The Paradise Paradigm (excerpts from book, “Thou Shalt Not Kill”: The Paradise Paradigm and Veganism)

Introduction by Dr. Nandita Shah

I am honored to be asked to write the introduction to this book as much as I am proud to be an ethical vegan striving to spread this vital information – for our health, the planet and last but not least for the 56 billion innocent animals slaughtered every year for food that we don’t really need.  Ann’s passion to spread this message is very much like my own.

Like Ann, I was not brought up as a vegan, but I was lucky to grow up in a vegetarian culture in India. I grew up believing that cow’s milk was a health drink and continued to do so despite the fact that being a doctor and homeopath, I should have known better. Homeopathy is based on nature’s laws, and I think the most basic of nature’s laws is that mammals produce milk only for their young. Its notable that even calves don’t drink their mother’s milk when they are weaned. Why then do we? However it took me too long to make the connection.

Once the connection was made though, I began to read articles everywhere about why cow’s milk was not a health drink. I could see the logic, and the evidence was clear. The countries with the highest incidence of osteoporosis were those with the highest consumption of milk. Why? Was it a coincidence that I had never seen a single case recover all these years with the help of  dairy and calcium supplements?  I could see the links between animal products and other diseases as well. However it was not until I was one hundred percent vegan that I could begin to urge my patients to try it. How could I tell anyone to do what I did not do? And how could I be sure that the health benefits were real? I believe this is just one of the many reasons more doctors are not urging their patients to switch to veganism to heal themselves.

In my practice I realized that only the very desperate people were willing to heed my advice and change their diets, but when they did, the results were beyond my wildest hopes. They were exactly as other vegan doctors had described. Patients that were thought to be incurable were getting back to health – some healthier than ever – and were able to get off all or most of their medications. Many of these patients had been told that these medications would be for life. I found though that my less desperate patients were not willing to make any changes. To address this challenge I started conducting the Peas vs Pills workshops that Ann mentions in this book.

India, where I have been practicing, is a developing country. Fifty years ago refrigerators were rare. Meat and dairy consumption is growing year by year. As recently as in the late 1970’s India was not producing enough milk to meet its requirements. Today India has the largest cattle population in the world, and produces enough dairy to foster the rising epidemic of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer. And not surprisingly the incidence of mental diseases has increased manifold. The ecology has suffered a considerable set back. And despite the increased availability of animal products the deaths from starvation continue.

Ann has covered many of these aspects in this book, as well as the many other reasons why the world must see a paradigm shift if our species is to thrive. The most interesting though is the anthropological aspects about why man began eating meat in the first place and what it has done to our society, our world and our species. Can we turn the tables? I believe there is reason for hope.

“Thou Shalt Not Kill” Table of Contents

 Part One. The Vegan Explosion: How and Why

 Chapter One. The Paradise Principle and The Animal-Caretaker Within

 Chapter Two.  Ancient Paradise: Anthropological Findings

 Chapter Three.  Ethics: Animal Suffering, The Environment and World Hunger

 Chapter Four. Veganism, Your Mental Well-being and Your Health

 Chapter Five.  Making the Vegan Connection: Self-help tips for you to become vegan (Including box: Vegan Nutrients)

Part Two. Recipe and Vegan How-to Tips Section…

Part One. The Foundations of Veganism

 “Though Science dreams not as yet of her goal, her feet are on the road from which there is no turning back—the road which Vedanta on a different plane has already trod before it.”

—Sri Aurobindo 


 Chapter One. The Paradise Principle


Both metaphysics and quantum physics—as well as the new awareness about altered state of consciousness experiences (epiphanies) in psychology–has lead many of us with scientific worldviews to believe that a higher power of some kind exists (whether one calls that a universal underlying consciousness, God , the Great Spirit, Shiva, Source, Gaia, Earth Goddess, Mother, Buddha, etc), and that it is a divine or godly creative force that drives the universe. The “discovery” of this  new reality, which indicates a paradigm shift in science and has been discussed by the religious and/or spiritual since the dawn of history, is part of the reason many people are philosophizing about—and scientifically-investigating– the possibility that we were meant to be vegan.

This paradigm shift, which conveniently could be called the “Paradise Paradigm” shift, would revolutionize science and would indicate that there is an underlying consciousness akin to what some would call God—a higher power, Gaia, Brahma, etc.–and that the world was hence intelligently–and benignly–designed. Presumably, by living in the ways in which we were designed to live, we as humans could all achieve happiness and a harmonious union with the natural environment, including with its animals—a harmonious lifestyle which would be akin to paradise.

