Monday, May 21, 2012

Trudging the Yellow Brick Road

Being vegan has turned out to be, surprisingly quite easy. Or at least easier than I'd expected it to be, almost six months of near Veganism later. We tend to overestimate our attachment to the things we think we like, and imagine life without them to be something not worth living, or irreconcilably inadequate. Of course this is true for certain bare physical necessities, but we tend to give the same critical importance to other things as well, for which it isn't.

I'm also surprised at how flimsy and shallow my likes and dislikes actually are. It seems possible to change our seemingly reflexive intuitions about a particular food completely. As someone for whom cheese was a sort of Holy Grail of good food prior to attempting a vegan lifestyle, the complete turnaround to a nonchalance about it is interesting. It's almost as though my brain was just falling over itself in obsequious haste to make the idea of Veganism feel at home in my body, rewiring my tastes with abandon. I remember marveling at Pat Condell's 'About Me' vegetarian page a long while back, and mentally remarking that such a life was really one devoid of any culinary pleasure, and so now I'm really surprised to find myself on the other side feeling nothing like it. Nor do I feel any different, health wise.

Staying vegan is so easy that it's something that I feel hardly requires any conscious work, mental or otherwise. All that's required is the right moral framework to start with, and your brain will just do the rest for you. Or so it was for me. The initial decision requires a lot of mental effort, of course, but it's really like drawing up a contract with your brain. Setting up the initial contract takes a while for you to cover all the moral bases with the fine print, with all the rational introspection and speculation, but the rest will be well taken care of, once the contract has been agreed upon.

A word, though. Being vegan, is at worst, inconvenient. Inconvenient if you happen to live in a society that isn't vegan, but I think that's a good thing, as it spurs oneself toward independence. Hopefully I will keep trudging the road.

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