29 June, 2008

What Does it Mean to Do "Enough"?

Hey Everyone,

P_M here again, this time with a specific user in mind, so if someone with the s/n "anastasia" is reading this then thank you for your review of my last post and this is for you.

The question I'm answering today is a bit specific. I personally cannot tell you, the individual reader I've never met, what it means for you to do "enough" for the the sake of the billions of non-humans that face death and exploitation everyday on this planet. I can't tell you what to do or how to do it, because lets face it, if I did I'd be a stuck up power mad authoritarian jerk or just a person with way too high an opinion of herself and an overestimation of her influence. That said ,what I can do is give you some questions to ask yourself next time you feel hopeless or powerless.

Next time you watch an Animal Rights video and get that feeling like you aren't doing enough, ask yourself these questions, and remember... "enough" is standard based on love. Think about it. If someone you love almost if not more than yourself gets sick, enough becomes no less than everything you can possibly do to comfort and assist them, right? But if one those distant relatives whose names you'd forget if they weren't on your Christmas card list gets sick, enough might be a prayer and cheap get-well card. If you want to get technical about it "enough" also has a bit to do with the severity of the situation, our moral responsibilities to other beings and other factors but, as I happen to be a bit sentimental right now, I'll say that love has a bit to do with how a person looks at those other factors. (you may feel free to agree or roll your eyes at me, but since you're still reading this I can only assume that on some level you care what I think)

Any way, These are the questions that you should ask yourself to help you assess whether or not your doing enough for the cause of Animal Rights.

1. Am I vegan? - step one to taking down animal oppression is always a bit obvious (STOP SUPPORTING IT). this is the one I'd insist on. No, vegetarian isn't gonna cover it. No, don't even step to me with "cage free" "humanely raised" "read fairy-tales to and cuddled before killed" products. Going vegan is the "prayer and cheap get-well card" equivalent from my example, using the example of a sick person, anything less ranges from ignoring them to slapping them.

2. What good am I doing already by just answering yes to the first question?
3. Knowing the answer to the previous question, do i feel the need to do more? - remember this one

(If you answered yes to the last question keep on reading, if it was no, congrats your doing enough for you)

4. What do I feel comfortable doing ( leafleting, feed-ins, screenings of AR films ect.)?
5. Am I doing it and doing it effectively to inform the public of what they are supporting (factory farming, animal agriculture, legalized murder/torture) and what they can do to help stop it ( go vegan)?
6.Am I making time to do non-activism related activities that I love and other things ( like eating and sleeping as i should and not abusing the animal that I can help the most (yourself)?
7. What good am I doing by answering "yes" to question 5?
8. repeat question 3 and note in ( ) that follows it
9. If you answered yes to question 5 and still feel that you must do more, (which, if you did what i asked in #8, and are still reading is the case) Is there anything else I can actually do? - get creative.
10. Can I do it without answering "no" to question 6?

If at any point in time you answer "no" to question 6, stop!!! You're doing too much. you're probably a wonderful person to feel such a need to help, but if you burn out...well...how much can you really help anyone?

Don't let anyone (yourself included) make you feel like a bad person or a lazy activist because your definition of enough involves less activism than someone-else's. And you're not obsessed or radical if "enough" for you means doing more than others either. Like I said, It's a standard measured in love, and any amount of love, or effort, is important and has meaning far greater than what we can see in the moment.

I hope this helps,
yours ( because doing this is part of my "enough"),

PS. anastasia, don't give up the art if you love it. It'll keep you sane. Thanks again (for the idea for this post)

1 comment:

  1. Hey! Thanks a lot for posting this. I had to re-read it a couple of times and let some time go by, but now I can finally answer you P_M :)

    I am surely not one of those no-life-activist type of people, even though sometimes I feel I should be and/or would like to be. My approach is more subtle. In fact, I try to avoid any kind of direct confrontation with anyone I feel is skeptical about veganism, not to mention animal rights issues. I guess I prefer just being a happy healthy vegan and thus a living proof that it is in fact possible to change, in stead of lecturing people who would not react very well to the "vegangelism"...
    I figure that if someone is intrigued or interested, they will come and ask me questions or go and read my blog and so far so good.

    As for the wider-range activism like leafletting or organizing screenings: I would love to do that. But! There is no such thing as animal rights movement/organization in my university or in my town. I actually still haven't found any other vegans around here. And doing all this on my own somehow seems not only overwhelming but also a senseless waist of energy. I've tried handing out leaflets to people I know, but my friends refuse to even read a little flyer on being vegetarian or watch a film like "Sharkwater" together with me...

    So the feeling of not doing enough -in my case - is due to not being able to join forces with anyone. But even if this will not change, I'll still continue being an example of the possible alternative. And you are right - being vegan is already quite a huge step.. Thanks again for reminding me this!!