But how were we designed to live? If we were designed (or programmed, to use high-tech terms) to live in certain ways, then it makes sense that each of us has this knowledge imbedded inside us, in our unconscious or subconscious, if not in our conscious mind (just like a computer has a program inside of it telling it what to do when). Archetypes are innate patterns of behavior, knowledge, feelings and actions, which psychologists (such as Piaget) have found guide us through critical times of our lives. For example, a maternal archetype governs female behavior when a baby is born. Generally, archetypes guide our behavior—how to recognize and behave toward one’s mother, be a good lover, friend, hero and/or teacher–as long as they are not repressed.

The Paradise Principle/Theory and the Animal-Caretaker Archetype

Let us focus on how we may have been meant to behave towards animals. Because many of us traditionally have eaten animals and animal products (milk, dairy, and eggs), this meditation must also include thinking about how we were meant to eat, as well as to interact with the animal kingdom—on what we might feel and know inside (our archetypal knowledge) about that.

We all have an archetypal/innate desire/need to live in harmony with animals and the natural world. This innate, archetypal need has been termed “biophilia” by the famous 1950’s humanist psychologist Erich Fromm (author of The Humanist Credo). In the 1960’s Fromm wrote extensively on the subject of our separation from nature, as spoken of in the story of the Garden of Eden, and its effects on our social harmony and mental states.

In the 1980’s, Harvard professor Edward O. Wilson wrote a Pulitzer-Prize-winning book by the name of Biophilia, and Joanna Macy and John Seed wrote Thinking Like a Mountain, helping to spawn the modern 1990’s ecopsychology, and deep ecology movements.  John Robbins and Dr. Will Tuttle have also published prize-winning books in recent years beginning a public discussion of how our eating habits interact with social, spiritual and health factors.

These and dozens of other modern thinkers have shown how, often in our complicated modern world, we as individuals suppress our biophilia–which has led to many of our modern psychological, social, health, moral and environmental problems. Although most of these writers were mostly talking about the destruction of wild animal species’ habitats, their teachings can be applied to the destruction of farm animals as well (as Lengerich, Macy and others have shown clearly; we are finding that eating farm animals also involves the destruction of many wild creatures’ lives)—because our love for animals must logically not be confined to only those hunted or killed in the wild.

Moreover, our carnivorism may be the prime example of our disassociation with nature. Our separation from nature has included not only an ancient separation from (and dominance over) animals, but also a dramatic ancient switch from an animal-friendly to an animal-eating culture. And the consequences of such suppression of our biophilia, in particular our animal-caretaker archetype, have created much suffering. Suffering on the part of animals, of course, but also human suffering, in the form of much of our major disease killers, the increased destruction of our environment, and increased mental crises/neuroses and social disharmony…

…because it offers an alternative to the current non-theistic paradigm in science, as well as a direction away from our nature-exploiting current soci0-economic paradigm,  it could be called The Paradise Paradigm; that is: 

Humans were meant to live in a paradise on earth, a place where we live peacefully with nature, animals and with each other. We must return to that paradise. We know this innately (through biophilia and the animal-caretaker archetypes) even though that knowledge might be unconscious. Because this knowledge has been repressed and suppressed for millennia, our society and our world is in a state of crisis….

The Paradise Theory and the New and Emerging Thought in Science and Religion

More implications for hard sciences, psychology, medicine, education, and other disciplines are obvious—as are those for religion. First of all, one might ask, does this theory that there is a higher reality fit current scientific understanding? Renowned quantum physicists such as Alex Paterson (author of The Observer Effect), Barbara Brennan, Ross Rhoades, and David Bohm among many other physical scientists have stated that the natural world is a product (or final effect) of a higher consciousness/spiritual reality and that an underlying consciousness connects all things….

 …Dr. David Bohm speaks of the “new or emerging paradigm” in science as offering support to the (traditionally-religious) idea that human consciousness can potentially interface with a higher consciousness (God/prayer, Brahma/yoga, etc.). Modern spiritual leaders such as Alan Watts, Sri Aurobindo, and Osho—among many other spiritual-science philosophers, of course–also teach of a higher reality that we can all commune with in some way (or at some times). Psychologists (perhaps they could be called “deep psychologists”) and age-old religious teachings have confirmed the fact that humans can access this higher reality through religious-mystical altered state of consciousness experiences (which goes by different names as discussed earlier). Again, all of this science and thinking indicates that humans are connected spiritually with some kind of higher power, as well as all other life forms.

