One of my biggest influences happens to be a vegan.
He also knows a whole lot about making change happen.
His book, The Practice, is a huge reason that I do this foolsletter.
He has a podcast.
He has a podcast where he answers questions from listeners.
He answered mine.
It had to do with two if the things he asks a lot: what's it for and what's the smallest viable…
Check it out here after his discussion on the importance of sharing your best work.
I’m committed to showing up everyday with my best for you.
Hopefully it keeps getting better.
At the barn where my daughter rides, a couple of the horses escaped the other day.
The circumstances were a bit puzzling.
Both of the rails used to keep them in the field were taken clear away from the pasture opening.
It looked like a human did it.
Either that, or a horse with thumbs.
Some speculated that it might have been a nasty bitter neighbour. There wasn’t any evidence to suggest that.
Others mused that it may have been someone from another barn.
Another still suggested that vrgans were to blame. The reason? Vegans don’t like people with pets, especially people who ride horseback.
Where did these theories come from? The teens helping out at the riding camp for the week.
My favorite explanation is the vegans.
I once dated a vegan.
She took me to a movie.
There, I watched Woody Harlson preach about the puss and blood that’s found in milk.
I guess, in order to play with this person, I needed to hate milk too.
I needed to know what she knew, believe what she believed and think what she thinks.
The teen at the barn?
She said that there’s nothing wrong with being vegan.
The problem, according to her was when some of the vegans decide to say nasty things about her pets as slaves. Or that horseback riding makes her a terrible person.
This is done on the panic platforms of social media.
This isn't a post about adolescent bullying on Instagram.
Though in a lot of ways it is.
I put vegans in a special place. They think that they are doing the right thing.
I like people who want to do good, to make the world a better place.
They have very good intentions.
I like people with good intentions.
The road to hell?
It’s paved with that kind of iron pyrite.
And I love mining fools gold.
You can’t convince a vegan that there is any kind of ethical meat. I would not try. The kind of vegans I like? They offer me the same tolerance.
Its a personal choice.
They just don’t believe in meat.
You can’t convince an evangelical that Jebus didn’t walk with dinosaurs.
You can’t convince a flat earther that the world is round.
You can’t convince someone about the safety and efficacy of vaccines.
The more rigid they are in their belief, the less likely you are to change their mind.
The more likely they are to preach to you, or worse, attempt to publicly humiliate and or shame you to make you one of the converts.
This seems to be one of the greatest sources of relational friction these days - people who believe something and insist that you believe the same.
It’s as though, if you don’t agree with their point of view, you’ll annihilate them.
Or, that they are not valid or accepted.
Yesterday I wrote about something tricky.
I respect people while being completely disrespectful of their beliefs.
I tolerate people who I will not accept.
At some point in time, tolerance stopped being enough.
I’m willing to listen. Unwilling to participate.
Mostly it seems marginal beliefs come from a place of pain, of wanting to feel special somehow.
Or? It comes from the novelty of that great new discovery that someone just has to share.
It’s pretty fun to be ‘one of the ones who know’.
That’s what makes both secret surf spots and conspiracy theories so attractive. People have a chance to create a story for themselves that they are special. That they know something that others don’t. That they are somehow elevated in status, knowledge or morally superior to the rest of us.
They get to teach, share and make us better.
Unless of course we don't want it.
That can be pretty disappointing when you're stoked to share your thoughts about tin foil hats and chemtrails.
Or about 5g.
Here’s a reality check that’s pretty much as universal of a truth as I can muster.
You at one time used to shit in your pants.
You will likely shit in your pants again.
And eventually, you’re going to fucking just die and one day be forgotten.
On a galactic scale?
You do not matter.
Get over yourself.
This is difficult to do.
Frequently, we feel dis-ese within ourselves without awareness.
That sensory information likely comes from our guts, our internal organs.
What happens to us day to day impacts that.
We create stories to explain our dis-ese
In a time of mass uncertainty, of ridiculous societal change due to technology, there’s a lot of dis-ese.
And with it we get a lot of really wacked out stories.
These stories seem reasonable to the person experiencing this distress. These stories get traction. These stories take hold. Once shared? Like the delta variant, they are difficult to stop.
So, what to do?
Some resort to arguing, to shaming and excluding.
Shame is powerful.
And at times, a violent way to get your point across.
Get curious about people who you tolerate and don't accept.
In my experience as a therapist, there’s more than enough shame in the world.
There really is no need to increase the quantity of it - pandemic or not.
The ends do not justify the means.
What do I do instead?
Get curious. Ask questions.
I try as much kindness as I can until the kindness becomes unkind to me.
I comment on how distressed people seem.
That’s really the point isn’t it?
The horses have left the field.
We’re looking for answers.
When facing the unknown, we’re going to find the kinds of stories that will help get us through.
So, how with curiosity, compassion, generosity and limits can we help people find new stories?
How can we do it without being a zealot?
How to we help people change without shaming them?
What kind of kindness, generosity and love can get us there?
It likely will take a long time.
And, if I’ve learned anything in sending out this foolsletter, the long way is frequently the short cut.
Whole lotta love to ya’ll
Jimbolio, Dalingi, The Remarkable Fool.