Activism · My humble opinions

The one on beauty

This is not an article about the beauty of the universe or the beauty of arts. This may not even be an article about beauty at all. It is about ugliness. Sorry for the disappointing title, it is more catchy that way, believe me. And it will be long. I will use these words as binary exclusive and objective traits : beautiful people – meaning physically attractive, as defined by the standards of our culture – and ugly people – as not fitting these standards. The standards are typically harmonious facial and body features, and they exclude most ethnical features*, disabilities and malformations, disproportionate hights and corpulences to name a few.

sculpture_beauty

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My humble opinions · Pure information · Self-development

The one on reality

This is the short version of the article. If you have time for the longer version, click here. I would like to address a few sociological concerns of mine regarding the pursuit of reality. I believe that since the ideas in our head control our whole lives, it is important to question where they originate.

They can come from us conforming to the group in fear of standing out, or simply because we don’t have the time and the means necessary to verify each information ourselves. We must then often rely on more qualified authorities to do so (officials, scientists, journalists …). Also, the more ambiguous a situation is, the more people are likely to go against what they already know. This influence is exploited by information sources and may result in people losing their self-awareness.

conformity

Furthermore, the majority of people agree on a consensus reality that is heavily spread through mainstream and social media. However, the centralization and the censorship of these prevent them from being reliable sources of information. That there is general agreement upon something does not make it true.

Finally, another issue arises when people project their desires on to reality, or their perceptions of reality. A false belief has the power to shape our behaviour in a way that that belief becomes true in the end. A typical everyday example is when a teacher has low expectations for a student and transmits his perception to the student, so that the student performs worse than s.he otherwise would.

If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.

What I wished to bring out in this article were the dangers of consensus reality and of confusing the perception of reality with reality itself. Relying on authorities is inevitable, but we mustn’t lose our self-awareness. It is important not to act upon inconsistent thoughts or beliefs, and to be skeptical when using mainstream and social media. Not to confuse skepticism and denial.

Clicking on “Continue reading” will open the original full version of the article, with a longer introduction and more illustrated information, and the references that helped me to write it.

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Activism · My humble opinions · Veganism 101

The one on habit

I would like – so much – to share with you many of my thoughts and opinions on several topics, and I seem to have trouble finding a good way of introducing simply these things that I have been working on for so long. I have some of your questions up my sleeve, and I hope to surprise you (and myself) with a long interesting article in the upcoming week, that has nothing to do with this one. Meanwhile, I’d like to start a series of 5 short (I promise) articles to present the 5 basic reasons why people are not vegan – to be distinguished from excuses*.

  1. Habit

Do you ever question things you do in your daily life, that were taught to you by your beloved family, or your school ? Surely you must disagree sometimes. If you are questioning social constructs, at some point you must be questioning your habit of eating dead animals. You can certainly find many self-development ressources about changing your habits efficiently, if that is your issue* * *.

Addictions (mainly to sugar and/or dairy products) may be a bit more difficult to overcome, but in my own experience with both, it does not take long when you truly believe in what you advocate. In the past, I have already tried eating less, or differently, and it was never 100% fructuous as it only involved my own health and my own esthetics. I am no superhuman. But just as for not eating a human corpse, once I know the impact I have, and the amount of victims it involves (even if morally it only takes one), it became almost automatic. When I was tempted by a wonderful desert, it only took a second or two to remind myself of everything it took to make that desert.

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Activism · Pure information · Veganism 101

The one on plants

In this article, I would like to go back on an excuse of non-vegan people that I have heard. I don’t mean “excuse” in a judgemental way. On the contrary, a lack of information does not make a person bad. However, after observing the thinking process of misinformed people when announcing them “you are vegan”, a pattern is undeniable : a mix of guilt (usually not coming from the vegan person) and survival instinct leads to protecting oneself with excuses. So I won’t call them otherwise. Many convinced and now informed vegans did ask themselves the same questions.

“Plants also feel pain. Killing plants is still killing.”

Assuming that slicing a carrot and the throat of a cow involves the same amount of suffering, it is first important to remember that 16 times more plants (in weigh) are killed in the production of animal products than vegan products. Close to 70% of the deforestation in the Amazon rainforest is linked to cattle ranching. In France, 46% of all plants produced are used to feed the animals to be eaten, while only 26% are for human nutrition. One cow is fed with approximately 70 kg of plants per day! So in order to minimize the killing of all living beings, a plant-based diet is still much more viable than an omnivore one.

plants

However, the assumption made previously – that plants feel pain – lacks substance, and does not justify the actual pain inflicted on non-human animals.

Clicking on “Continue reading” will open two very important sections that I intended to start my article with, but I ended up highlighting the pain “minimization” aspect of the vegan movement.

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Activism · My humble opinions

The one on radicalism

Do you think being a radical or an extremist is necessary, or is it rather dangerous ? Do you think moderating your speech is the best way for making a change ? I have been called a radical in my opinions and an extremist in my acts. Putting aside the pejorative meaning of these terms, I came to agree that I am radical … and so should everybody else.

I notice the words “radical” and “extreme” are used in a very ignorant way, pejoratively, and so perceived by most people as negative. Radical people pursue a complete reform, they fight an issue at its roots, while extremists hold political views that exceed the ordinary, or the reasonable according to common interpretations. Now that the definitions are settled …

In our society, people are expected to moderate their speech in fear of coming out as intolerant, or narrow-minded. The ruling powers, as represented in mainstream media and educating systems for example, do not encourage us to take positions, and lead us to adopt a passive behaviour. So they cultivate this moderation – or as I like to call it, mediocrity.

Yet moderation does not often lead to real tangible changes. Every social change in History was promoted by radical movements, with ideas that were considered extremist at that time : democracy, racial justice, labor movements, abolitionnist movements …

Revolutions make evolutions.

In fact, being radical means being coherent in your opinions, being logical, upright. It means fighting a problem at its roots, instead of hiding behind “normality” and a moderated speech. Tolerating an opinion that you believe is wrong does not only not lead to progression, but also approves the current state of things.

Actually, extremism is already present everywhere around us. Our opinions are not flexible – not moderated – on murder, on rape, on torture. We are radical about these subjects, because they involve a victim. In some countries, these are accepted by the legislation, but it does not mean we have to tolerate them, and be passive about it. We protest against these practices because it is not their freedom to do so.

One person’s freedom ends where another’s begins.

Our behaviours are extreme as well : (over)consumption is extreme, the life and death conditions of animals are extreme, capitalism is extreme, racism is extreme in some places … Extreme acts are only called so when society decides it, more particularly when it pleases the ego of the privileged.

To summarize, denying our opinions to tolerate the ideas of the privileged is a superficial behaviour that will not solve the problem, but only interfere with the movement. Being radical only means being coherent and logical when you truly believe in something, and it is the least we can do at our level. The real change in mentalities begins with us, through indignation and rebellion, toward the changes we want to see in the system.

radicalism

Clicking on “Continue reading” will open the original full version of the article, with more precise and illustrated information, and the references that helped me to write it.

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