Ahimsa, Feline Ethics, The Value of a Life

 

For better and worse, I have, over the years, held views that are anathema to most people, particularly when it comes to the rights of nonhumans. For example, I consider the following self-evident:

(1) Human life and nonhuman life are of equal intrinsic value. 

(2) Human rights and nonhuman rights are of equal moral importance. 

Such beliefs make moral consistency impossible because humans must kill to live. Even if a person so reveres life that he only eats those parts of plants that don’t require the destruction of the whole, other plants must die and other creatures be driven from their homes in order to make space for agriculture. Some members of the Jain religion become so aggrieved by this that they starve themselves to death.

My cats are so extraordinarily sensitive and loving that I address them with such endearments as Doll, Angel, Heaven, Ecstasy, Lady Girl, All in All, His Holiness, King of my Heart, Most Worshipful Master, He Whom My Love Doth Devour, Most Beautiful Cat in the World, and Patriarch of the Cat Side of the Family. Even so, it bothers me that a cat’s beauty and virtue rest upon a foundation of corpses. Sometimes, I talk to them about this. Yesterday, I brought it up to Ollie during our nightly cuddle, and because he requires that our talks be conducted with the door closed, I learned more from him than I had from others:

Me: “Ollie it troubles me that you just jumped from my lap, killed a spider, and then returned to my lap to tell me of your love with a thousand purrs. Have you no remorse, no consideration for the rights of the little creature whose life you ended?”

Ollie: “Do you mean to say that I am a hypocrite or simply that my behavior is paradoxical?”

Me: “The latter, the fact being that, even when you are dozing, you are but a hair’s breadth from killing. While I too kill spiders, I only do so because they clutter up the house with their webs, and Peggy screams when she sees one. God forbid that a spider should fall on her face while she’s taking a shower or, worse yet, walk across her steering wheel while she’s driving. Decades ago, I caused her to question my devotion to our marriage by announcing that I would no longer kill arachnids. I tried to console her by adding that I would instead ferry them outdoors, but I failed. As it turned out, my plan also failed because, once outside, the spiders went to work building webs under soffits, in front of windows, and on the rear-view mirror of her car. When I observed that they and their offspring were finding their way back in, I returned to killing, often to the accompaniment of Peggy’s screams—screams that scared the dogs as much as the spiders scared Peggy.

“Being a just, loving, and compassionate person, I regret having to kill, whereas you, Ollie, despite your many virtues, take obscene delight in visiting death upon the innocent. If you were human, you would doubtless have a taxidermist mount your victims in fearsome poses and hang them on every wall. Peggy would then scream every time she walked into a room, and you would find yourself in an institution for callous cats. Because of the pleasure you take in killing others, I sometimes wonder if you would kill me if you were big enough.”

Ollie: “Let me get this straight. You knew I was a predator when you adopted me, and that guiltless killing was inherent to my nature. You, on the other hand, are not a predator, yet you find it within your ‘just, loving, and compassionate’ heart to destroy innocent creatures simply because their existence scares your phobic wife and their webs offend your aesthetic sensibilities! You would be better off had you been born a cow or a rabbit, but because you are a peculiar sort of man, you are tormented, and you want me to feel tormented too so I can stand at your feet on your pedestal of moral superiority and proclaim: ‘Oh, what a cruel world it is that loving creatures like ourselves must resort to killing!’ I don’t apologize for being what nature made me. I instead take pride in the fact that I can instantly go from loving to killing and back again because that is how my ancestors survived.”
 

Because Peggy and I are, for the most part, vegetarians, Ollie doesn’t realize that, like cats, most members of the human species also kill helpless birds and animals, although their killing differs from cats’ killing in that cats are obligate carnivores, whereas meat is so toxic to humans that meat-eaters die eight years younger than vegetarians.*

If the Abrahamic religions are correct in maintaining that humans alone know right from wrong, it is also true that humans alone choose to inflict avoidable suffering, death, and environmental damage simply because we enjoy the taste of corpses. In what way, then, is the only species that knows right from wrong, yet freely embraces wrong, superior to a species that lacks such knowledge and whose existence depends upon meat? We humans—including people like myself who eat eggs, dairy, and the occasional fish—not only tend toward depravity, we run headlong into it. I envy cats their innocence.


