A problem doesn’t have to be your mistake, but you are always responsible for how you deal with it.
– Mark Manson
One of my all-time favourite books is “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck”. Big chance you’ve heard of it. The common thread throughout this book is that we have to decide what it is we give a fuck about and work towards that, while shoving all the non-fuckworthy stuff off your FOMO-list. It’s a gem.
I just started reading it for the third time (oh the pleasures of having a forgetful brain), but I already know where my fucks go towards. To the planet and all the living beings inhabiting it besides the bald primate that crowned himself the most civilized life form on earth.
Now those smart monkeys are dealing with a problem which is not their fault, but which they are responsible of. As Homo sapiens – literally translated as ‘wise man’ – we are blessed with a bright brain. We can do all sorts of fancy, hyperintelligent tricks with it, such as using language, metacognition and abstract thinking. Skills with which we could make the world a bit of a better place.
But no. Homo sapiens irresponsibilis doesn’t have noble plans with its superbrain. On the contrary: we are abusing our intelligence to use other animal species for our own pleasures, and strip the earth from its natural resources. It’s an eternal tragedy, but apparently no-one’s business.
Animal suffering? Environmental problems? Health issues?
“Not our responsibility,” says the government.
“Not our responsibility,” say the farmers and suppliers.
“Not my responsibility,” you say, as you throw a package of chicken breast in your shopping cart.
We are like Adam and Eve who feast on an entire apple orchard, standing knee-high in the apple cores, all the while still pointing our sticky finger at the snake.
I scream “Yes it IS your responsibility!”, stamping the apple carcasses to apple sauce. This is the whole point. Every time you are choosing what to have for dinner, you are either promoting the rise or fall of animal suffering. And you are one hundred percent responsible for your choice.
Yes but –
No. We have to pull our heads out of the sand. Arguments like “I didn’t know” and “I only buy humanely slaughtered meat” are bullshit. Hamburgers don’t grow on a tree, and animals do not want to die, period. The fact you don’t want to know the story behind your burger is an entirely different thing. You also don’t need meat or fish to survive. And if you can read this you most likely do not live on the Arctic tundra. In the wealthy society we are blessed to live in, you can get food on every street corner, and everyone can grow old and healthy on a plant-based diet.
The two main reasons that the great majority of people isn’t vegan yet is
a) because people value their appetite over the welfare of animals, and/or
b) because people don’t want to take responsibility for their own choices
This is respectively selfish and lazy. I can’t put it in a nicer way.
Now if this offends you, I am not sorry. I am not sorry you refrain from a diet that saves the rainforests from total destruction. I am not sorry for that you waive a lifestyle that helps ending the suffering of billions of animals in factory farms, slaughterhouses and on fishing boats. I am sorry that you do not take your responsibility.
Artists of Not Giving a Fuck
I watch at how the world happily continues with munching on hotdogs and tuna sandwiches. How every day, thousands of animals get burned alive in farm fires, where no one is responsible for. This devastating industry thrives on everyones irresponsibility.
I show people how amazing vegan food can be. Tell them you can florish on a plant-based diet. And explain time and time again why it is completely irrational to treat animals like inferior beings. But it seems like the great majority of people doesn’t even want to change a thing. Most people apparently arrive at the conclusion that they couldn’t care less about how that sausage came to be, as long as it’s there. We are true artists of not giving a fuck. Not doing a fuck about the shit we fucked up.
(Yes that’s Manson’s second book. And I’m not even sponsored.)
Now when I say ‘we’, I mean society in general. There are unicorns out there who do give a shit about more than their taste buds and traditions. Big chance you are one of them, otherwise I don’t know how you’ve made it this far into the article. Then let me tell you something: you are not alone.
There is a revolution going on. Led by people who give a fuck about the world and all sentient beings living on it. They spread the word and call for compassion, while smacking the anthropocentric status quo in the face with reason and science.
If you happen to be one of these people, know that there is hope. A shitload of it. We’re on the winning side of the fight, as the world is slowly waking up. The question is not if we can create a world beyond speciesism, but how long it takes us.
Time means lives. At this very moment, there are millions of animals suffering in the fucked-up system we call farms. We need to get them out of there, and quick. Animals are not ours to use. They have moral rights because they are conscious, just like us.
So don’t you dare to give up hope. Fight for their right, in your own (non-harmful, very important: humans are sentient beings too) way. We’ll do it together. Together we can accelerate the sentientist revolution that creates a world beyond speciesism.
Because we give a fuck.
This post is also available in NL