I was talking to my roommate the other day. He’s vegan.
Among the other topics we’ve discussed that evening, within the brief window of time he had before running off to his family’s thanksgiving get-together; namely, the rest of our lives, and some existential space talk, came the topic of veganism. He offered a small insight into why he’s vegan and some fears he has of being one.
Veganism in the eyes of the mass media is about giving up; a concept I don’t think the first world can easily embrace. As a vegan, you give up all meats, and animal produce. In a sense, it’s almost a monk-like image. No more chicken, beef, turkey. Milk is off-limits, and much to my ignorant surprise, so was honey. The Things I’ve Lost, Memoirs of a Vegan, the tentative title to the imaginary book I would write if I did decide to take that path.
But it is not so. The first world, and arguably, every human being in the world subjected to mass media, has been influenced to want more, one way or another. The idea of giving up what essentially feels like, not earned privileges, but basic rights to having, and is shunned.
I told him this.
He gave the usual response; that he chose veganism over his omnivorous routes, because it’s healthier. But, is it really? This default answer can be true, but false as well. An unhealthy vegan can exist, and so can a healthy omnivore. I nudged him for a deeper answer, and gave him a look that hopefully shouted yeah, right, or words to that effect.
It’s for the world (my paraphrasing is abysmal, bare with me)
From what I gathered, I surmised that, while people may find pushy vegans a nuisance or easy target, veganism could stand for much more. It’s almost a new age of human being. They’re not stronger, more evolved, or anything of the like. From a philosophical standpoint, veganism isn’t about giving up, but about choice. To become a vegan is a choice, and in that sense, it stands for the pinnacle of what it means to be a modern human being. It’s the conscious decision to be a better human, to throw aside common ignorance, and make an effort in feeling right. The conscientious decision to do his or her part in a society, overridden with greed bred of fear.
That was the gist of our brief discussion.
And so, I continue along my omnivorous routes, writing blog posts, chewing on some beef, with a side of spinach.