SUSTAINING OURSELVES - AS HUMANS - ON 'ANIMAL' & 'BOTANICAL' BEINGS...
This section of the handbook is based on the ultimate questions…
Are we all equal beings, born of this planet?
Do we all deserve love?
Do we all deserve freedom: to live life on our own terms?
What should we take, in order to survive?
I surprised myself when I wrote this section of the handbook. I have been vegan for 10 years and that won't change. However, as you will see for yourself, veganism is not what I have ended up proposing as a 'wild' way of co-existing (not entirely anyway).
I suppose that if my 'wild proposals' had a name, they could be called 'freedom-ism', 'equality-ism' or 'sacred-ism' or even 'I love everyone-ism': that all beings are equal (whether animal, or botanical, bacteria or even a matter that doesn't present signs of 'life' as we know it - like a stone or water) and that we should live in reverence of our planet and all of the beings that we share it with and take only what we have to (no waste) to sustain our existence on our planet.
HERE IS MY VISION OF SUSTAINING OURSELVES, AS WILD, EQUAL BEINGS, IN A WILDSCAPED WORLD…
We recognise that all beings are sacred. therefore we take only what we must (to survive). As we humans get to live life on our own terms, so we allow that same freedom in others and so we take only their life/existence (we have not interfered with their life before that point).
ALL beings would live freely, in a wildscaped world.
We love absolutely: even in ‘taking’ and 'consuming' we must be aware of what we have taken (the existence of another being) in order to survive and honour that sacrifice (that we were the stronger ‘will’ at the time, who prevailed and survived, by consuming the other being).
EG. In picking a dandelion to consume, we take its existence from it. It must be consumed ONLY so that we can live joyously and in self love for ourselves and for our planet. (To live any other way - not living life to the maximum - is not worthy of its sacrifice).
We love deeply as we take. We recognise (in wonder) the miracle of the being before us. We are fully aware that we are placing our continued existence above the being’s (that we are about to consume) own and we grieve with and for them for what they are losing.
We honour the taking - of another being’s existence - when at all possible. (EG. If a plant has seeds that we can spread on its behalf, we do so, to honour what we have taken from it and to help its unique characteristics to continue).
TO MANIFEST THIS VISION OF A ‘WILDSCAPED WORLD’, WHAT BEINGS SHOULD WE - AS HUMANS - CONSUME?
When I am 100% honest with myself, I accept that I have no real comprehension (and perhaps never can) of how any other species experiences the world (compared to me) so my only guidebook, to interact with other beings/species, is how I would like to live and be treated. Just because I cannot pick up signs of 'life as I know it' or another being doesn't present characteristics that are similar to mine, that doesn't mean that every other being doesn't experience equal - even if different - consciousness to myself. Therefore... As I cannot know if an animal or botanical being has the same (or even more) depth of consciousness and feeling than me (I just may not be able to recognise the signs) I must treat every other species as I would like to be treated and hold them - in my heart - as venerable beings…
In a wildscaped world (a world where all beings live in self acknowledged equality) we would ONLY take and consume free beings (beings that have lived freely) so our lifestyles would be based on foraging, not farming.
All life forms (animals, botanicals & more) are EQUAL to us humans (it is only our impact/experiences on/with one another that are different).
SO WHAT SHOULD WE CONSUME?
What makes the most sense to me is that we should predominantly eat botanicals. To eat botanical beings takes less from the planet as they propagate magnificently, are more readily available (plants form 83% of the biomass of the planet & most of those plants are edible for human consumption) and they are the original source of consumable energy - after they have grown from sun/water/nutrients from the earth - as opposed to us humans consuming an animal that has fed off plants and then we feed off the animal (so in effect we are feeding off the animal and the plants that the animal has consumed).
IS TAKING THE LIFE OF AN ‘ANIMAL’ ANY DIFFERENT FROM TAKING THAT OF A ‘BOTANICAL’, AS ALL BEINGS ARE EQUAL AND MAY EXPERIENCE EQUAL CONSCIOUSNESS AND FEELING?
In most ways - to my mind, only - it is no different. To my mind, there are only a few differences, that encourage us humans to sustain ourselves on a currently plant based diet…
If we are living from the truth that our only guidebook is to treat ALL other beings as equal to us in consciousness and feeling (and yet we still must consume other beings in order to survive) is…
1. That (as previously mentioned) we take less (overall) from our planet when we consume botanical beings.
2. It hurts the planet more (as a whole) for us humans to take the life of an animal as humans are a type of animal - a mammal - and so we and other animals relate to one another (as opposed to plant life) as common kin.