*https://www.huffpost.com/entry/plant-based-diet_b_1981838

21 comments:

Andrew said...

Nice work. I could be good and perhaps live longer, but oh the boredom so I will stay a little bit bad.

Elephant's Child said...

It is a quandary isn't it? I do usher spiders outside. Himself doesn't shriek when he sees them, but he does kill them. And is afraid of them.
I am a vegetarian (he is not). Jazz is not.
And I love them both.
I would put some animal's lives well ahead of some humans on the question of worth.

Sue said...

am just refusing to apologize for being born human - or eating meat once in a while. Don't do it often, because factory farms are total hell-holes for the animals - Bible even says that a man cares for the life of his beast.
Hhmmm, you'd think shelling out $15 for a modest steak, would be enough to fund atleast some sunny breathing space and clean water for the critters. You'd think, but we both know how it goes (reprobate$ be reprobate$).

Snowbrush said...

"I could be good and perhaps live longer, but oh the boredom so I will stay a little bit bad."

What would the boring part be?

"I would put some animal's lives well ahead of some humans on the question of worth."

I simply know a lot more asshole people than I do about asshole other creatures. Of course, I'm mostly speaking about the interactions of domestic pets. In the case of the birds and squirrels at my feeders, there is clearly a lot of heated competition and even violence despite there being enough food for everyone. Yet do those birds and squirrels have the ability to choose their behavior? I doubt it. But do we choose our behavior? Scientific studies are throwing doubt on it. For example, a researcher can tell from watching an MRI what choice a study participant will make even before the participant consciously makes it. Does this not suggest that choice is but an illusion?

"am just refusing to apologize for being born human"

Nor do I regard being human as something to apologize for because it all depends upon whether a person puts a lot of thought into issues of right and wrong, and then does his or her best to be true to the right without regard for what others are doing. Surely, you know that there are farmers who raise their animals in humane conditions, yet they still feel entitled to kill them without necessity. I ate my last meat in 1982, so I'm at the point where the sight and smell of it sickens me. I do eat eggs with the knowledge that nearly all of the baby roosters are killed, and I also eat cheese and butter with the knowledge that nearly all of the baby bulls are killed. And then there's the high amount of carbon that it takes to produce animal products, and also the high amount of methane in cow farts. The more people there are on earth, the less sustainable cows, chickens, and animal products in general become.

PhilipH said...

What is the point of the human race? It emerged from the slime and grew into the planet's master race of animals.

Humans, like all forms of animal life, are born to procreate and then die. Some rise to the top of the species, the vast majority just strive to exist.

A small percentage of the "top" humans have created easier ways for the lesser mortals to live their lives and in so doing have destroyed much of the world's basic needs. Man's inventiveness is often at the cost of nature's essential needs.

Humans have the potential to end the world, and probably will do so, sooner or later.

So, what's the point??

Snowbrush said...

"What is the point of the human race?

Aside from our desperate will to survive, I would agree that there is no INHERENT purpose to the existence of our species or any other, yet it is also true that most of us are able to assign ourselves a reason to live. As with you and I, this doesn't mean that we're happy overall, but then I would view big picture happiness as being beyond a peson's conscious control (Abraham Lincoln reportedly said, "A man is about as happy as he makes up his mind to be," yet Lincoln himself suffered from recurring periods of clinical depression.)

As with humans, I suspect that the happiness of members of other species (the mammalian ones anyway (non-mammalians being too different from us for us to understand well) exists along a continuum and is dependent upon numerous factors. However, I would be amazed if a single cat--or other creature--ever asked himself or herself about the advisability of existence or looked for purpose in life. When I reflect upon how obviously content my own cats are, I wonder how in the hell they do it. They sleep sixteen hours a day and devote a third of the remaining eight to bathing. After that comes playing, cuddling, eating, and observing one thing or another, all within the confines of this house. Yet they're happier than I am. Of course, it's probably true that they have no idea how soon they will die or how vulnerable they are to things that I can't protect them from, but then it's also true that I know these things about myself very, very well, yet they not only fail to add to my satisfaction in life, they seriously detract from it.

"Humans have the potential to end the world, and probably will do so, sooner or later."

