Three weeks into school, and I'm definitely feeling my ethics class the most. Not a surprise, I'm drawn to the topic of examining morality and being able to have critical, constructive discussions about moral values. Even less of a surprise, I'm constantly thinking about animal rights in the context of ethics. Maybe a surprise (but still not really): I'm seriously considering changing my academic path and going into philosophy and ethics instead of horticulture. I mean, this is the stuff that I think about and research on my own. I am very passionate about justice, which may sound silly to say, like, isn't everyone passionate about justice? I don't think so. Some people are really passionate about things which lead to injustice. And some people just don't really care. I think I could get passionate about science, and then I think, really, though? If I've already found something I'm incredibly passionate about, then why am I pursuing something else? I chose plants because they're cool. They fascinate me. But ultimately, I want to learn veganic farming techniques because I want to be able to show other people that it's possible to grow food sustainably without the use of animal products that result from pain and suffering. But that path is quite particular, and it involves a lot of math and science, which again, is cool, but I don't feel the passion there.
Already I am feeling so inspired by what I'm learning in my Ethics class. The first book we're reading has exposed so many of the problems I've had in trying to advocate for animals, coming across people who are not truly willing to have an ethical discussion but are dogmatic or using offhand self-justification or invoking the idea of relativism. Three people come immediately to mind as examples of each of those responses to me challenging the treatment of animals and proposing veganism. I wish I could have seen it at the time, instead of trying so hard to continue having a discussion with those people. These all happened on Facebook, by the way- a place where it's incredibly easy to avoid critical discussion. There's the farmer who believes the way he sees things being done as the only way they can be done and refuses to even consider the possibilities I present to him while simultaneously insulting my character. There's the friend who gets defensive and angry with me and simply excuses her behavior rather than examining it. And there's the friend who questions whether or not any moral truths even exist at all, which avoids the initial conversation entirely.
Obviously I feel like a little child to just be learning about these things at this point in my life. I wish Ethics was taught in high school, but that's not a time when adults really want you to be questioning anything. That's the problem with our society, though- questioning things is not embraced. Sticking to the status quo is encouraged, and simultaneously the idea that nothing can change is enforced. I see this plague even the most alternative, seemingly independent personalities. I'm certainly not immune to it, but I am aware of it, and I actively work to dismantle it within my own mind. Yes, even when it comes to veganism. I welcome critical, constructive discussions, and I've had many with people who are capable of them, and during the course of those, I question myself. But becoming vegan required I do that in the first place. I was raised in the same society as everyone who argues against me now. I know why they feel the way they do, because I've been there. I became vegan by examining my actions and really connecting with my true values.
It's a bit unsettling to be considering a change of course with school, and I'm not making any decisions yet, since it's still so early on in the year. But I am really trying to be real with myself, true to myself, and mindful of my motivations and intentions. It would be super badass to learn all about growing plants, but I am finding myself more drawn to the notion of speaking out about why animals matter morally. I am thinking of the animals when I think of plants. They are the core of my inspiration. I want to stand up for them, and I've wanted to do that for a year now, with not a hint of faltering. Perhaps it's in my best interests, and theirs, for me to learn how best to advocate for them and become a stronger writer and speaker. And the same skills can be applied to other moral issues that also inspire me to speak out. Hilariously, I've looked to my tumblr and thought, "What am I really trying to get into in this life?" And it's very clear that I'm trying to speak out against oppression in all forms. I started the thing to just post personal stuff, but my blog organically shifted into spreading awareness about all kinds of social justice issues, especially veganism.
Not as many obvious jobs open up to me in that course, but I think I can find a way to make it work for me. And I'm still staying open to my original plan, so we'll see. If you've read this far and you have any opinions, I'd love to hear them.