Thoughts on what we eat …

Recently, WeWork made headlines for a new policy that does not reimburse employees for meals that include meat.  I won’t go into all their reasons.

But, I do want to share what I wrote in response to a related news story titled “Here’s What Philosophers Have to Say About Eating Meat.”  Before I do that, I want to say we have wonderful friends who do not eat meat.  We do our best to have non-meat offerings when they are with us for meals.  We do not feel harassed by them, and I hope they don’t feel uncomfortable with us.  After I share my thoughts on this, I am going to share a lovely picture of our first livestock guardian dog, an Anatolian Shepherd Dog (ASD) that we loved dearly.  He’s sniffing on the best male rabbit (breeding stock) we ever had — Buck Bunny.  This picture says a lot of things, but to me, it represents the appreciation we have for the animals here on our farm.  Yes, we eat rabbit.  And it is true that both of us (one more than the other) do not look forward to some of that process.  Okay, with that preface out of the way, here’s what I wrote:

The fervor with which some individuals go after omnivores leaves me as uneasy as that which drives the anti-abortionist or alt-right movements. So black and white. So emotional. With abundant, self-righteous confrontation.

These conflagrations would be much less consuming if our human population were under a billion instead of approaching more astronomical billions. We are in each other’s spaces, faces and lives more than we can civilly bear, it seems. Add resource fights on top of it.

Other have written that life feeds on death. Who can deny this? Something dies if something lives – the act of eating is an act of killing, plant, insect, animal. One exception might be eating the remains of fruits and flowers – for those are already dying – as long as seeds aren’t killed. What about those seeds? Is it our moral responsibility to save, plant and nurture them all? And then the seeds’ seeds? And the seeds’ seeds’ seeds after that?

We can very quickly put ourselves into a mental box from which there is no escape. Moral philosophy is really good at creating different kinds of boxes, explaining how to be in them, how they are different from other boxes, etc. I studied moral philosophy where Francis Hutcheson (and Adam Smith) once sat. That’s why I feel comfortable saying what I just said about moral philosophy. I’m asserting it won’t resolve our conflicts about “killing” … killing embryos, killing seeds, killing plants, killing bugs, killing animals. Eating that which we are — we are all part of the same thing! Yet none
of us, not one of us, knows how we got here or where we are going. We are making it up as we go along, wandering around in our mix of emotions, reason, environment, feedback loops and dreams.

For me, I have chosen to not breed, to raise my own food (which includes plants and animals – I leave the bugs alone). I try to honor the life of what I have eaten with my own life in relation to others. I kind of like moderation (except for drinking coffee — I don’t moderate that at all — I guess I kill hundreds of thousands of coffee seeds).

I really don’t like people spewing spittle at me for violating some rule of theirs.

I think we are in a big, messy dilemma — one that is incredibly complicated because of our sheer numbers on this planet.



4 thoughts on “Thoughts on what we eat …”

  1. Humans will become obsolete after creating robotic entities that will not require eating other life for food. These entities will also not require oxygen and will be energized by a source (radioactivity?) of energy that will truly allow the exploration of the universe. Evolution will nor stop – so the best we humans can do is to enjoy our short lives before wars and global warming drastically change this planet so only intelligent, none living entities, can carry evolution forward in our universe.

    Who knows what is out there and happening in that great beyond? I don’t!

    1. There are maybe a few that have glimpses into other dimensions and “life” forms out there, but even for them, it remains true that our origins and destinies remain mysteries. I remember when I was still in that idealistic youth phase … I would get both disheartened and angry when I would hear older people say things like “we do what we can do”. But, now it appears to be true!

  2. A food-fanatic is just as bad as a religious zealot–judgemental, without the right to be.

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