988, I managed the transition of 200…

Aparna Krishnan Sun Son, which vegan or non-vegan ever said that ? There I think there is some drama ! But in a realistic sense - yes, what is protected iand valued s what is part of life and living in a sustainable and olistic manner. If we make cattle reduntant to agriculture and production, one day they will be wiped out.
Aparna Krishnan
The utter generosity of the poor humbles us. They give rice to every mendicant even when their rice is getting over. That is what needs to be understood - their greatnes and their richness. That is what they are defined by. That they are impoverished is what defines us. We are the cause of that pove…
Aparna Krishnan This is the valid way, not 'veganism' imo.
Girish Arora there aren't any black and white answers/ approaches. These are all postulations.
Aparna Krishnan i think a practical way has to be collectively discussed and arrived at. Please read the post above and tell me what you think.
Suraj Kumar At the outset, what she describes sounds nice. But I'm cynical given the nuts and bolts of soil aren't being addressed. Without animals being on the farm, what happens to the soil? Without grass being eaten by grazers, how does top soil replenish?

"Animals are not used in my veganic forest gardens, for food or for manure. They wander through and join the system as pollinators, biological managers, and consumers." <-- that sounds confusing.

Does it mean there are grazing animals on the farm? (if yes, do they wander freely and eat whatever they want?  ) If there are none, then let me assure you that the soil isn't really a rich soil or will not be one for long enough. As a person with the conditioned moral of veganism, I'm willing to bet they will find adding other manures - such as fish bones, etc., - unacceptable. If there are grazing animals, then the question is what happens to them. But, if there are still animals being grown (just not culled)... do you stress the land more and more to keep feeding these animals? Devoid of any predators, such animals if taken proper care of, will live and eat till a good age. They multiply. Implying, the soil will be dead soon supporting so many beings.

So, you see... a balance and acknowledgement that we are not God is needed.
Girish Arora There are going to be no short term, immediate and knee jerk solutions. There will be people who will eat meat. The question is the untenability of 'producing' meat and animal by products, the way it is now. There will also be a growing number of peopl...See More
Girish Arora Yes, it needs to be collectively discussed. Making assumptions and generalisations and painting black and white pictures also reeks of control.
Aparna Krishnan I think small communities, villages, where production and consumption happen locally, and where a family owns the cows that is also almost family (I have seen tis bonding with animals in villages) - it that model of gram swajaj many answers may be found. The centralisation and industrilisation need to go first.

