On The Immortality of Animals

UnknownIf man’s life is immortal, so also is the animal’s.

The difference is only in degree and not kind. The amoeba and I are the same.

The difference is only in degree and from the standpoint of the highest life, all these differences vanish.

A man may see a great difference between grass and a little tree, but if you mount very high, the grass and the biggest tree will appear the same.

So from the standpoint of the highest ideal, the lowest animal and the highest man are the same.

If you believe there is a God, the animals and the highest creature must be the same.


From the highest to the lowest to the most wicked man, in the greatest of human beings and the lowest of crawling worms under our feet, is the soul pure and perfect, infinite and ever-blessed. In the worm, that soul is manifesting only an infinitesimal part of its power and purity, and in the greatest man it is manifesting most of it. The difference consists in the degree of manifestation, but not in the essence. Through all beings exists the same pure and perfect soul.

—Swami Vivekananda

Day 108 10/11/13: Shark Fins for Vegans

My friend Renee & I went to check out the new Viva La Vegan store in Santa Monica.

I spotted this immediately:


While I applaud the non-animal alternative, even the vegetarian version of shark fin sort of creeps me out.  Fortune was with us, as Viva La Vegan offered an array of extremely delicious samples from quiche, pad Thai, salad, pizza, and coconut and kale chips and lovely Japanese ice tea sweetened with tapioca. Amid the typical things like crystal rock deodorant  I found odd products like gluten-free ice cream cones, every sort of fake meat product (see above) and vegan hobby glue so that enlightened crafts people don’t have to assemble popsicle stick houses with hoof-based adhesive. The vegan donuts imported from Las Vegas looked amazing, but too much sugar sends me on a melancholy bender, so I abstained. Wandering the specialized aisles, I wondered if vegan children might be humiliated and beaten at school if anyone discovered (or smelled) their “blue algae nut butter” and jelly sandwich.

After eating until we were swollen, Renee and I headed to the beach. An hour passed effortlessly. I’m truly blessed to have friends willing to help me pick up trash. (thank you all).  We walked along the sun-drenched beach collecting cigarette butts, old balloons, and a stubby pencil that read PROTECT OUR COASTS AND OCEANS, we exchanged ghost stories. Renee paused to draw in a map of her grandmother’s house in the sand, indicating with her big toe a hallway down which she’d seen a mysterious man pass by. I mentioned the figure of a fog-colored boy I’d seen in Massachusetts. We found an abandoned sand castle with a drawbridge made of driftwood. Everything felt immediate and far off.

A day rich in companionship and natural beauty makes me feel more generous and even the abandoned, half-buried plastic cup decorated with children and animals that urged the drinker to Respect Nature seemed, however ironic, at least somehow well-intentioned.

Day 75: 9/8/13: On Animals and the “N” Word

Performed a hodge-podge of shark chores today: signed this petition to ban shark fin soup in Australia, stuffed more envelopes in my endless restaurant letter campaign, did miscellaneous shark-related schoolwork. But what really kicked my ass today is this post from the Vegangster blog  that extends the argument of John Lennon’s 1972  song “Woman is the Nigger of the World” to animals. (John Lennon is pretty much my favorite person ever, but more on that later).

I have been a “sloppy” vegan for quite some time, eating bits of goat cheese here and there, and once every few months an egg or two and I never feel good about it.  I’m also tired of whining about how hard it is go completely vegan. Feeling guilty and lame about my half-assed veganism is even more difficult.

Woman Is the Nigger of the World

Woman Is the Nigger of the World (Photo credit: Wikipedia)