My Brother's Take On Veg*anism **DISCUSS** - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 03-28-2007, 09:11 AM
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Soft, warm, and pink--as it rests in front of him, beads of sweat rolling slowly down its surface, he feels the firing of synapses in the most ancient part of his brain vehemently pushing him toward it. But how can he deny all that he believes? /Or perhaps I don't believe it at all,/ he hesitates for a moment, as the battle continues in the opposing territories of his mind, /after all, who am I to deny the entire history of mankind./ It was a good point; indeed, from the earliest days of his species, the consumption of what he now sees as forbidden fruit was not in any way indulgent, but actually quite indispensable to survival. But that he himself knew it was a good point made it all the harder to accept.

"Fine," he mutters to himself, as though he needed some final encouragement. Slowly he bent forward, first at the waist, and then at each each vertebra in succession until he found himself stretching his neck forward.

"Instinct, one--Beliefs, zero," he mused to himself. It failed to the soften the guilt.



This story may illustrate to you the drive one feels to consume meat. To another, namely a Judaeo-Christian, it might represent the struggle they confront when the devil tempts them to carnal lust. I have purposefully chosen to construct it in a vague manner so as to illustrate my primary response to your inquiry: Veganism is religion.



The first fashion in which the lifestyle resembles religion is here represented as a hindrance of freewill for reasons of belief--which, I might add, goes against eons of empiricist fact.



When such belief intrudes on one's freewill, it is not uncommon for her to proselytize other's in the same authoritarian fashion. Threatening them with damnation, addressing them as some sort of abomination or blight on the earth (or the afterlife)--any of a number of methods may be employed in this objective, but the result is shared.



When I had mustered the courage to "out" myself, proclaiming my disbelief in any supreme being, I was an inquiry very similar to that with which you are now addressing me (and have several times, to my dismay): Why don't you believe in God? Some asked this question from a self-serving mentality, to meet their conversion "quota." Others seemed genuine enough, but one can never be sure with theists. But the fact that I was being asked outlines both of the aforementioned categorical flaws of religion; hindrance of freewill had led them to ask, out of their own insecurities, and authoritarianism, namely in their intolerance of dissent.



So, don't call me an omnivore; it is a label, and labeling categorically places me closer to religion. Moreover, I'm not an "omnivore." No, I would consider myself, if anything at all, human. Because this is too broad, perhaps it could be narrowed to epicurean (in the Platonic sense, not the contemporary meaning which has been affixed out of foolish misuse on part of American English).

~Bro~

P.S. Probably many errors, but--no offense intended, of course--I see no reason to spend a great amount of time on something so trivial.



P.P.S David Cross is in this week's episode of Tim and Eric.



((He is my brother, and we talk a lot about lifestyles and such. He went Vegan with me two years ago, and now eats meat. I simply wanted to know why he decided to eat meat, and this is the response I got. The response is great, and I respect him for giving it. Honestly, I didn't expect him to answer. The response it thought-provoking as well, though. I just wanted to see your thoughts on it, fellow veggies.))
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#2 Old 03-28-2007, 09:16 AM
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I can't even take him seriously because he doesn't consider himself to be an omnivore.



I am a vegan by free will, voluntary choice.
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#3 Old 03-28-2007, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by veggiejanie View Post

I can't even take him seriously because he doesn't consider himself to be an omnivore.



I am a vegan by free will, voluntary choice.



See, while I partly agree with his response... I saw his not wanting to be called an omni sort of like he is ashamed to eat what he does.



Eh... He is my bro. I have respect for him no matter.
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#4 Old 03-28-2007, 11:03 AM
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i'm a bit confused. i'll be honest, i only opened this thread because the preview seemed all about the 'carnal lust', and that caught my interest (what does that say about me, hahaha?).



so what is your brother trying to say exactly? is he saying that he doesn't beleive he should fight his instinct to eat meat, because its something man has done for millennia? so? we've been killing each other since the dawn of time too. should we not give that up, becuase its traditional and to do so would make light of our forefathers?



or does he think veg*nism is bad because it smacks of religion (or something?) and he's anti-authority, anti-spiritualism/spiritual oppression/expression, anti-god, anti-religion, or an anachist (or something else like that???) ? ok. weird reason, interesting logic, but whatever.. if it helps him justify his behaviour to himself and that makes him happy, thats great for him.



