I am one of the biggest sceptics you will ever meet.
The reason for this is that I used to be a New Age addict.
Spending hundreds of Euros on books about angels and manifesting, attending workshops on the topic of co-creating with God and listening to hours of interviews with the biggest charlatans in the world (I’m looking at you Abraham Hicks) was my hobby.
I share this with you because today I am looking at the seven deadly sins that some of us learnt about by reading various Christian books (for fun, I was thankfully raised by two non-religious people).
Although these sins will not send you to hell, they do present challenges in our lives – just think of envy and gluttony.
I am not a theologian, obviously, and my knowledge of the world’s religions comes from reading Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, but I want to try and see how vegans can deal with the seven deadly sins.
I really don’t know how I thought of this topic but here I am, doing something different. I hope it entertains you but also, I hope it helps you do better in life.
Here is how vegans can deal with the seven deadly sins:
- Lust, or desire for power over others.
If we had power over others, we could close all slaughterhouses, punish those who exploit our fellow animals and mandate that all stores can only sell plant-based products.
If we let lust for power take over our mind, we can find ourselves fantasising of dictatorship and taking away people’s freedom to choose.
Lust is not always about desiring a body, it is also a desire to control someone or something. Being able to make someone do whatever you want – like Loki’s Scepter.
Lust for dominance, even if you think for a good reason, is not a healthy way to approach activism or the vegan lifestyle in general.
Dive to the source of this desire and find what triggered this lust for the ultimate power over people you might be feeling. Perhaps you feel like you lack power over your own choices so you want to have it over those (people) whose choices you disagree with.
- Gluttony, or eating too much food
Let’s be brutally honest about food for a second, okay?
It’s good, it’s tasty and it makes us feel better when things are going to hell. It is fucking delicious to eat when our heart hurts and the world is dark.
Food is so good that when we walk into a store and see 10 new vegan brands that were definitely not there yesterday, we are willing to spend a small fortune on them.
We give excuses that make no sense; from well I am supporting vegan products to well I am not vegan for health.
We just want to eat all the time! Although food is fuel and we need energy, there exists a line that if crossed can create some very unhealthy relationships with the act of eating and our body image.
Start being honest about your relationship with food.
Journal about how you feel when you chew and swallow, count your meals to see if you are addicted to eating, give away junk food to your friends and for the love of everything beautiful, find a therapist if this is a genuine problem you have.
- Greed, or wanting more than one needs.
I wanted to say a thing or two about minimalism and how well it fits with veganism, but I want to stay on topic.
So let’s talk about the greed I am noticing with animal rights activists and their online numbers.
Indeed, there are people who dedicated their life to speaking up for the innocent but their greedy side comes out when it comes to growing a social media presence.
This deadly sin causes them to start unnecessary drama, provoke the peaceful, use clickbait titles, and buy followers and likes. The reason behind these silly actions? They think the higher the number the more important and admirable they are.
If we can just reach that magical number of one million we would finally matter as activists and our message would be more important… if only.
Stop comparing yourself to other activists and repeat these words: my worth does not depend on how many people follow me on Instagram.
What helps tremendously is if you unfollow everyone who you deem better than yourself. Just click the button and remove their presence from your feed.
Focus on your work and why you started. There is nothing wrong with being ambitious and wanting a business, but your talent and knowledge do not magically grow when you get a bigger audience.
Don’t be greedy, be grateful that you have the ability to share your story with people in the first place. Not everyone has the privilege of doing that.
- Sloth, or laziness to help each other.
This doesn’t apply to those who are suffering from a serious mental or physical illness.
This applies to vegans who know what is happening to dairy cows and primates in circuses, and who are too damn lazy to go out and do something about it.
I don’t usually get this angry on my blog but we most likely wouldn’t be so passive if we knew that our neighbour is sexually assaulting her children. Yet here we are, watching movies and pretending there is nothing we can do about animal cruelty.
The saddest thing is that we are probably not even doing anything about people who do abuse children so thinking of cows is the last thing on our minds. We are vegan, isn’t that enough?
