Archive for May, 2010

THE VEGAN PARADISE; THE PARADISE PARADIGM AND DIET: SAVING OUR PLANET, OUR HEALTH AND OUR SOULS

May 19, 2010

In my book, Vegan Paradise, I discuss the possibility our world was designed to be a beautiful, harmonious place in which people live in harmony with Mother Nature and all of her children. Over twenty years ago, when I became vegan in California and began writing and teaching about veganism, noone I knew was vegan. I was thought mad to be considering cutting animal products out of my diet, and I certainly could not even begin to convince anyone that Mother Nature meant people to be vegan. Now veganism has exploded around the world, much has been written about it, and no end appears in sight. Also, over twenty years later, in my late 40’s, I still have the figure of my youth, am unusually healthy, and have raised two healthy vegan sons. I want to help others to understand the many reasons for becoming vegan, to have tools for veganizing their lives, and to have the spiritual wisdom about veganism that I have, which are the main reasons I wrote this book, The Vegan Paradise. For over twenty years, I have been educating families, friends, and local organizations about veganism, and writing a book about it was a natural outgrowth of my teaching.
If you do not know already, veganism is the philosophy that the killing of other living creatures–be they animals or people–is not natural, and that we must do what we can to avoid participating in it. More and more people in cosmopolitan places are choosing veganism and/or switching from a meat-based diet to a plant-based diet, and trying to eat more raw, unprocessed (“whole”), and organic vegan foods. In my book, The Vegan Paradise: How the Paradise Paradigm and Diet Can Save Our Planet, Our Health, and Our Souls, I explore not only the latest health research about animal products (meat/fish, eggs and dairy), but also look at the latest ethical, environmental, psychological and spiritual reasons people are choosing veganism. I relate the philosophical shift in our dietary choices to the larger paradigm shift necessarily underway in our society to deal with the current techno-capitalist crises in economics, natural resource depletion, the wastefulness of big agribusiness, as well as the erosion of our health and psychospiritual selves.
The Vegan Paradise (whose short title will soon change to Vegan Paradise) proposes that we may have been designed through our genetic and psychological make-up, to emotionally desire to live in harmony with nature (an archetypal phenomena known as biophilia), and in particular to deeply want to live in harmony with, and care for, animals. I term this caring for animals “faunophilia” (as it would be a subcategory, along with love of plants, “florophilia”, of biophilia).
This is possibly one reason that the technological, meat-eating Western world has more severe mental health problems than the Eastern world. In my book, I use the model of the recent “elegant design” theory, to show how our minds, our bodies and our natural food system were logically and beautifully designed by an intelligent, ethereal source–which could be termed the “divine” or “universal consciousness”—to create a system in which plants, animals, and people live harmoniously. I use scientific, health and ecological statistics, as well as a summary of various world religious/spiritual beliefs to support this idea, which I term the “Paradise Paradigm or Paradise Principle/ Theory” . This theory—which is creating a huge paradigm shift in science, spirituality, and natural history–also holds that, at one time, the world was a literal paradise, a Garden of Eden, in which humans generally lived in peace with nature, animals, and our souls—surviving largely on a vegan diet. My chapter on the religious and spiritual implications of this theory covers consideration of Eastern, Western and indigenous people’s ancient beliefs and practices surrounding animals.
When I began thinking about saving animals’ and people’s lives by educating people about veganism, I started realizing how much of a divine gift sentient life is, for both humans and animals; hence, it follows logically how important the lives and feelings of other living creatures ought to be to all of us. Our lives as well as animals’ lives are here for higher purposes than most of us (if any of us) realize, and in being raised to be our food, especially today on factory-farms, animals suffer tremendously, unnecessarily, and more than most of us could ever possibly know. Unfortunately, the Western social paradigm includes a disrespect for life itself, and a repression of our bio- and faunophilia (as our increasingly destructive wars and brutality towards both animals and humans prove), despite the teachings of many ancient spiritual leaders. Most importantly, when we eat plant food, we show respect for the lives of animals, and help animals avoid unnecessary suffering.
In Part One of Vegan Paradise, I also outline the Paradise Paradigm and Theory, discuss how a needed paradigm shift towards living a more natural and compassionate life is already beginning to happen—and the reasons this shift must include veganism and a massive effort to recreate a vegan paradise on earth. I discuss possible solutions for the worldwide food, economic and natural resource crises related to our consumption of animal products and the model of big agribusiness. I touch on how veganism relates to the permaculture, alternative mental health, and raw food movements, as well as how the principles of a deeper psychology–a la deep ecology–can help us to begin relating to farm animals in a more natural and compassionate way. I show how choosing veganism is above all about being compassionate.
Vegan Paradise is intended, in part, to be a companion guide or “how-to” manual for those attempting to be or to become vegan in a place which may or may not be vegan-friendly. Toward this end, Part Two of this book offers psychological and social tips on making your conversion to veganism easier. I discuss how to help convert oneself, as well as one’s family and/or friends, to the vegan diet, including how to change your own favorite recipes into vegan ones. Here, I also share ideas for designing your own vegan social group and/or educational workshops, discuss the latest nutritional information, and provide a vegan “shopping list” and over 100 tried and true vegan recipes. I hope you will read and benefit from Vegan Paradise, which is currently available under the title “The Vegan Paradise”, at http://www.lulu.com (search for “The Vegan Paradise” in their products list; allow 3-5 days for delivery) or by contacting me at epiphany7@hotmail.com. I also hope you have many years of health, guilt-free eating, and psychospiritual peace ahead of you!

