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The Way Things Are

Can you imagine yourself at a time when you are a newly born infant?

Of course, you can’t remember it, so just imagine it.

You are unblemished; untouched; a clean slate; a blank piece of paper. Pure.

But you’re not much in the thinking department, so those around you will make decisions on your behalf.

From the time you are born, to the time you become fully aware that your choices are your own, they will do what they consider to be right for you.

What is good, appropriate, normal and acceptable will not be your choice, it will be theirs.

They will decide everything about every aspect of your life until the day comes when you choose to think and decide for yourself.

Those decisions taken on your behalf will stay with you for many years to come.

As such, you will grow up to be the object of reasoning based upon tradition, culture and societal norms, with maybe just a little bit of contemporary thinking thrown into the mix.

You will effectively be the product of those who are in a position to influence you; so in many ways, you are totally at their mercy.

It’s the way things are.


What shapes you in these formative years will create a set of habits that you may never question or see a need to break free from.

If you are so inclined, you may never actually think for yourself at all.

Instead, you can carelessly adopt the choices that were imposed upon you.

There is no need to challenge what is good and bad, right or wrong about most things that happen in your life.

Your upbringing will have already dictated how you should act and respond to much of what you will face.

You may have a rebellious phase at some point. You may even disavow everything you get from your key influencers.

But most people don’t.

Somewhere within you will be implanted attitudes towards politics, religion, values, race, sex, and a host of other things that were, in their origins, never truly your own.

In all likelihood, you will be content to be a reflection of the vestiges of your upbringing, if only because to change deeply rooted beliefs is unsettling.

It’s the way things are.


The most common habit you are unlikely to challenge is your attitude to what you eat.

What you are fed as an infant automatically becomes right, normal and acceptable.

But did you know that almost all children are born with an innate love of animals?

They’re fascinated by them. They want to touch them. They want to get close to them. They want to hug them. They want to engage with them.

They recognise something in them that reflects a part of themselves.

Yet those responsible for you will probably feed you their flesh.

You won’t make the association that what you’re being fed is the very same thing that so attracts you.

Instead, you will be taught to eat a nameless, faceless commodity that is simply called ‘food’.

Later, you may see pictures of animals with smiling faces advertising the things you eat.

It will all seem very pleasant and normal.

You won’t suspect that behind the pretty pictures is an industry that causes terror and untold suffering to the billions of the creatures you once felt so kindly towards.

If at some point you do make the connection that what you have loved is now on your dinner plate, the horror you feel will be assuaged by those who put it there.

You will be told “It’s alright. It’s the way things are meant to be. It’s what they’re here for.”

If you don’t accept these ‘truths’, the chances are people will be angry with you. You’ll be forced to eat what you had believed was your friend.

For the sake of not getting into trouble, or because you don’t want to upset anyone, you’ll probably go along with it.

For a little while, you may feel guilty or sad. But you’ll get over it. You must. You won’t have a choice.

To protect yourself, you’ll need to push the ghastly truth of their demise out of you mind. You’ll need to bury it in the recesses of your mind and not let it surface again.

You’ll bury it deep.

It’s the way things are.


As you get older, it’s unlikely that you’ll be too troubled by the dreadful knowledge that dwells within you.

You’ll look around you and see that everybody is doing the same thing. And that makes it O.K. doesn’t it?

If anybody tries to say it’s wrong, or bad, or immoral, or unjust, they’re weird. It will be acceptable to think they’re strange or mock them.

You may even hear a whole bunch of reasons why they’re stupid to have such outlandish beliefs and you will know better.

Animals don’t have rights. Animals don’t feel pain. Animals don’t suffer. Animals don’t feel grief or fear. Animals don’t mind giving up their lives for our pleasure.

And if you were to suddenly realise that they do (for all of the above), you can always do what you were taught to do from your earliest age: Push this unsettling knowledge out of your mind. Ignore it. Bury it deep.

