An audacious call to ethical visionaries to shed moral camouflage
Yes, I am with Whitehead that processes not objects best describe reality. We can only grind the neuronal roads we drive, to love, ambition and survival, into impassable pits of self-sabotage if we don’t wake up to the inherent aspirations hidden in our every movement onward.
Aspirations are absolute, no one aspires to live in limbo, but aspiring is a journey of trial and error. To be ethical is a purgatorial process, but this purgatory cannot give rise to heaven unless heaven is the point. I am saying that although the ethic must be absolute, the processes that lead us towards that goal are complex and incremental.
To this end, I think it is important to concretize ethical veganism so that it is self-consistent with the goal of valuing life as an end in itself; and exposing wishful thinking, unconscious biases, and all forms of moral camouflage.
Unless we agree that where we want to be is a place where there can be no more giving of currency to products and practices that provide the incentives for injustice, we will only create more of the very wrongs we are trying to set right.
To one generation so-called “vegan leather” may be revolutionary and cool, to the next real leather will be the epitome of style because it is authentic, and round and round. This hypothetical cycle parallels how greenwashing undermines ethical goals by using environmental words for economic ends. So, the term “vegan leather” gives moral camouflage to leather. If it were consistently vegan it would simply be called vegan fabric, or vegan anti-leather which would be made to look nothing like actual leather.
We cannot fault those who used to be veg but return to meat or buy fur if we provide no consistent roadmap towards a new sense of taste and style that do not feed into the aesthetics of injustice.
Yes, it is beyond the means of the 99% to immediately eliminate all our actual and fake meat, animal and faux fur, wool, real and imitation dairy, leather and imitation leather etc. from our lives; but actively aspiring to a world with values not based on aesthetics of injustice, is how we can start to strip away the moral camouflage that hinders any lasting change.
We can celebrate our process as imperfect hopetarians in good conscience, so long as we are courageous enough to wake up every day and refocus our moral compass on the new and beautiful world where life itself will be the source of all value. Where all living beings will have dignity and innate value in themselves and no one will be an object for the use of another, because we know that to devalue any life is to devalue every life.
I am not talking about being perfect today, just about setting a clear course for a non-zero-sum future, where we all win together, and owning the intention to walk that uncomfortable, unpopular and untrodden path until it is worn into the culture and becomes a new trail to a happy, healthy, sustainable and life-affirming world!
The above expands on a previous post: The faux fur, imitation meat, and leather dilemma.