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.


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