It’s the way things are.


Now it’s possible that as you get older, you may hear some pretty disturbing things.

  • You may learn that the factory farming of animals is connected to global warming and climate change and that 51% of global greenhouse gas emissions are due to livestock and their byproducts.

  • You may learn that the planet is being deforested to grow crops to feed the animals we eat, and that animal agriculture is responsible for 91% of the destruction of the Amazon Rainforest.

  • You may learn that the meat and dairy industry use 1/3 of the Earth’s fresh water supplies or that livestock covers 45% of the Earth’s land, resulting in the desertification of 1/3 of it.

  • You may learn that 90 million tons of fish are pulled from the oceans every year and that for every 1lb of fish caught, 5lb of unintended marine species are caught and discarded (left to die) as ‘waste’.

  • You may learn that 110 species per day are made extinct due to animal agriculture and rainforest destruction; or that the oceans now contain colossal ‘deadzones’ caused by pollution and habitat destruction.

  • You may learn that there’s a link between eating animal flesh and cancer.

  • You may learn the full, gory details of animal slaughter.

  • You may discover that there’s no such thing as ‘humane killing’.

  • You may learn that even those things you have been led to believe are harmless, like drinking milk and eating cheese and eggs, only come about as a result of suffering and death.

In fact, all in all, you may conclude that reliance upon animals for food is a very bad thing.

But you’ll tell yourself it’s O.K. because everyone else is doing it.

You’ll tell yourself it’s O.K. because by now, you’re so used to the taste of the dead animal carcasses you eat that you don’t really care if your habituated diet, unwittingly forced upon you by those responsible for your upbringing, is gradually but inexorably destroying the very planet you live on.

You’ll get by hoping that it will only get really bad after you’re long departed.

And in the meantime, you’ll tell yourself you can go on with impunity.

You’ll come up with 101 excuses why there’s no real harm in you being someone who helps perpetrate the awful damage being carried out with your tacit approval.

You’re too deeply imbedded in your ways to change.

Let other people do something about it.

Let them try to make a difference.

It’s someone else’s problem.

It’s someone else’s’ responsibility.

Isn’t it?

It’s the way things are.


Can you handle criticism? Can you handle the truth? Can you handle being challenged? Can you accept that you’re not perfect? Can you accept that you are in the wrong? Can you accept that the beliefs that you were inculcated with as a tiny child were ignorant and damaging? Can you face the evidence of what a carnivorous diet really does? Can you not look away when your planet needs you? Can you change? This is the way things really are:

While you choose to look away, billions of harmless animals will be killed every year, dozens of whom will die horrible deaths, just because of your choices.

​The world will move ever closer to self-destruction for reasons that are directly attributable to the habituated decisions made by countless millions of people just like you, who are too scared to look at their choices.

You need to face the grim realisation that there are other truths besides those you now cling to.

You are not still a victim of the choices imposed upon you.

There are NO reasonable excuses for ignoring the evidence, other than mental infirmity or psychopathy.

So imagine yourself at a time when you are a newly born infant.

Of course, you can’t remember it, so just imagine it.

You are unblemished; untouched; a clean slate; a blank piece of paper. Pure.

Recognise that you’re all there in the thinking department. No one around you can make decisions on your behalf.

​You own your choices.

You are not a prisoner of other people’s modes of thinking. You do not need to comply with societal norms.


You can apply logic, reason, sense, practicality, morality, integrity or even emotion to those choices, without fear of any judgement, other than that which you choose to accept from those who may come to fear you.

Appraise yourself in the context of the world at large. Look at the facts. 

Do you want to be part of the unnecessary cycle of global destruction we are caught up in?


Reconnect with your humanity and do the right thing.

Allow yourself to be metaphorically reborn with the purity of thought, love of all things and strength of purpose that were once yours as of right.

The ONLY thing stopping you is your choice.

It’s the way things can be.

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