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October 19, 2012: I used to be a vegetarian

Originally posted on this blog.

Back in September, I met several people who "used to be a vegetarian", but no longer were. Generally speaking, there are many reasons someone becomes a vegetarian, and many reasons why someone stops being one. One thing I'm pretty sure of, though, is that anyone who stopped being a vegetarian never fully connected to what we Effaists call Animal Empathy Enlightenment, and to its principal effect, a true and deep-seated empathy for other animals. People who become vegetarians because it's fashionable, to impress someone, or other such reasons, obviously often fall out of the lifestyle as quickly as they fell into it. What's important to remember, however, is that without the AEE, even those who become a vegetarian for health or environmental reasons (both very valid concerns) risk being knocked off their path if their foundation is not strong enough. They might read a new report on the "health benefits of eating meat", or buy into the idea that sticking to free-range products is "good enough", etc.

People who have truly connected to their AEE do not get knocked off their path. A true realization of the unfairness of our current treatment of other animals and the resulting empathy are not temporary phenomena. They last a lifetime. Apart from this, they produce an incredibly strong, almost unshakable conviction, one that bypasses fashion, "news", and any other worldly thing that might sway someone of a lesser conviction. For people who feel this true, permanent empathy, questions such as "are you still a vegetarian" seem as ridiculous as asking if their heart is still beating, or if their brain is still working. The compassion we feel flows through our blood. We are part of it and it is part of us. Much like enlightenment, this phenomenon is hard to explain to people who have not attained it. What is important is that we try to take steps to attain this level of empathy, even small ones, and even if it seems "unreal" or unconvincing at first. Why? Because compassion is progress, and a truly compassionate way of life leads to a better, fairer world for all.

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