Now, you don’t need to be an activist if you don’t want to, but if you changed your eating habits because you were appalled at the cruelty you witnessed, maybe share that knowledge with those around you.
Ask yourself why you don’t feel inspired to speak up for those who are suffering. What is missing from your life that would motivate you to be active in solving this worldwide issue?
The laziness that exists solely because you are convinced you are tired – not for actual medical or psychological reasons – is dangerous. It’s how our lives begin to spiral down.
- Wrath, or feeling intense anger towards animal-eaters.
This sin might be the most widespread of them all, huh? It’s making our blood boil, fists shake and social media becomes a warzone.
Feeling intense anger towards those who still buy animal products and contribute to exploitation, enslavement, abuse and murder of the innocent. Why do they still support this, don’t they know what is happening?
Well, they probably don’t know. And do you actually believe that they deserve to be called disturbing ugly names for not knowing?
Is being called a murderer actually the best way to inspire someone to start eating more plants? Has anyone changed for the better after being humiliated and bullied?
Meditate and practise mindfulness.
Yes, you read that right. I want you to sit down, focus on your breath, repeatedly come back to it and continue doing that for at least 10 minutes.
I wrote at length about the topic of meditation in this post here where you can also see what apps and books I love that are all about how to be more peaceful and less angry.
- Envy, or wanting something that is not ethical.
I promise to not name names but I bet you know of at least one ex-vegan who after gaining popularity went back to eating other animals and became a different person.
They were just your normal vegan gal or pal until papers started falling from the sky and then BOOM they were out there riding horses, buying Chanel and eating salmon.
Their ethics flew out the window because they were envious of the success and fame other pretty social media stars were getting, and vegans sadly don’t have our own version of Chanel that people would go crazy for.
Envy is riding the social media wave and we are cheering for it every minute of every day. The funniest thing is that we do talk about it but we do it while pointing fingers at others and think we are safe from it.
Get honest about where your values are and what you truly desire. If you want to wear a leather bag while riding a camel, question the emotions behind them.
Do you value cruelty and pain? Is the exploitation of your fellow animals truly something you want to support? Why the sudden change?
Envy is not scientifically proven to be helpful when it comes to human happiness so why do you trust it so much? Most importantly, are you aware that you are envious? The key to solving any problem is acknowledging it is there in the first place.
- Pride, or believing vegans are better than other people.
Oooh this one is big.
Have you ever listened to a dairy farmer defend all the raping and exploitation of the cows? What was your reaction?
Or maybe some other situation triggered pride, that feeling of being better than others for not paying for murder and abuse. What was it and if you never felt it, were you ever close to it?
This is not about morality or ethics and whether or not vegans score higher on either of the two – it’s all subjective anyway. This is about having a basic understanding of how people react to violence when they’ve been living with it for decades.
Maybe vegans are making more ethical choices when buying food, but is this because we are better people or because we were shown the truth?
You know what Maya Angelou said: Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.
Look at old photographs of yourself and ponder on how much you’ve grown in these past few years and decades. You used to be just like people you now judge.
Also, are you satisfied with all your decisions? Are you trying to do your best in every area of your life? I will take the liberty of assuming you are not a perfect human being.
So take a minute every day to take a deep breath and remind yourself that vegans are just trying to do our best, but we are not above others.
Whoa, I feel nasty just reading these words and remembering how many of them I indulged in today.
Listen, this is not about striving to be pure and good, because I pray to Loki we move away from this old-school way of seeing humanity and individuals. Pleasure is not a sin.
But there is also the other side, right. The side where we acknowledge that some of our pleasures are unhealthy, harmful or dangerous. It’s okay to do that (acknowledge), you are not bad (usually).
The reason I focused on vegans in this post is that I see our community as pretty interesting to study. Many believe being vegan makes them incredibly moral and superior, and it makes me laugh.
That’s why I went to the source of where we make our bad decisions from – to lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride.
P.s. – I searched for a longer description of what each sin means on Wikipedia so if you want to know why I used a certain example, you can probably find the answer there.
P.s.s. – Remember, this is meant to be an entertaining, but helpful, post and I don’t actually believe we are sinning as I am an atheist.