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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Activism · My humble opinions · Veganism 101

The one on tradition

If enough people repeat a lie enough times, then the lie becomes part of the culture. When the lie is transmitted through the generations, it becomes tradition.

Traditions are the third reason why a person does not commit to veganism. They are not innate, nor natural, but we learn them from our family and our society. Many of them are not harmful (at least not directly), like policemen’s uniforms, gift exchange on Christmas, or folk art, while others perpetuate archaic immoral behaviours, such as early marriage or female genital mutilations. Being part of a tradition or a culture is often used to justify these transgressions, but it doesn’t make them any less harmful for the victims. Fortunately, our society condemns the examples I gave.

But we still need to open our eyes on many others. Bullfighting, foie gras on Christmas, dog meat festivals in parts of Asia, European hunting traditions, wearing fur … All traditions involving someone’s pain that we were taught to ignore. As children, our instinct was to protect animals and play with them, but our feelings of love towards them were suppressed in favor of capitalism. Not that all children’s acts based on instincts are necessarily good ideas.

This is why I strongly suggest questioning the origins of what we know as true, our habits and traditions, especially if they are destructive. I recently wrote an article on reality* suggesting three sources : our tendency to conform to the group, our research of a social consensus, and the projection of our desires and our perceptions of reality on reality itself.

Reflecting on culture and traditions shapes our critical thinking, open-mindedness, empathy, and is an important step for the evolution of Humanity.

You can click on “Continue reading” if you are interested in my short response to tradition being used as an excuse, and why it is irrelevant.

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Feminism 101 · My humble opinions · Veganism 101

The one on mother’s day

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there ! In recent years, my thoughts on this special day have often drifted from the actual celebration. I have thought about it from my feminist, or a consumerist point of view, but this is not what I want to talk about today. Today, I wish to have a special thought for these other women.

The woman who wished she were a mum, but couldn’t. Asking her when she plans on having her baby, will only deepen her pain. Pain from a disease that she does not want to share with you. Pain from a financial situation that is not suitable for raising a child. Pain from a society that will not equally accept an LGBT+ person to raise one.

But she might also feel none of these. She might be one of the women who simply do not desire having a child. And our society is not as tolerant with her. She has less value as a woman than a mother, because it is still in people’s mentalities that women are supposed to want and have children. Her freedom of choice and her own values are belittled by implying that she has not met the right man yet. Her identity as an adult is stripped when being said that she is not mature enough and that she will eventually change her mind.

One in seven European women and one in five American women will not have children, by choice or by circumstance. Their lives do not matter less than the ones of mothers and they do not need to have children to lead fulfilling and altruistic lives. I would actually question the reasons why some women want to have children rather than the opposite, which is independent from the fact that I am sure most women truly love their children.

Finally, I wouldn’t like to forget the billions of mothers that nobody thinks about on Mother’s Day. The mothers who love their children so much, but whose babies are taken away from them by strangers to suffer a more dreadful fate. The mothers whose motherhood is exploited for unnecessary human profit. The mothers whose painful grief will never end.

motherhood

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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

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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