Although we are even now destroying thousands of species a year and might conceivably wipe out our own species at some point, new species that can adapt to the mess we've made will evolve from the ones that are left, and it won't even be the first mass destruction that the earth has ever known. This is hardly something to look forward to, just as the fact that the earth and all of its life will someday be destroyed is not something to look forward to, yet I take some small pleasure in knowing that our power for destruction is limited because, were it not, then we would indeed kill ourselves and everything else too.

ellen abbott said...

I agree completely with your first two points. and humans of all of creation, I think, are the only ones who kill just because they can. well, Ollie disproves that with the spider, but I think you get my drift. and I do think that the Abrahamic religions are absolutely to blame for our thinking that only humans are conscious beings and that the world is here for us to use. but every living thing is self aware and aware of its environment, even plants which converse with their peers. I mean how could any living creature navigate its part of the world without self-awareness.

The Blog Fodder said...

A very interesting discussion, both in the blog and in the comments. I love animals and I love meat. I hate the process that turns one into the other. Is that cognitive dissonance?
A word of advice, do not believe any research that involves Seventh Day Adventists. They are the drivers behind the anti-livestock movement.

Strayer said...

I am tormented at times also, over the brutality of nature and the food chain whose top members eat those below. It's life in an ecosystem. Humans have screwed up the concept completely and as a result, will vanish from earth at some point. I don't like the concept of destroying a life, even that of a fly or spider, but I do it. I know they want to live as much as I want to live. A concept of moral superiority for not eating corpses, how does that exist together, as it may inside me, with my basic belief that we are all equal, as living things, that one species or one individual of one species is of no more significance or worth, than another. I am an animal. Nothing more.

Strayer said...

Sometimes I think of all life forms as feeding tubes, mouth to butt. The different species--just trial and error add ons to discover the best outerwear to feed the tube.

Snowbrush said...

"...humans...are the only ones who kill just because they can. Well, Ollie disproves that with the spider, but I think you get my drift."

When I observe how obsessed cats are with hunting, I seriously doubt that they are able to choose to do otherwise. What I don't know is whether our actions are any less the unalterable product of cause and effect--that is, are we creatures of choice or rather creatures with the illusion of choice? .

"I do think that the Abrahamic religions are absolutely to blame for our thinking that only humans are conscious beings and that the world is here for us to use..."

Assuming you haven't already seen the following Gallup Poll result, it will no doubt cheer you, the good news being that church membership has dropped by 23% in the last twenty years: https://news.gallup.com/poll/341963/church-membership-falls-below-majority-first-time.aspx

"...every living thing is self aware and aware of its environment, even plants which converse with their peers."

I'm aware that some plants communicate and cooperate, but since they lack a brain is it possible that they are conscious, and if brainless lifeforms are conscious, is it then reasonable to speculate that, just maybe, non-living things are also conscious? I know that, from my earliest memory, I believed that awareness was a universal attribute (a belief that is, for some reason, referred to as the pathetic fallacy), and, even now, I am no less able to say no to my oldest remembered belief than Ollie is to say no to killing.

"I love animals and I love meat. I hate the process that turns one into
the other. Is that cognitive dissonance?"

I assume that, by love, you simply mean appreciation since I cannot imagine you looking an animal in the eye and saying: "Although I love you, I'm going to slit your throat and eat your corpse." ...This reminds me that, while still in Mississippi, I had two bumper stickers on my Datsun truck. One was in praise of the American Civil Liberties Union, while the other proclaimed, "Love Animals, Don't Eat Them," the apparent assumption behind the second sticker being that no one can kill a creature that he loves...

I stopped eating meat in 1983 without missing it except for bacon and pork chops. I gradually got over missing bacon, but 38-years after becoming a vegetarian, I STILL miss pork chops, although I have no idea whether I could enjoy one now. I say this because I used to love cream-filled doughnuts, but when I ate one after years of not eating them, the most I could say for it was that it was okay. I concluded from this that my taste had changed, and I suspect that the same might be even more true of pork chops.

"A word of advice, do not believe any research that involves Seventh Day Adventists. They are the drivers behind the anti-livestock movement."