It is self apparent (from almost all of our shared human & animal experiences) that for a 'human animal' to take the life of another animal (or even an animal to prey on another animal) hurts us all emotionally more deeply than when we all feed on botanicals. (As we are all one planet & everything that we feel is ultimately experienced by the planet as a whole: so the more we suffer, the more our planet suffers). This is true even when we watch non human animals hunting or preying on one another: animals, when circumstances allow it, can share surprising, loving relationships with creatures of the same species that they also hunt and sustain themselves on, so a fundamental awareness is definitely present, of what they are taking from another animal, when they kill to sustain themselves.
It is a truth that we are all interconnected (every being) and none of us can escape the emotional impact of what we do to one another (especially if we take from a being that has such similar biological characteristics to ourselves that we instinctively recognise them as our wild kin) so the less we can take from one another and the less we hurt one another, the better for our whole planet.
3. We may hope (as botanicals also appear to operate within a slower time frame to us animals) that our taking of a plant’s existence may be a slightly less fearful - a quicker - experience for a plant, than the taking of a life from an animal (this is by no means proven however and we must always treat every being as revered and take life as lovingly, kindly and quickly as possible).
HOW TO LOVINGLY CONSUME BOTANICALS
WHEN WE CONSUME A BOTANICAL BEING, IT MUST ALSO BE FROM A PLACE OF EQUALITY AND RESPECT, FOR WHAT WE ARE TAKING - In picking a plant/fruit/vegetable etc to consume, we take its existence from it. (Remember - It must be consumed ONLY in order for us to sustain ourselves and it is up to us to honour the sacrifice by living to the max).
We must only take a botanical being’s existence in such a way as to be an act of love (the very best, most loving way that they can die and with the greatest comfort from ourselves, in that moment of passing).
We can also help to ‘lovingly take’ by planting the seeds of the plant and making sure that their energy goes on (and we can plant more seeds - acting as a catalyst for the planet and then letting them grow and live freely).
We should try and vary where we take from: not taking too much from one space at a time.
SHOULD HUMANS EVER CONSUME AN 'ANIMAL’?
Should we ever sustain ourselves by consuming an ‘animal’ (and by animal I mean any creature that is not ‘botanical’, so that includes all sea and water life and creepy crawlies)?
We should only take and consume an animal at a time of great need and with the greatest regret…
1. We must acknowledge that that animal is equal to us in every way.
2. We must love that animal as we love ourselves and take only because our very survival comes down to ‘us or them’ (a time of great need, where other options to sustain ourselves are unavailable) and if - in doing so - we grieve deeply for them and carry our pain inside our hearts (as we grieve for what we have lost, as well as recognise what we have gained: our survival).
3. We should only ever sustain ourselves on an animal that has lived freely and lived life on its own terms.
4. We must only take an animal’s existence in such a way as to be an act of love (the very best, most loving way that they can die and with the greatest comfort from ourselves, in that moment of passing).
All animals MUST be living freely (and we must all exist within a world that allows all animals absolute freedom, outside of all human control) before we ever consider taking and consuming them. Until we reach that state of love & respect for our world and others (as one planet) we can take far less from our planet by living a plant based existence.
I KEEP TALKING ABOUT ONLY CONSUMING OTHER BEINGS THAT HAVE ‘LIVED FREELY’ SO WHAT DO I MEAN BY THAT?
This is probably the hardest part of this handbook for me to write as it goes so much against our social norms (and also against what I ever expected to be writing) but I just couldn’t ignore what is true…
Since we humans are here on this planet and since we have to choose a way of living (or just give up and kill ourselves off) I have committed to doing my best to act only from what we know is 100% true…
MY UNDENIABLE TRUTHS ARE (THESE ARE ALSO REFERENCED IN CHAPTER ONE, OF THIS HANDBOOK)…
1. I am here (sounds obvious but bear with me) …. I am here, in this moment, so: I can choose to make the most of it. How would I like to make the most of it? By living my life to the max, I am honouring all life that I consume, on this planet.
2. I am not 100% sure (and never can be) that all I feel, see, smell, touch and hear is real. Is it all a matter of perception, of conditioning? Would I experience it differently with different conditioning)?
3. I am what I have acknowledged is labelled a ‘human being’ therefore I have only an anthropocentric view. I also only have my ‘anthropocentric Alana’ world view (how do I know what other humans really see, smell & feel compared to me)?