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THE VEGAN PARADISE PARADIGM

May 12, 2010

 

THE SCIENTIFIC ECOSPIRITUAL PERSPECTIVE ON VEGANISM: THE VEGAN PARADISE PARADIGM

Our world was designed to be a beautiful, harmonious place in which people live in harmony with Mother Nature and all of her children, including those animals which we now abuse and slaughter for food and other commercial products. This theory, which has been promoted by various thinkers throughout history and even more so today, encompasses and extends the limits of Western spirituality, philosophy and science. It implies that the earth and all its inhabitants have the potential to live in peace and harmony now if we make the right choices about how to treat animals, each other and the natural world. For our diets and lifestyles, it implies that we at least abstain from eating meat (including fish, of course), dairy and eggs, if not that we try to recreate a paradise on earth in our own surroundings in whatever way we can.

Related to “Systems” (or “Elegant design”) theories, what could be termed the “Benign Divine Design” or “Paradise Principle”, postulates that not only does a “grand designer” exist behind reality and in every part of nature’s design, but that one time in ancient history, humans were vegan, in general. When the ancient spiritual literature from around the world is examined with an eye for how people in ancient times were taught to approach animals, we see much indication that ancient spiritual leaders taught their followers to be vegan. We also see that humans probably started out living with a consciousness more closely tied to nature, animals and their souls. Surprisingly, it appears that we were actually vegans, generally–rather than hunters and gatherers–in our ancient past.

Environmental statistics also indicate that the raising of animals for food has led to much misery–desertification and water and air pollution (for example, it is the number one cause of water pollution and desertification in the Western United States, and the fifth leading cause of global warming). Finally, the health statistics increasingly indicate that our bodies were meant to be vegan; the avoidance of cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes and even autism has been linked to the vegan diet.

Interestingly, I have come to the conclusion also that a surprisingly large amount of Western society’s mental health problems can be linked significantly to the large amount of animal products we eat. Psychologists (Jungians, for example) have shown how a collective unconscious joins living creatures together; we have what is termed an “animal” archetype, related to the hero’s horse in ancient European myths or the Ganesh or Hanuman of Hindu stories. What I call the “animal-caretaker” archetype is related: humans have an innate way of relating to animals, we care for them and have emotions for them. This indicates that our mental, emotional and psychospiritual selves are affected by the suffering that we cause animals, even if the animal-caretaker (faunophilia archetype) is repressed. Biologists such as Harvard’s Edward Wilson and deep ecologists like Joanna Macy (Thinking Like a Mountain) have also shown how we are psychospiritually connected to nature and animals, how we need nature and animals and how they need us—our need for nature Wilson termed “biophilia”.

Biophilia could be broken down into several categories: one might be “florophilia” (attraction to plants); another I have named “faunophilia” , the animal-caretaker archetype, or attraction to animals. Because we have this natural attraction to animals, we naturally do not want to participate in the killing or abuse of animals. Again, studies have shown that the repression of this innate need which occurs on a massive levels in the West (such as the thought that farm animals have no feelings) may lead to some of the violence and mental distress in our culture.

The current state of disrespect for life, be it human or animal, calls for a new paradigm in our culture, one based on honoring the natural world, honoring life itself, compassion for others and living by the deeper principles of veganism, true science and our spirituality. Perhaps this paradigm could be facetiously termed the Benign Divine Design Paradigm, or the Paradise Paradigm, but whatever it is called, it must occur. We have everything at stake.