Come to think of it, I'm pretty anti-livestock too, this due to both humane considerations and environmental concerns. Now...for the purposes of the study, it would make no difference if Adventists buggered dogs and chopped adorable little toddlers into tiny piece for the fun of it, there having been only two study-relevant considerations: (1) Were the subjects of the study vegetarians? (2) Did the subjects of the study live longer, and if so how much longer. However, it's also true that studies of non-Adventist vegetarians yielded the same results.

"Sometimes I think of all life forms as feeding tubes, mouth to butt. The different species--just trial and error add ons to discover the best outerwear to feed the tube."

While I agree that living beings are, among other things, eating machines, I don't know what conclusion(s) you draw from this, but I would guess that it's not a happy one.

Snowbrush said...

"I am tormented at times also, over the brutality of nature and the food chain whose top members eat those below."

I know what you mean. Nature documentaries can be hard to watch because while I'm horrified by the image of a fox killing a rabbit, I'm even more horrified to envision a mother fox and her pups starving because she was unable to kill rabbits.

"I don't like the concept of destroying a life, even that of a fly or spider, but I do it."

If I hated it more, I wouldn't do it because I rarely NEED to. So when do I "need to"? I need to when carpenter ants invade my house, in which case killing them is an act of self-defense. Killing spiders is another matter. I never kill one without regret, and there is even one species (I don't know its name, but they're small, black, hairy, and don't, so far as I know, make webs) that I so adore that I can't bring myself to kill its members at all. But why do I spare that species? Because I regard them as cute, and their cuteness leads me to so personify them that killing one would feel a tiny bit like killing a puppy or a kitten. Aside from spiders, the only things that I do kill are flies, ants, and mosquitoes. Most other species, I try to help in one way or another--for example, in winter, I move earthworms from the wet street to my compost pile; I warmly welcome paper wasps into my storage shed, and I built a home for solitary wasps.

"A concept of moral superiority for not eating corpses, how does that exist together, as it may inside me, with my basic belief that we are all equal, as living things, that one species or one individual of one species is of no more significance or worth, than another. I am an animal. Nothing more."

Do you mean to say that you're unable to reconcile the feeling of moral superiority that you get from not eating corpses with the belief that all beings are equal? If that is what you're referring to, I don't believe that individuals are of equal worth, and, in fact, I view some of them as being of such negative worth that I would rejoice upon receiving news of their deaths. Examples include sadists, rapists, dictators, child molesters, various fascistic politicians, people who cheat the elderly out of their life savings, etc. When I speak of equality, I have reference to different things. For example, I believe in equality in the sense that we should all be equal under law; have equal access to medical care, and be afforded equal job opportunities. I also believe that the inherent worth of the members of one species is equal to the inherent worth of the members of another species. If I were to live in accordance with my highest beliefs, values, and ideals, my life would bear little resemblance to what it's like today. When I consider your life, I see in you someone who has dedicated herself to living in accordance with her values regardless of the cost in time, money, self-denial, and aggravation.

Winifred said...

What a fabulous conversation that was Snow!

One of my little beauties has just trundled in reminding me in case I forget that it's 30 minutes to feeding time! Their food clocks are amazing, just wish that they could sleep to 7am before their alarms go off.

I don't like spiders & neither do the cats but they just watch them, it's birds & mice they love to chase sadly.

Husband gets the job of taking the spiders outside to continue their work of getting rid of flies etc so we don't kill them.

Hope you Peggy & lovely moggies are keeping well. Take care.

Ruby End said...

I don't envy cats much, or dogs either, though they look very happy running for a ball. I envy a woodlouse, or a blue whale though.

Beware the Daily Mail, it's known high and low for false reporting, false studies, and general lies, there's no rag I despise more than that one.

We have sun my dear! Woo-hoo! X

Snowbrush said...

"Beware the Daily Mail, it's known high and low for false reporting, false studies, and general lies, there's no rag I despise more than that one."

Sounds like a British version of an American embarrassment called the National Enquirer--or do you have that one too? In this event, the Mail correctly reported a study from a scientific journal entitled Cancer, but upon receiving your objection, I removed the reference rather than rely upon a source that a trustworthy reader tells me is a piece of contemptuous crap.

