“I think that’s the crux of the matter,” said Zoe, “How can I get people to see the suffering and the other consequences of their actions without being immediately distracted by other things such as the loss of the hierarchical order or of one’s own accustomed lifestyle? How can I touch people?“
„Why is it connected with the loss of the hierarchical order?“, Liv interjected.
“Imagine if we would actually give our non-human fellow creatures the freedom they are entitled to, that is, to shape their own lives,” Zoe replied, “Then that would mean that people would have to quickly recognize that they are other species not dependent on us. You can do this very well without us. Without this dependency, however, we would no longer have power and as long as we live in a society in which it is self-evident that power is something worth striving for, one will not want to accept this loss. Some lead countries, other corporations, still others believe that they have to exercise their power over women and children and those who do not have all these opportunities have animals. „
„Freedom also means lack of domination,“ Hector sums up accordingly.
„Of course,“ confirmed Zoe, „Empathetic people, whose concern is that every living being can develop according to its abilities and capabilities, do not need domination, but neither do they need to submit in order to feel good.“
„Why should there be people who like to submit?“ Liv wondered.
“Because they can’t stand freedom and think they need a leader to live,” Zoe explained, “Otherwise the game wouldn’t work at all. There is a need for those who define themselves by how many submit and those who only feel secure in the community of allegiance. That too would destroy a vegan life. This creates fear on both sides. How else could it be explained that one does not say now and immediately, yes, I no longer want to cause suffering, neither to human nor to non-human creatures including our earth? The doing in itself would be very easy. But the consequences for the social fabric would be enormous. Therefore, in my opinion, the only constructive way to find a point where you can touch the person you are talking to is to find access to the place where he or she keeps his empathy closed. Then the rest happens all by itself.“
„That sounds very exhausting and, above all, tedious,“ said Liv thoughtfully.
„It is,“ confirmed Liv, „But it is the only way if you want the change to be sustainable and well-founded.“
„But is it really possible not to cause harm?“, Liv asked further, „Can I be 100% vegan?“
„No, I can’t“, Zoe had to admit, „Alone, if I walk across a meadow, I will trample on microorganisms, but this is exactly what the Vegan Society took into account when defining vegan.“
„And what is this definition?“, asked Hector.
“It reads: ‚Veganism is a way of life that seeks – as far as practically feasible – to avoid all forms of exploitation and cruelty to suffering animals for food, clothing and other purposes; and subsequently promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In terms of nutrition, this means doing without all products that are wholly or partly derived from animals’. ‚“said Zoe,“ So strictly speaking, it is not finished, because there is always room for improvement and, on the other hand, it is an admission that life without suffering is not possible. Nevertheless, I have the opportunity to avoid as much suffering as possible or not willfully increase it.“
„Actually a great thought,“ said Liv with a smile, „So it is up to me, it depends on my decisions whether I cause suffering or not.“
„In yours and that of everyone else,“ Zoe confirmed, „And with every single decision I make, I can help make this world a more beautiful place, for ourselves and our fellow creatures.“
„I think we’re going home,“ said Hector suddenly.
„Why this? You know what’s going on,“ Liv replied.
„Yes, but I think we should talk to your mother and maybe we will find the point where her empathy is buried.“
„A good plan,“ said Zoe as they said goodbye, hoping that the two of them would succeed.