I believe there is still time to create a planetary home of love, nonviolence, kindness, and celebration for all the children of Earth, and I believe that we can become Homo Ahimsa. Ahimsa is the Sanskrit word for non-harm. Its broader meaning includes nonviolence, lovingkindness, compassion, reverence and love for all living beings.
Many activists have dedicated their lives to saving nature, animals, and people from the devastation caused by human greed and lust for power. And while there have been victories, such as the end of legalized slavery and stoning of women in some countries, and some protections for a few endangered species, nevertheless, many entities with corporate, political and religious power have continued the seemingly unstoppable destruction of trees, water, air, people, animals, and nature. Our activism has not been enough to stop this annihilation. We are at a critical moment in time. Let’s look at this from the highest vantage point.
It is from this perspective that we discover the good news—great news, in fact. There is a holistic—body, mind, spirit—revolution going on at the same time these tragedies are unfolding. On the one hand, the demand for endless wealth, growth and domination forges ahead, leaving nature polluted and billions of animals and people dead. But on the other hand, a higher consciousness of compassion, equality, mutual respect, and partnership is rising in response. We are leaving behind the dominator model of living, because it leads only to destruction. And we are learning how to transform ourselves and create a world that works with the partnership model. Millions of super heroes are on their way, and you are one of them.
Super Heroes in Action: PJ McKosky arrived at BeeBee Farms with friends on New Year’s Eve to rescue chickens who had been abandoned while the farm was going bankrupt, running out of feed, and unable to pay for propane to heat the barns. This so-called “natural” and “pasture-raised” chicken farm was a hellish mess of dead and dying chickens confined in barns filled with lung-searing ammonia and feces. While farm workers cut off heads without mercy, PJ and the other rescuers saved as many as they could. PJ writes, “I kept thinking of the saying, ‘Whoever saves a single life is considered to have saved the whole world,’ as I picked up each broken bird. Each bird we saved was a victory of sorts, and that reality grounded me in not succumbing to feelings of impotence and anger.”1
It is this spirit of unconditional and selfless love that is transforming our species and demonstrating how to live as Homo Ahimsa. PJ and millions of other human beings are proving that we do not have to live in bondage anymore to the violent worldview of domination. We can free everyone and create an ahimsa-based world of partnership, freedom, love, and compassion for and with all who live here.
The New Humanity Coming into Form: In my book, Peace to All Beings: Veggie Soup for the Chicken’s Soul, I wrote that we can become Homo Ahimsa. This emerging Homo Ahimsa does the least harm and the most good, feels compassion and unconditional love for all beings, and lives a nonviolent life. Many futurists are declaring that our species is undergoing a “Global Mind Change,” a “Great Awakening,” a great paradigm shift into the higher consciousness of the Divine Feminine and leaving behind the dominator world view of the patriarchy under which Homo Sapiens and all life has labored for so long.2
The present chaos is not the end of the world,
but the labor pains of a new earth and
a new humanity coming into form.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Homo Ahimsa is the “new humanity coming into form.” Ahimsa is the vow that Gandhi took to declare that he was dedicated to nonviolence and lovingkindness, not just to other human beings, but to all creatures. Nearly all religions have, within their core teachings, the Golden Rule—Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It is considered humanity’s highest calling. Why would these religions imagine such an ideal if it were not possible for Homo Sapiens to transform from a clever but destructive creature, into Homo Ahimsa—human beings whose actions are aligned with the Golden Rule?
A Spiritual, Transformational Movement: This is, at its deepest roots, a spiritual movement. Many people have rejected or lost interest in formal religion because it has been complicit in much of the devastation we face today. But spirituality transcends organized religion. It is a metaphysical and mysterious impulse that visits us and moves us to say “no” to the status quo that is causing so much suffering, pain, and violence. Some may call this impulse a nudging from God or Jesus or Krishna or, perhaps, their higher selves. Whatever we choose to call the Source of this Divine Intelligence, it is what brings people to dedicate their lives to causes beyond themselves.
Many social movements, including those inspired by Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., got much of their selfless determination from their faith. They believed that what they were doing was aligned with the abiding Love that dwells in the very air we breathe.
We are witnessing a massive spiritual awakening. Why do we say “spiritual?” Isn’t the mess we’re in understandable by simple logic? The facts are in our face—we are in desperate times, caused by our own actions and inactions. But no, logic is not enough. Logic alone will not get us there; that is obvious. There is overwhelming data to show us every day what new reef has died; how many whales have beached and died from sonar testing, fish nets and ingesting plastic; how many acres of rainforest have been cut down for the cattle industry. The facts are there. Our egos, our logical minds know. But it is in our hearts and souls that the passion and love to stop the violence resides.
We know now that the best healing for an individual is holistic. It needs to address the physical, mental and spiritual life of the suffering one. Without the body, mind, and spirit being nourished and cared for, the healing will not be complete. This is just as true for the healing of the world which we must undertake as a species. When we engage in healing at the level of spirit, we enter the mystical realm. There we find ourselves nurtured and strengthened by the Divine Love that animates and breathes life into all beings. Passion and faith begin to do their work in us so that we enter into partnership with the Divine and with all life and discover what is ours to do in this transformative work.