I thought of you a good bit while writing this post because I wondered if you would agree with the two beliefs with which I started the post, and with the fact that they make moral consistency impossible. Rather than have you go back and read them, I'll repeat them here. First, the two beliefs:

"(1) Human life and nonhuman life are of equal intrinsic value. "(2) Human rights and nonhuman rights are of equal moral importance." 

Now, for the problem that they create: "Such beliefs make moral consistency impossible because humans must kill to live. Even if a person so reveres life that s/he only eats those parts of plants that don’t require the destruction of the whole, other plants must die and other creatures be driven from their homes in order to make space for agriculture."

Because, at a bare minimum, morality requires that we avoid eating creatures that scream and attempt to run away when being "harvested" (yes, I've heard the word being used in this way), I didn't intend this post as a criticism of veganism/vegetarianism, but rather as an expression of my own thought that there is no diet so pure that I, at least, could pursue it without guilt. So far as I know, you are my only vegan reader, and as someone who has given a great deal of thought to a compassionate diet, I would greatly value any thoughts you might be so kind as to share. I know that you have often been verbally attacked by meat-eaters who accuse you of thinking that you are more moral than they, and although you deny that you see yourself in such a way, I don't understand why you don't because, in the area of diet, the person who makes a conscious effort to reduce the world's suffering is surely more moral than the person who knowingly dines on creatures that met their deaths in trembling terror. Obviously, a given vegan might be a moral trainwreck in every other way--just as a meat-eater might be a moral exemplar in every other way--but when it comes to diet, I, a non-vegan, view you and your fellow vegans as hands-down superior.

Ruby E3 said...

I'll be back later today dearie, I've answered these points before when you've covered them you see, but that was a while back. I don't think you're having a go in the slightest! My Nutshell is to cause as little pain to sentient beings as possible without causing myself pain. It's not been hard to do. I simply do my best and my best seems to go further than most people's efforts, which is their choice. But I'm writing this with one finger on the mobile in huge text so need to review what you've said again. So, much like the terminator, I'll be back. X

Ruby End said...

"(1) Human life and nonhuman life are of equal intrinsic value. "(2) Human rights and nonhuman rights are of equal moral importance." I think morals are all over the show with humans because they vary so much and people bend them at will to be the shape they want, so it's tricky being general about them. For myself it's morally wrong to purposely ignore torture and killing and cruelty that's purposely inflicted for nothing more than one's own tastes and pleasures. Lots of poeple don't want to hear that. Meat eaters often say 'What about the carrots and the carrot's babies?!' or 'What about the bugs on windshield?' I find the lengths they're going to, in order to excuse their own behaviour a very poor show. Lets say we take a cat and hurt it intentionally because it makes us laugh and compare it to driving to work and bugs, going about their daily life just the same as the driver is, get killed. INTENT. I can't get over the amount of anger from meat eaters towards people who are simlpy saying they themselves don't want to cause unneeded death or cruelty. That's it, just saying 'No thanks I don't eat meat' sets them off into some kind of froth. Do people consider themselves better than killers in jail because they don't go round killing people for pleasure like they do? Yes they do think they're better for it. Do I think I'm better than people who won't look into how much pain and cruelty is behind their lifestyle? No, I think I give more of a crap about animals than they do. That's all. I've heard 'I'm too old' as a reason too which translates to ' I can't be arsed'. Justification is so tiresome, and nastiness towards people who care about these things reflects the worst in humanity I think. Just try not to hurt animals, people, the earth, the planet as much as you can, it's a very peaceful rewarding way to live and perfectly healthy. If people don't want to that's fine, I don't rant at them and call them murderers, I don't pick at everything they say I leave them be until asked questions like this. I admire you for knowing what goes into your diet and making a choices that are informed sweetie. Good on you.

Snowbrush said...

I found your points to be insightful and well-worded overall, yet you lost me with the following:

"Do I think I'm better than people who won't look into how much pain and cruelty is behind their lifestyle? No, I think I give more of a crap about animals than they do."
As you said, you have covered this point before (perhaps years before), but I asked you again simply because I had been unable to make sense of your previous answer, and wanted to have another go at it. To wit, you say that you don't see yourself as "better," but simply as someone who, unlike meat eaters, wishes to avoid the infliction of needless suffering. If that doesn't qualify you as "better," then I don't know how you define the word. While you might not be (and probably aren't) morally superior to a meat eater in every way possible, you're certainly better in the way that is under discussion.

