“The world is a dangerous place not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing’ -Albert Einstein
A recent dinner conversation with my husband prompted a question: “Are we really that different from Trump?” He is loved by some yet reviled by the masses. His selfish behaviour ranks notably. His personal story reveals that he has destroyed countless businesses and ruined many peoples’ lives through his self-serving business practices. He is ruthless when it comes to serving his needs and protecting his interests. He bears no empathy, nor compassion, toward to others.
With Donald Trump set to assume the most powerful elected position in January 2017, we, as a collective of progressive-minded individuals, will have to learn to face-off with his everyday threats. This prompted me to reflect: “Do we actually share something in common with this overtly selfish man?”
In life, often what we see in front of us may actually just be a reflection of our own self. In other words, the ugliness of Donald Trump’s existence may reflect quite substantially where we are at as a collective civilization. Individually, there may actually be personal elements that we despise about our own selves. If we explore this further, the story may be challenging.
Through self-reflection, we may, in fact, bear ugly traits of our own or even raw emotions from past traumas buried deep within our subconscious mind. But being self-aware and honest with oneself is an essential aspect of growing wise.
In my practice, clients who took a quantum leap in their personal wellness are the ones who found and confronted their hidden (ugly and often painful) stories from which they learned to see the wisdom. In life, when challenges arise, sometimes we willfully ignore them or tend to look outward for answers. Inner reflection, though, is truly the first step to seeking any solution.
In order for us to overcome Trump challenges as a collective, we must first reflect on ourselves. Here are my thoughts.
Sadly, I believe that we all share something in common with Donald Trump. It’s called ‘selfishness’. In the simple pursuit of fulfilling our daily needs, we often act “Trump-like”. As a society, our collective behaviour causes much suffering and trauma to the everyday world around us.
For example, we likely discern strongly about what we eat but pay scant attention as to how that food arrived at our dinner table. Daily trauma’s are being imposed upon mother earth and the animal beings with whom we share this precious planet. All in the blind pursuit of fulfilling our hunger. With a population now exceeding 7.2 B people and animal protein-based diets rising exponentially in developing countries, animals are now being marginalized to the point where they are systematically raised in manufacturing plants without regard to any form of dignity nor acknowledgement that they are indeed sentient organisms and have equal merit to live on this planet. In a claim of superiority, Mankind has turned mother earth into one giant factory. Even wild animals are quickly running out of space for a natural existence. We ruthlessly manipulate the environment solely for our own benefit and ignore the impact on nature. Cities grow unconstrained. Resources are being depleting. Species are being rendered extinct. And animals are suffering needlessly, both in the wild and those within our control. Animals have emotions and feel pain just like we do. But when it comes to pleasing our appetite, we suspend all critical thinking and deliberately ignore the kind of suffering these animals have to go through to become our meal or a handbag accoutrement. According to “A Well-fed World Organization”, more than 70 billion land animals (equals more than six million animals every hour) die to produce meat, egg and dariy(2014) for human consumption. This number is far greater if we include statistics from the fishery industry.
I believe we are at a critical stage in human history. Humans are questioning all systems and structures: political, economical, healthcare, spiritual and most of all, environmental. We are witnessing the breaking point of a paternalistic social structure. What brought this world into the 21st Century may not be what takes us to the 22nd, particularly as the human population is expected to broach 10 Billion by the year 2055. To make the world a better place, the Dalai Lama says ‘Critical thinking must be followed by action’.
More than ever, we need to use our critical thoughts to reassess how we do things and our impact on this planet. Most of us uncritically follow the norms and practices we were taught in our youth. We were fed animal protein at every meal. Curiously, many more humans die each year from excess consumption of a diet based on animal products than from a protein deficiency. Most of us have continued this practice without giving a second thought to the disruptions imposed upon Mother Earth imparted at all stages of the food supply chain.
In an article published in 2006, the UN reported “Livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems.’ At this critical stage of human existence, our impact on the environment requires individual households to reevaluate their animal protein consumption habits. Just this one change alone by lowering or eliminating animal protein from our diet can simultaneously help with climate change, human healthcare and hopefully a diminishment of the suffering of animals.
Most of us desire to live in a progressive, more compassionate, society. This would suggest a continuing shift towards a more maternalistic society where we care not just for all humans but also other species with whom we share this shrinking planet. Demanding compassion for ourselves while we show no compassion toward other beings is clearly hypocritical.
‘The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated’.
For the sanctity of our future on this planet, it is time for us to challenge how animals and humans coexist. Animal protein-based diets are wreaking havoc to the world’s climate, to our own personal health and completely disrupting the delicate biological eco-system within which we are an integral but clearly only one of a multitude of components.
People who create positive changes in their lives are the ones who take actions to grow from their painful life experiences. It takes courage to face uncomfortable personal truths. Donald Trump’s selfish behaviour is really just a clear reflection of what is going on in our own everyday lives. If we recognize that the status quo is unsustainable, then, more than ever, we need to self-reflect and begin to make personal incremental changes to our habits. At the very least, Mother Earth deserves a more compassionate society where we acknowledge the existence of all beings and act with greater total respect.
‘Your beliefs don’t make you a better person, your actions do’ -Sukhraj Dillon
What actions will you take today? Below are some of my own resources. Why not start with further education? Why not reduce the amount of animal protein from your diet? Even consider donating time or money to a worthy organization. There are many movements today who are trying to make a difference. The time for real personal change is more imperative than ever.
For further education and awareness, I recommend the following website and articles:
Website: Well-Fed World: Feeding Humans, Saving Animals
Article: "Rearing cattle produces more greenhouse gases than driving cars, UN Report"
Article: "In the Belly of the Beast"
Amazon.com DVD: Foodmatters by Andrew W. Saul
Amazon.com DVD: Food-Inc by Eric Schlosser
Amazon.com DVD: Vegucated by Marisa Miller