Mental Health and Veganism

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 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 naturally care 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 O. 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—Wilson termed this emotion “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—or compassion for– 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 (which is helped by the notion 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 life itself, compassion for others’ right to be alive and the deeper principles of veganism, our science and our spirituality. We know this innately;  it is a natural concept and  “rings true”. Perhaps this new paradigm could be facetiously termed the Benign Divine Design Paradigm, or the Vegan Paradise Paradigm, but whatever it is called, the shift toward it must occur,  first in our consciousness and then in our collective action, for the sake of our psychospiritual and physical health, the animals and our planet. Our minds won’t let us forget that fact!

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