Not only do I not know what other humans experience (compared to me) but I 100% don’t know how any other species experiences the world either. I cannot know what any other species needs/wants. My only guidebook is how I would like to be treated…
The fact is that every being is born, ultimately, from our planet (whether humans have been the catalyst or not, in enabling other beings to ‘breed’) that automatically makes us all wild beings AND equal beings and so I must live my life on the basis that I am equal to all other beings (whatever they may be) and that they are all equal to me. (To believe anything else is only opinion: the only true fact is that we are all here and we are all manifested by our planet as unique, individual creatures of our earth).
ABSOLUTE, BASIC RIGHTS, AS EQUAL BEINGS…. I desire love & freedom. These are absolutes. I desire to live life on my own terms, to be able to choose my own habitat & forge my own relationships and live life - moment to moment - under my own direction. When I do not have these freedoms, I suffer. I desire autonomy over my own body & even over my own thoughts. I flourish as I am loved and suffer as I am hurt.
As I know that these are truths for me (that underpin all of my life) so I must allow all other beings the same rights, as they are my equals. They have the right to show me how they would want to live, so until they show me their own desires (or until I can fully understand them, without prejudice) I must leave them be (our only interaction, without their permission, would be to take their life - if I must - to sustain myself).
[FYI - I chat about helping other animals, in circumstances like wildlife rescue, in another section of this handbook, with relation to helping vs not forcing our ideas onto another being.]
FORAGING OR FARMING?
This idea of freedom for all beings (animals & botanicals) to choose their own existence is (unfortunately) the opposite of farming, even plant based farming…. Even in plant based farming we are commercialising life in the form of seeds and utilising them to grow and exist only for our consumption and - as we don’t know that they don’t experience the full consciousness that we humans do - that is also a type of enslaving of other beings, to exist only for our benefit, instead of recognising their sacredness and their equal rights.
So, what does this look like, in our modern world?
I have only just experienced what to me is this revelation of ‘freedom for all beings, whether animal or botanical’ (as I was writing this handbook, and looking at what ‘starting from scratch, without prejudice’ would be like) so I am not one of life’s educated foragers. Like everyone else, I am just here, doing my best and this handbook is what I have settled on as what I think the most honest way of living looks like... Here’s my next steps, in case you want to join in…
- I am educating myself as quickly and thoroughly as possible on how to forage local plants.
- Whilst I learn to sustain myself as a forager (if that is even possible, on our modern planet, with all of the spaces left undominated) I am eating only organic vegetables & fruit, so that I am only consuming plants that have at least known an unpoisoned way of life.
- Have you heard of ‘fruitarianism’? It is the concept that we humans should sustain ourselves off what plants choose to give up freely (instead of consuming the whole plant) like berries, apples etc, so that we live in collaboration with these plants instead of consuming them. I was really struck by the people who are living this way and have started purchasing these foods as much as possible, as a major part of my diet.
- I am starting to get to know all of my most local, organic farmers, so that I can buy from source as soon as possible after the plants and fruits are harvested.
- Did you know that there are farmers who are finding that letting ‘wild’ (self seeded) botanicals grow amidst their planted vegetables is allowing them to harvest not only their planted crops but also letting them harvest wild plants that are also consumable by humans?? I am reaching out to these farmers to find out more and to see if it can allow us to live in a world where we - truly - all live freely. It may sound like a fantasy (to be honest, it feels so strange to even be writing this) but just because living differently feels strange to us now, it doesn’t mean that it is an impossibility, just that we might need to expand our comfort zones and what we think we know and become a bit more curious about what might be possible.
- Did you know that humans switched to farming initially not for greater food security, but for greater social status, as they began to settle into communities as an alternative to a nomadic lifestyle? I would love to find out how much food security could be established for us humans if every suppressed patch of land (like road verges) was allowed to self seed and thrive, without us having to farm. For those who don’t fancy trekking out into woodland, instead of farmers that provide for all of us, could we have foragers who provide for their local community, instead?
These are all just ideas and - as you can see - I am by no means a perfect being with a well-formulated plan. I just want to live in a loving, free world, where all beings get to live freely (on their own self determined) terms and I am stumbling along, optimistically seeing what comes up, as I believe that a lot of us want to manifest this existence too. Who knows what wonderful, loving, wild world we can live in, without having to collapse into a apocalyptic suffering (throwing out all that we know) along the way…
*[EXTRACT FROM THE HANDBOOK]