Notes from the Road to Peace
Words are powerful things.
They can sting and stick with us for years after they were uttered. Frequently, they linger with us far longer than the person who spoke them even remembers saying them. Words are so important that the Bible gives them an ultimate role. “In the beginning there was the Word,” and most of what God then creates comes into existence through his saying they exist. More recently, Masaru Emoto showed the impact of positive and negative words on ice crystals. Positive words created such beautiful and symmetrical images, while negative words brought about harsh and jagged scenes. As we are made mostly of water as well, there must clearly be some effect the intention of words has upon us. Groups have used words to distinguish themselves and to diminish others for countless generations. It’s easy to unite one group when they can be united against another group. Our words help us distinguish who is the good guy (us) and the bad guy (them). However, there is no real such distinction in life. We are all simply beings. All of us have good and bad aspects and traits. As proponents of veganism, and more importantly, ahimsa (total nonviolence), we are called to use our words for the betterment of all beings. We cannot let ourselves demonize anyone, though we must certainly stand up to injustice and fight against the systems of suffering. But there must always be the potential of redemption and divinity in all beings. After a quick Google search, it was not hard to find many “vegan” slogans demeaning others, demeaning non-vegans. We need to focus on the potential and the positive. We need to be for Life. For Love. For Peace. Not anti-suffering. anti-hate, or anti-war. If we want to see the suffering of all beings mitigated, our means to that end have to be just and peaceful. Someone cannot be hated into a more compassionate life. Ultimately our end goal is help each other become the highest versions of themselves. One cannot do this by demeaning or belittling, but by compassion, uplifting, and by fighting behavior and systems, not people.
So think twice before you share or put on your “I think, therefore I’m vegan” buttons. Think twice when you enter condescendingly or defensively into that next argument. Remember the power of words.