"I don't rant at them and call them murderers..."

This is another point that I don't quite understand. On the one hand, calling them murderers would result in anger, and perhaps hatred, toward you and other vegans. However, IF you agree (and you might not) that all forms of life are of equal intrinsic value, then would you not be justified in calling them murderers? For my part, I make no moral distinction between the shooting of, for example, a harmless nonhuman and the shooting of a harmless human, because the only way to justify killing the former is to claim that he or she is unimportant, a claim that, in my view, defies rational justification and therefore amounts to specieist rationalization.

cont.

Snowbrush said...

"I admire you for knowing what goes into your diet and making a choices that are informed sweetie. Good on you."

Arrgh! If I didn't know and trust you, I would suspect you of sarcasm, but because I know and trust you, I can but thank you for remaining open to the good that is within me. However, I can't see that I deserve your kind words because, in my view, I'm simply so callous and depraved that I am able to make choices that are as immoral as they are informed ! Perhaps, I am a better person than many in that I have at least made some effort to mitigate the suffering I knowingly cause (for example by only eating eggs that were laid by cageless hens that are allowed access to the outdoors, but this is surely a low bar to jump...

"What about the bugs on windshield?"

I suppose you could respond with the same level of bullshit that is being thrown at you by saying that you get out of your fucking car with your fucking shovel and give the fucking bugs a fucking funeral... I understand that the people who asked this were merely trying to goad you with what they regarded as a scintillatingly brilliant reductio ad absurdum attack, yet the question is nevertheless, as you acknowledge, valid to the practice of ahimsa, and, as such, Jains use it to justify their refusal to drive (or travel by other means). Decades ago, I spent a few days at a Hare Krishna community near subtropical New Orleans, and the people there lived by a similar standard. So it was that they were tormented by mosquitoes and their food was covered with many thousands of flies (whose millions of eggs would--had they not been eaten--have soon grown into millions of maggots).

"INTENT"

Legally, there are, of course, different levels of murder, and so it is that a person can be so charged even if he had no intention of killing anyone, the reason being that the law expects us to make an effort to preserve life (of course, the law is only concerned with human life). So it is that, for those who revere all forms of life equally, one must be wary lest rationalization assumes the form of justification--driving (indeed all forms of travel) being a common situation in which rationalization might easily intrude. Thoreau wrote that our entire lives are "startlingly moral" in that our every decision has a moral component and speaks volumes about the kind of person we are. In Christian circles, one hears of sins of commission and sins of omission, it not being enough to avoid the intention of doing evil (Jesus illustrates the sin of omission in his parable about the Good Samaritan).

...If there is anything of good that comes from my many moral failures it is that I am less judgmental than I would otherwise be... There's a Quaker self-examination question that goes somewhat like the following: "Although I work to oppose war, do I find in myself the spirit that makes war possible?" In spirit, I would make a bloodthirsty vegan, the kind of vegan that people wrongly accuse you of being.

Ruby End said...

'To wit, you say that you don't see yourself as "better," but simply as someone who, unlike meat eaters, wishes to avoid the infliction of needless suffering. If that doesn't qualify you as "better," then I don't know how you define the word. ' - Okay, so my experience is that it goes against helping the cause, which is the relief of animals from pain etc to indicate feeling superior or in any way act upon that. Even here it isn't something I would say to be the case, I don't like 'superior' for a start, and no-one who might think again about meat-eating would either. I am all about easing people into the idea, through discussion, any mention of superiority is going to fall flat on it's face. But do you feel it he cries?!! Not like that, I feel disappointed other people who claim to love animals don't educate themselves on it and attack me and my ilk, religious people baffle me as all they go on about is kindness and yet limit it to themselves and their pets.

'However, IF you agree (and you might not) that all forms of life are of equal intrinsic value, then would you not be justified in calling them murderers?' - Being justified is irrelevant and indeed would be a selfish act on my part, piss them off and once again not help people think again. It would make them angry and the angry ones are in a froth of incapability to change as they can't bear to think of themselves as anything but animal lovers etc. Once again, it isn't about me and my right to feel anything, it's about how to help the animals.

