C: You say I must love myself but I thought I already did.
H: Not quite. Your love is not perfect. You seem to often value the lives of others more than your own.
C: How so?
H: Think about it, you are Pro-Life and against abortion, yet you seem to think your own life has no meaning. Why is your life of less value than that of an unborn child?
C: I’m not sure it’s really a question of value. The Golden Rule applies to everyone equally no matter whether they have been born or not. Since I would prefer not to be murdered, I don’t want it done to others.
H: And yet you have said before that you are only here because your parents created you by having sex and that you want it to have more meaning than that. What did you mean?
C: I guess I would like evidence that I was actually meant to be here.
H: Meant by who?
C: I don’t know.
H: Then perhaps you need to know what it means for a life to have value. Consider the non human animals that you defend as a vegan. Those cows, chickens, pigs, sheep, horses, turkeys, and countless other animals don’t live as long on average as a human nor do they have the abilities to do the things that you can do as a human. But you don’t judge their lives as meaningless even though they can’t do many of the things that you can do and yet they also came to exist by the meeting of a sperm and egg. Why do you think your existence needs justification but theirs does not?
C: Because I am a failure. The other animals never had the chance to communicate with the humans and change their situation. The only hope of reducing their suffering or protecting the lives of animals or the unborn requires adult humans who can at least speak the language of the other humans and convince them that they are causing suffering and beg them to stop.
H: And you have tried to do this many times yet say you are a failure. Why?
C: Because people don’t seem to be changing. Sure maybe one or two people might have gone vegan because of me but the harm that the majority are causing never stops no matter what I say. And besides that, even those who are willing to be vegan will not vow celibacy or sterilize themselves to avoid procreation. Humans breed new other humans and teach them carnism and other dangerous religions and philosophies faster than already existing people change. So no real progress is ever made.
H: So, you’re saying that you are a failure because you have not managed to singlehandedly turn everyone in the world vegan and celibate?
H: Well then no wonder you feel like a failure with that kind of ludicrous expectation. If you thought your meaning or purpose was to change other people, then that means that your purpose is about them and has nothing to do with you. That means that if everyone lived perfectly ethical lives, then you would not exist!
C: Yes, I suppose that is true.
H: So isn’t that a contradiction? Why be Pro-Life about others and yet not about yourself?
H: You’re a hypocrite, Chastity! You love your neighbors but NOT yourself!
C: I guess you’re right. But what can I do about this?
H: I would suggest that instead of judging your life and thinking you are meaningless and don’t belong, you stop and think about the others and how you are different to yourself than them. You don’t demand that the others do the same things as you. Human children don’t even work jobs yet and the other animals don’t ever do that, yet you feel like a failure when you are not able to please the people over you at work and lose a job.
C: What you say makes sense, but I don’t know how to belong in this world without proving that I am good enough!
H: And who would you prove it to? Why let others who are selfish and hurt others carelessly be the judge of you. It’s not that you are not good enough for them. They are not good enough for you!
C: But I can’t say that.
H: Why not?
C: Because I’m not better than others. I’m not more important than them.
H: But you’re also not LESS important than them. And YOU get to set the standard of which people are involved in your life. Not because you are the judge of their life, but because you are the judge of YOUR life and what YOU want. So first figure out what you want and then work toward it. Don’t worry about the standards of society. Do what feels right to you.
C: But how will I know I am making the right choices in life?
H: You can know for a fact that you’re not!
H: You used to do a podcast explaining about the illusion of Free Will and that none of us are really the authors of our choices. You should know better than anyone that everything you say, think, feel, or do is the result of prior causes. So you need not worry about your future because you will always tell the truth as you always have, with one exception.
C: What exception?
H: You have not told yourself the truth, the truth that you belong here.
C: You told me I belong, but I still don’t know why I belong. I’m sure that someone else who is smarter, thinks quicker, doesn’t stutter, and has more money could do everything that I have done and even more.
H: I have told you that your value does not depend on what you do! You are valuable just being what you are. But beyond that, even though others ARE capable of doing many things more than you, they don’t wish to. However much you might wish that someone else could step in and take your place, nobody else wanted to! All the money and education in the world does not mean a thing without an honest soul.
C: I see. At least I can be honest. This is the one thing that makes me unlike others. But is that enough?
H: Enough for what? Enough for who? Tell me, is there anything BETTER than the truth?
H: Then who is anyone to say that you don’t belong? Who are YOU to tell yourself that you are not meant to be here?
C: You are right! I am a hypocrite! I have failed to love myself as my neighbor!
H: But at least you understand now. Can you promise me something, Chastity?
C: Promise you what?
H: That you will never say that you should not exist or that you do not belong here. You say this only because you don’t understand why you are here.
C: Honesty, are you saying that you do understand why I am here?