This is one reason we feel empathy for animals.  Also, we have an innate, God-given, archetypal (often unconscious) desire to care for animals; as explained by the animal-caretaker archetype theory (discussed earlier). For example, when a child has a pet dog he or she tends to want to pet it, feed it, play fetch, train it, and treat it as if it is a real human playmate—i.e.,  play house with it, play catch, etc.. This pattern of behavior (persona) unfortunately often disappears as the demands of school, work and society tend to send it into the unconscious or subconscious realm….

… The assumption underlying the Paradise Principle is simply of course (as stated elsewhere) that we were actually designed by this intelligent cosmic force, as was the world. Physicists have proposed that too much natural “elegance” and logical design appears in nature for it to all have evolved by accident, as a shift in the scientific paradigm such as the one proposed here would indicate.  As we have turned away from how we were designed—from living in harmony with nature–we have created more and more misery for ourselves and our planet. Taoism’s Tao te Ching–among other ancient Indian vedic scientific-spiritual, and many other world religious writings (some of which we shall study in subsequent chapters)–confirms this deep truthI believe the foundations of ethics, religion and science—both social and hard sciences–must be expanded to include the Paradise Paradigm (or a similar theory),  and its assumptions and implications. This is important, so that we may research (among other things) and begin to think rationally about how to live in harmony with nature, how to resolve the global warming crisis, how to prevent illnesses (including some kinds of mental disorders, as we shall see), and how to raise our children so that they can live independently and productively in a crisis-filled world.

The truth about the fundamental nature of reality could be said to be the ultimate goal of science, as well as religion (as long as their objectives remain unfettered by political and economic control). Experiments trying to prove that the concept of God is only biochemical …have failed… in fact, a higher power does appear to exist, just as religion has traditionally taught. To deny this at this point would be a dismissal of the much scientific and religious evidence to the contrary—and the psychosocial evidence that certain people have had experiences proving this to themselves (albeit subjectively; not only Jesus, the Buddha, and other famous spiritual leaders and shamans, but also–psychologists are finding–many more common people; those who have had such experiences often can inspire others to believe).

Similarly, disregarding evidence that we were meant to live in harmony with nature and other living creatures—for example, the evidence that we were not meant to eat animals (which we will examine in this book)—is also dismissing an essential truth about life.  Hence, we are in danger of missing the ultimate truth, while “scientifically” amassing piles of facts, “truths”, about our world.

Further, the Paradise Principle ought to be embraced by the scientific among us because current world society must not only recognize that we have a deep connection to all other living things, but that we have a natural (innate, archetypal, spiritual) sense of morality and our place in the universe (and hence psychosocial consequences for ignoring our innate knowledge and feelings). Psychologists and educators have already begun to recognize the existence of innate moral knowledge (for example, Kohlberg’s/Turiel’s stages of moral reasoning), but this area should be carefully examined and refined, particularly with regard to our innate sense of the wisdom of killing other living creatures and of treating our environment like a throwaway play toy (to put it crassly). Moreover, we are in danger of (and already have been) teaching our children to live a technological, resource-wasting, murderous life that abandons the need to care for our natural resources, animals, and certain human beings, as well as our own humanity.

Unfortunately, we must recognize that the drive for power and money has often perverted our true desires along with valid science and that these twin problems are not going away easily.  Unless we admit to the truths behind the Paradise Principle, create a societal scientific and religious paradigm shift, and take action to preserve scientific integrity, our modern science may have to be abandoned altogether as a purveyor of absolute truth, and as a method for creating the (energy, technological, social, economic, political, healthcare, etc) alternatives that the world needs now.*

The mental, spiritual, social, and physical suffering we and other living creatures are going through as the result of both the destruction of Paradise (the natural environment) and the animal-killing and abuse that occurs in the animal product industry is positive in the sense that it is meant to “slingshot”  us back toward a natural human life. That is, to deeply motivate us to move back to a live of paradise, of living in harmony with other living creatures and with ourselves. If we make the right choices now, we will reach untold levels of happiness for all.

Hence, in all of the darkness that we are experiencing—in increasing physical and mental illness in the world, in tragic childhood disorders such as autism (which we will discuss in chapter 4), and in the traumas of the consequences of environmental destruction and social discord —we can find a ray of hope. That is, we can choose to take these lessons to heart about how to treat our natural world–and how to deal with our own inner natures, animals, and each other—and help to change our world.

In this and the following chapters, we will study the animal-caretaker archetype. We will see, through the study of anthropology, how veganism is rooted in our ancient past and has gone in and out of cultural “style” throughout history. We will also examine the ethical reasons people are choosing veganism and the horrible physical and mental consequences of carnivorism, which separates us from both Mother Nature and our own human nature….




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