or is he saying he's anti using his self-control and making ethical or moral judgments, if it goes against what he wants to do? he wants to watch out if thats the case, cos he'll end up in prison sooner or later. you can't always do what you want... you can with do that food to an extent (eating babies or the neighbours is still a no-no), but it'll bite him in the bum if he applies the same logic in other areas of his life.



does he really beleive he eats meat instinctively, and that its not a learned practice? i know some small children eat worms, but i bet most small kids given a carrot and a live rabbit (or a dead one, come to think of it) on a plate would automatically choose to eat the carrot, and not have some primal urge to bite the rabbits head off and smear the bits all over their face. even if they did have that primal urge, would he really want to nurture it? i'd be all for repressing it, lol. instincts aren't always for the following in the modern world. i have the intinct to do lots of not-so-smart things, all the time.



or is he trying to show some primal connection between ritual and death and food and lust, and say that he's in touch with his humanity as a result of following said primative urges, and that whole thing makes it ok for him to eat burgers? yeah.... hmmmm.. righty ho.



with regards to the omnivorism and labelling, he can choose to be label himself however he wants, and/or to accept or not accept a label given by another- but it really doesn't change who he is and what he does. a label is just a word- its a tool for categorising and understanding, and a tool which implies something, but giving something a name that implies something nice about it, or which conjures a desired image, doesn't change what it is (or does) underneath. i could call myself a 'cheesewizz-space-monkey', instead of a human, and wouldn't make me any less of a person. i could call my keyboard an 'acid-flesh melter', it aint gonna hurt me to type.



.....oooow, oowww, my searing dripping oozing fingers (hehehe)
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#5 Old 03-28-2007, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by hoodedclawjen View Post

i'm a bit confused. i'll be honest, i only opened this thread because the preview seemed all about the 'carnal lust', and that caught my interest (what does that say about me, hahaha?).



so what is your brother trying to say exactly? is he saying that he doesn't beleive he should fight his instinct to eat meat, because its something man has done for millennia? so? we've been killing each other since the dawn of time too. should we not give that up, becuase its traditional and to do so would make light of our forefathers?



or does he think veg*nism is bad because it smacks of religion (or something?) and he's anti-authority, anti-spiritualism/spiritual oppression/expression, anti-god, anti-religion, or an anachist (or something else like that???) ? ok. weird reason, interesting logic, but whatever.. if it helps him justify his behaviour to himself and that makes him happy, thats great for him.



or is he saying he's anti using his self-control and making ethical or moral judgments, if it goes against what he wants to do? he wants to watch out if thats the case, cos he'll end up in prison sooner or later. you can't always do what you want... you can with do that food to an extent (eating babies or the neighbours is still a no-no), but it'll bite him in the bum if he applies the same logic in other areas of his life.



does he really beleive he eats meat instinctively, and that its not a learned practice? i know some small children eat worms, but i bet most small kids given a carrot and a live rabbit (or a dead one, come to think of it) on a plate would automatically choose to eat the carrot, and not have some primal urge to bite the rabbits head off and smear the bits all over their face. even if they did have that primal urge, would he really want to nurture it? i'd be all for repressing it, lol. instincts aren't always for the following in the modern world. i have the intinct to do lots of not-so-smart things, all the time.



or is he trying to show some primal connection between ritual and death and food and lust, and say that he's in touch with his humanity as a result of following said primative urges, and that whole thing makes it ok for him to eat burgers? yeah.... hmmmm.. righty ho.



with regards to the omnivorism and labelling, he can choose to be label himself however he wants, and/or to accept or not accept a label given by another- but it really doesn't change who he is and what he does. a label is just a word- its a tool for categorising and understanding, and a tool which implies something, but giving something a name that implies something nice about it, or which conjures a desired image, doesn't change what it is (or does) underneath. i could call myself a 'cheesewizz-space-monkey', instead of a human, and wouldn't make me any less of a person. i could call my keyboard an 'acid-flesh melter', it aint gonna hurt me to type.



.....oooow, oowww, my searing dripping oozing fingers (hehehe)



Interesting post.