I wasn't being sarcastic no! Hahahahahahahahahahaha. It's because you are willing to find out what happens to chicks (many are chucked into meat grinders alive on dairy farms, even 'lovely nice' dairy farms - me stating that alone will make some people very angry by the way), the devastation to a hen's body after years of forced egg-laying (my friend keeps rescued battery hens, they're always in an absolute state and need a great deal of care from a vet usually before they die, but they finally experience kindness and love). I can't bear those who won't even read about it and just baa away about it being natural and that they know their meat is from a wonderful place where all the animals skip freely and play poker and have all the kids round on a Sunday (that was sarcasm).

I know many loud angry vegans, and I admire them for their ability to confront meat-eaters, it is something that has either been beaten out of me over the years or was never happily there. I will have discussions all day long as long as they are civil, but when hatred is turned upon me I leave. It's my way, others abound back or even challenge people as they eat meat. I don't think shaming as a practice for anything works well though. I am angry though, very angry and sad that I've been so alone on my journey for so long and now it's the twelfth hour for humans so far as ecology goes tons of them are jumping up and down pleased as punch because they 'do their bit' and eat plant-based food. I don't tell them I'm angry and think they prove that humans are inherently selfish to the core, but I think it, yet still, whatever it takes, they are eating less animals and less animals are suffering. So be it. Also I'm a an archangel so that helps *beams*.

Snowbrush said...

As I understand you, while you sometimes feel angry and bewildered, you avoid displaying these feelings because they would be counterproductive. Fair enough--that makes perfect sense to me. Maybe you're more loving than I, or maybe you're just just better at hiding negative judgments, but for whatever the reason, I couldn't pull it off. I can't reach meat-eaters just as I can't reach anarchists, Muslim terrorists, Trumpian fascists, global warming deniers, and evangelical Christians. Not only that, if I tried to pull it off, the likelihood would be that they and I would go away hating one another even more than we previously did. I wasn't always like this.

Differences between myself and others used to so intrigue me that I would seek out differences so that I might understand and be understood at a heart level. Of course, I often failed for various reasons. For one thing, people often don't want to discuss values differences, and, of course, I brought my own limitations to the table, in particular my judgmentalism and my belief in my intellectual superiority. Then Trump happened, and my observation of his followers changed me dramatically due to the reasons they gave, not just for supporting him, but for believing everything he told them. Within the space of months, I went from at least trying to believe that people think as they do because, to the best of their ability, they think, read, discuss, and research, to holding the exact opposite view, which is that they believe as they do but because they're ignorant, shallow, inconsistent, immoral, hypocritical, and credulous. So it was that the internal barriers that had always separated me from others to some extent took over completely. I even came to wonder if some of my former tolerance wasn't in fact weakness masquerading as love and respect. (You can see why all of my Trumpian blog buddies went away mad.)

I have nothing to offer people who believe absurdities without evidence. 75% of Republicans believe that Biden stole the election by using rigged voting machines to change Trump votes to Biden votes; a similar number of Republicans believe that that the capitol invasion was conducted by Antifa members (Antifa has no members) pretending to be Trumpians; 23% of Republicans believe that the Democratic Party is run by sex-trafficking pedophiles who sacrifice babies to Satan; and about as many believe that Covid is a lie. But what does this have to do with meat-eaters? Have you noted the number of meat-eaters who believe that God gave us meat to eat, so to refuse to eat it is to slap God in the face; that eating meat is important aspect of a sound environmental strategy; that vegetarians die young because they don't eat meat; that animals are incapable of feeling pain (one theory being that God programmed them with the appearance of pain in order to teach compassion to children); that vegetarian women are frigid and vegetarians men are impotent sissies; that vegetarianism is part of a vast leftish conspiracy to take over the world by destroying traditional values; that animals lack souls and are therefore property no less than cars and cellphones?

Me: IF you agree...that all forms of life are of equal intrinsic value, then would you not be justified in calling them murderers?'
You: Being justified is irrelevant and indeed would be a selfish act on my part, piss them off and once again not help people think again.

I understand your point, and it makes sense to me, but I had the impression that many--perhaps most--meat-eaters approach you and not you them, and that they then try to goad you into saying that you regard them as morally wrong so that they will have an excuse to ignore your arguments.