The Animal Rights Movement of Nonviolence and Love is No Longer on the Fringe. It is a Primary Key to the Survival of Humanity and Life on Earth. The ongoing and determined movement for the liberation of animals has taken on a new and rich significance now for all humanity. Those who have recoiled at the very idea of eating something labeled “vegan,” will soon be unable to deny that the answers to our very survival as a species, and that of millions of other species, are intrinsically embedded in the paradigm of lovingkindness and non-harm. Animal rights and veganism stare patriarchy in the face and declare: living as dominators and exploiters of others is not working. And because of its dark and violent nature, such domination is imploding in upon itself, causing chaos, and leading us all toward annihilation.
“As the left hardens its commitment to fighting climate change, social injustice, and rampant capitalism, the question of what to do about animals will become inescapable…,” writes Emily Atkins. The many crucial issues of healing the wounds of Mother Earth, caring for those people who are marginalized, and bringing peace to the world, can no longer be seen as separate from the rights of animals to also be healed and liberated. All these issues intersect, and these desperate times are bringing that into clear focus. There is no way to heal the damage Homo Sapiens has done without ending the exploitation and violence against animals; no way to have peace on earth as long as we continue the brutal war against animals; no way to have equality for women as long as we brutalize, rape and kill female animals. Atkins points out that, to the extent that we rid our earth of animal agriculture, “…waterways would flush out pollution; aquifers would replenish. Billions of lives would be saved, human lives very much among them. Or, you know,” she quips, “we could keep eating hamburgers.”3
Until we have the courage to recognize cruelty for
what it is–whether its victim is human or animal—
we cannot expect things to be much better in this world…
We cannot have peace among men whose hearts
delight in killing any living creature. By every act
that glorifies or even tolerates such moronic delight
in killing we set back the progress of humanity.
Will Kymlicka explains that, “Social justice movements can’t be too cavalier in dismissing the animal rights movement, because in doing so, they’re arguing that humans are inherently a superior species and thus have moral dominion over the earth. That mindset actually harms the fight for racial, gender, and other social equalities.” Kymlicka notes that ten studies have shown that the belief that there is a hierarchy among species is directly associated with dehumanization of various groups of human beings. “It [belief in the hierarchy of species] exacerbates racism, sexism, homophobia, and reduces support for fair wages for workers…”4
The foundation of this book you are holding in your hands is built upon the uplifting certainty and radical faith that we can accomplish this epic transformation of our species. But we may not have much time. We will look at how to make this transition in upcoming chapters. We will explore specific steps that every person can take to heal the world, and practices to strengthen us for our own transformation and the work ahead.
Before we forge ahead into the following chapters, let us pause for a few moments in silence and listen: hear the earth calling; hear the animals crying; feel your own soul and Divine Intelligence guiding you. Take some time and listen.
No peace lies in the future which is not
hidden in this present little instant.
Fra Giovanni Giocondo, 1513
(All but the first paragraph are from the Preface to the book Homo Ahimsa: Who we Really are and how we’re going to save the world.) copyright, Judy McCoy Carman, M.A., 2020
Judy McCoy Carman, M.A., earth, peace, and animal activist, is the author of Homo Ahimsa, as well as, Peace to All Beings: Veggie Soup for the Chicken’s Soul and co-author of The Missing Peace. In addition to animal rescue work, some current projects include Vegan Spirituality interviews, the Animal Peace Prayer Flag Project, and co-founding Animal Outreach of Kansas, Circle of Compassion, Prayer Circle for Animals and Interfaith Vegan Coalition. She is on the board of Shy38 Animal Sanctuary, appears in the film, “A Prayer for Compassion,” and received the Henry Spira Grassroots Animal Activist Award in 2014. Her website is peacetoallbeings.com
*A Vision (excerpted from the book starting on p.93):
“So what exactly does Homo Ahimsa’s vegan world of equality, service, radiant health, regeneration, love, compassion, abundance, and nonviolence to all look like? As we go through this list, one by one, please picture these in your mind, in vivid color and with a feeling of great joy and celebration. Use all your senses to embrace these. In your imagination, touch, taste, hear, see and smell this world. Perhaps, create a dream board with pictures of what some of these might look like. Know, deep in your soul, that these things are coming into manifestation now:
- All human beings live by vegan values of nonviolence and non-harm and have become Homo Ahimsa.
- All people have learned who they really are and have found that they love themselves and every other being.
- All restaurants, hospitals, schools, places of worship, and companies serve only plant-based meals and have zero waste. It is unthinkable to confine or kill an animal for food or for any other reason.
- All zoos have been transformed into sanctuaries for those animals who cannot be released to the wild and others who need care. For those who can be set free, the doors to their cages are open at last.
- All marine parks have released all those who can survive in the sea and have transformed into sacred sanctuaries and hospitals for those who cannot.
- Circuses entertain audiences with only human artists and athletes. Animals are never hurt or used for any kind of entertainment.
- Laboratories, where innocent animals once suffered for drugs, cosmetics, cleaning products, and for teaching anatomy and medical procedures, no longer exist. The buildings have been spiritually cleansed and are used as offices, apartments or greenhouses. The cages and torture implements have been recycled into pieces of art or functional tools.
- All animals are now free from human violence and exploitation. Those who have not become extinct are able to find the habitats and food that they need, do their part in rebalancing ecosystems, and have families that will be left unmolested by Homo Ahimsa. ”