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December 31, 2012: A resolution of sacrifice, taking a step back from our selfishness

Originally posted on this blog.

The word "sacrifice" has different connotations (both positive and negative) for different people. For Effaists it is an important part of our philosophy. Sacrifice, for us, is an antidote to selfishness, a way to spread our love and compassion to other beings around us; a way to stop focusing only on our own needs, desires, and whims, and to help others to live a better life.

We often avoid helping others that are suffering because it is not convenient for us. We do not want to adopt a dog from a shelter because that would mean we would have to actually give up some of our free time to walk this dog; or because it would make traveling more difficult; or because it would require us to spend some of our precious money on someone else. We abandon our pets because we feel it is too much of a hassle to keep them. We do not want to give up eating meat because we enjoy the taste. We donít want to worry about giving money to shelters because it would mean that we donít have enough money for our own needs (though these "needs" might just mean a couple of extra beers at the bar). All of these things represent a selfish approach to life. A person who is in tune with our philosophy will sacrifice his/her time to help a stray dog. This person will never abandon his pet. This person will cut down on, or avoid meat and animal products, because s/he will realize that the meat and dairy industry are responsible for the death and suffering of innocent animals. This person will donate a percentage of his/her disposable income to a charity that helps the less fortunate of the world, whether they be humans or animals.

Effaists believe that there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking a step back from a self-centered existence to help other sentient beings. In fact, we think it is necessary, in order to improve the world, to sacrifice a little bit of our own comfort to provide comfort to someone else. Giving, helping, sharing Ė these things will not only alleviate the pain of others around us, they will alleviate our own pain, both by making us focus a little less on our own little world, and by instilling us with a feeling of fulfillment from the positive impact we have on the lives of others. You are often told that it's OK to just worry about yourself and your immediate family. We prefer to open our hearts up to the greater suffering in the world. As Effaists, we see our relationship with the rest of the animal world to be one of the biggest problems in the world today, one that causes an immense amount of suffering daily. In our philosophy, the suffering that we cause other animals has negative consequences both for ourselves and for the world around us. This is why we stress this so much. That said, we view any direct action that one takes to improve the lives of the innocents of the world as positive, and we encourage you to make 2013 the year when you act to affect positive change.

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