Suraj Kumar Girish Arora Indeed. The vegans need to stop assuming that what they claim is a solution. It is not. It has neither worked in its 60+ years of existence as an ideology, nor is it based on sound ecological principles. This form of "untouchability" of not touching the animals but taking away everything around them (the habitat) for other pretexts is also violence and this must be understood by vegans. Surely, it is not the same kind of violence inflicted in CAFOs but something more psychological. But, nevertheless, violent 
Aparna Krishnan
Write a reply...
Aparna Krishnan Giving up animal products is one small step. I have done it at different periods in my life also - and for details which do not matter in this late day, retracted. My problem is when the same people do not accept that the industrial world they are party, and the consmerism they are part of, is the far greater killer of animals and all biodiversity. And then simply substituting milk by soy milk but not trying to reduce their contribution to climate change by reduceing and more reducing becomes a meaningless act of self gratification. Because the latter is that is stranding thousands of seals and polar bears. And also causing the drought in my village where helpless farmers send their cattle for slaughter. One needs an overall perspective and honesty, and then one acts in any and every way one can.
Girish Arora yes, agreed, but that answers only that part of the question pertaining to being thoughtlessly vegan as a means of self-gratification (esp. for those whom its not a transient fad, but without questioning and rejecting an entrenched consumerist attitude). the question still holds.
Aparna Krishnan Explain the question again.
Girish Arora cant you live a life that rejects consumerism and is yet not exploitative of animals?
Aparna Krishnan Of course one should. And it is not a personal purification, but an attempt to build such a meaningful society.
Aparna Krishnan And there many things will fall in place. And I suspect veanism as such will not be one of the tenets.
Girish Arora what kind of society built on exploitation will be meaningful?
Aparna Krishnan Agriculture will need to be cow based (eschewing petroleum based plowing and fertilisers). Once that comes in there is value to the cattle for dung as well as milk as well as draught power. The village people actually care for cows as family - I have seen this. It is a lopsided economics that is forcing the male calf to become irrelevent (and starved.) We need small sustainable communities, and the market game that draws away each drop of milk from the calf to the urban centres also needs to be questioned. And slowly viability and humanity will get restored.
Aparna Krishnan Of course all this seems undoable in a world mad about consuming more and more. Then cows will die will stomachs filled with plastics, and polar bears will starve. And no eschewing milk will help any man or beast. And we will all be reborn as polar bears and starve. And the Kaliyugam will reach its culmination.
Aparna Krishnan But who knows ... maybe something will help the gram swarajya to manifest - small, sustainable and self sufficent communities of man and animals.
Girish Arora look I understand what you are saying, but very simply knowing that the milk in cities comes from factory farming, should one give up drinking that milk, or not?
Girish Arora I am not one for words but I think here we diverge on our takes on 'veganism' if thats what one still wants to refer to it as
Aparna Krishnan In the present, yes. Morally one should give it up. I agree. But there are more urgent actions needed such as giving up plactics and petrol, and working towards systems that make these decrease. And it is not an either-or.
Aparna Krishnan Also in the village I saw that a poor, and very occasionally non vegetarian community, cause far less harm to the earth and its inhabitants than the consuming vegetarian/vegan in cities. That is the root of my thinking. I would first ask for reduction on all fronts of consumption - and milk is a part of that only.
Aparna Krishnan i do not think we differ on anything. I just demand muc more for the animals - a questioning of the centralised industrial system totally, and to work towards village communities.
Girish Arora it seems like a case of preaching to the choir. this broad brush stroked stance against those who do not want to exploit animals is something I do not understand. even as cities stand, not supporting systems that propagate such power structures, is a moral imperative to speed up the inevitable collapse, and giving up a lot, not just animal exploitation, in this context, is going to be necessary. so yes, we do not differ.
Aparna Krishnan ayyo. i do not follow.
Girish Arora  neither do i
Aparna Krishnan . i think the basic concerns are the same.
Girish Arora yes, they are. didactic stances, one way or the other 
Mark Johnston Some of us are vegan as just one part of our multi-faceted work and commitment towards creating a sustainable future of autonomous self sufficient village communities. I do not follow vegan websites that try to excitedly tell us what we can buy from McDonalds or what highly processed meat substitutes we can buy in large supermarkets. I am neither urban nor wealthy, now or in my youth. When access to land is severly limited by unfair ownership patterns, local climate is badly affected by deforestation and overgrazing and cash crops rather than subsistence agriculture dominate then it is hard to argue against small scale dairy as a possible temporary fix for widespread rural malnutrition. My own belief is that the example set by ourselves and our children that good health for us and our land does not depend on either industrial chemicals or animal exploitation is a positive part of our work to move both ourselves and wider society away from unsustainable living.
Aparna Krishnan Completely agree.
Aparna Krishnan Also there is the the fact that our village children moved from a highly malnourished state to good health within some weeks of milk and some basic ayurvedic medicines. Ayurveda holds that milk is essential for a growing child. Having engaged long and fruitfully with ayurveda - my own inclination is for working on sustainable meaningful cattle economy, rather than advise these damaged village children to go vegan !
Aparna Krishnan But for this the overall move to organic agriculture has to happen, and when cowdung becomes important, as it was once, only then will the cows - old, young, male, female - all fit holistically.
Girish Arora Yes small self sustaining communities are the only answer. (Christopher Alexander's Pattern Language, Donella Meadows' limits of growth, Beer's platform for change, Papnek need to be revisited along with many others who have understood and are working). What Mark says above about the cult of vegan, subsumed by industrialisation is obviously not tenable either. One acts on conscience and extreme veganism is a backlash against something horrific. Yes it has been co-opted by greed and fad, but it will not last.
Suraj Kumar Girish Arora Thus, you are coming to the core issue - the difference between a "feeling" (we feel in our hearts that this is WRONG... we feel disgusted...) versus a "corrective thought" (solution). Veganism itself is about

a. non-commodity status of animals (which is good, but not good enough, IMO).
b. liberalism based solutions (individual sacrifice, alt.consumerist choices).

I agree with the first part totally as would anybody with even a half heart. The reason I say "non-commodity" is not good enough is precisely to draw attention to the second point above -- which is, without taking down the systems that are perpetuating these crimes, none of this will change. Yet, when you say this to an average vegan (who, say, owns a car and likes his air-conditioner), their privileged way of life is extremely threatened. So they refuse to do this. They realize, their own life, depends on the continued slaughtering of trillions every day. And, so, veganism becomes an easy way out for such people. 1. They can feel good (and call others names, like milk-drinkers as thieves and meat eaters as murderers) through their self-righteous acts 2. They can continue their life without much changes (only minor changes).

Where I'm very worried (and not as optimistic as you -- "yes, it has been co-opted by greed and fad, but it will not last") is about the "co-opting". I'm not sure these emergent institutions will give up their cancerous growth until they are stopped.

Girish Arora The insidiousness of caste oppression (Aparna's other post), the blindness of consumers, the entitlement of civilisation, the violence against the earth and other species, the self flagellation, the raging, the inability to see that nothing lasts, nothing lasts 
Aparna Krishnan I have never posted on 'caste oppression'. Yes, I post on the travails of the avarna, the dalits. To me untouchability and the caste system are seperate issues. Anyway thats another story 
Girish Arora I guess on that thread somewhere
Aparna Krishnan yes, i have posted a lot on the travails of the dalits. but 'down with caste' has not been the line i have taken ... it is wider.
Girish Arora not so much for Ralegan Siddhi or Anna Hazare as much as for the interesting documentation these guys are carrying out
Suraj Kumar Girish Arora There is the heart factor - which is for people's *hearts to accept drinking milk* that we know has come from the result of torture. I'm with you on this. But, if you leave the heart aside and ask yourself "does it change anything in the real world?", well, you know the answer...  Its like bicycling to an industrial job. Its like wearing khadi and riding in an A/C car.
Girish Arora what can make one 'choose' a saner path?
Suraj Kumar Lack of insane choices? 
Girish Arora choice the grand illusion. sanity from lack? maybe, only from massive churning, when there are no options.

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