Honestly, I have no straight answer as to what he was referring to when justifying why he eats meat. From what I am able to gather from the response he has given me, he has no desire to be a part of a religion, nor anything like it. My brother explains that religions cause too much restriction upon someones desires and causes someone to preach to others about what is right and wrong, despite their own problems. In the sense of religion, I would have to agree with him on all points. In a way, Veg*anism is a religion.



With that said, I have no idea how the choice to eat meat becomes an anology for religion. I guess he sees that if you are Vegan, you feel obligated morally and ethically to stick to your beliefs, even if those beliefs should change. Further more, you feel the need to preach and let the word be heard of why you are Vegan (or vegetarian). In a way, I can almost see how he pictures veg*anism a religion-type of lifestyle in those aspects.
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#6 Old 03-28-2007, 12:11 PM
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I found this interesting, and more intriguing than a lot of justifications for eating meat. Although it has some eloquent moments, I'm not sure it makes a coherent statement.



Here's my take on it.



A few years ago, I came across a useful idea on the psychology of ethics. The idea is that there are several different ways of approaching ethical matters, each with its own root psychology and behavioral implications.



The first of these is the ethics of convention, where "right" and "wrong" are just internalized versions of social customs, which are themselves basically arbitrary. (A trivial example is that is it "wrong" to drive on the left side of the road in the US, but "right" to do so in the UK.) Conventions about how to dress, table manners, what words are considered offensive, etc., fall into this category. We may become upset of "offended" when these conventions are violated, but there is no deeper rationale than the feeling that people should do what is expected and fit in.



A second category is the ethics of reciprocity, which appeal to our sense of fairness. It's wrong for me to steal your things because I wouldn't want someone stealing my things. Golden rule. These are usually things we can come up with good, logical-sounding justifications for. They have the aura of things that it's reasonable to expect of all ethically sensitive people anywhere.



A third category is that of purity ethics. These apply to behaviors we balk at on a visceral level. (An extreme but clear example is cannibalism, or consuming excrement.) When we are operating from purity ethics, we approach questions in an uncompromising way, and regard counterarguments as unpersuasive, no matter how logical they may sound.



Different communities and cultures may encourage these different approaches in different contexts, for different kinds of issues. Contrast, for example, liberal and conservative approaches to sexual ethics. Liberals tend to operate from a reciprocity framework (if no one is being hurt, what's the problem?), whereas conservatives may operate from a purity standpoint (some acts are unequivocally sinful; end of story).



Where am I going with all this? When I read your brother's writing, I hear him balking at purity ethics with its uncompromising all-or-nothing stance which drops an uncrossable line between those who maintain purity and those who violate it. (Note that in the ethics of convention and reciprocity, transgressions can be graded as minor or admissible because of unusual circumstance, whereas this is not so with purity ethics.)



So I think he is drawing a parallel between sexual purity in the context of conservative religion and dietary purity in the context of vegetarianism, perhaps suggesting that both approaches are unnatural in their absolutism and absence of a "safety valve" for the expression of common human desires.



The comment about labeling is not meant as a "denial" of his status as a meat eater, I think, but rather as a rejection of separating people into stark pure/impure categories on the basis of eating meat.



I have some sympathy with his position (if indeed I'm getting it at all). People can internalize "purity ethics" from people around them, but unless the negative visceral reaction (to eating meat, in this case) is actually present for them, there will be cognitive dissonance and perhaps eventual rebellion.



Of course, reciprocity ethics can also support a vegan lifestyle, and perhaps that approach would suit him better - not that I would expect that sort of development, of course.



Blessings, Tom
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#7 Old 03-28-2007, 12:27 PM
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My little tidbit would be this: He seems to feel that "religion" chose him, rather than the other way around. I chose veganism because I found it was an answer to convictions that I already had. My choosing veganism was an instrument of my free will -- my very own choice. As such, I suppose I could disown it at any time, and he did as he was free to do.



We all restrict our "free will" at some point, choosing not to streak our neighbors, shout obscenities at passers-by when we're angry, use a pair of pliers to pull out an aching tooth, eating 3 dozen doughnuts every night, skipping work... I think you see where I am going here.



"I don't those things because they would get me hurt, or hurt others." And so, I am vegan.



(Looks like I am arguing for my veganism being a product reciprocity ethics according to Seusomon.)
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#8 Old 03-28-2007, 12:32 PM
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It's interesting to me that he suggests that to abstain from eating meat denies his humanity, because I feel the exact opposite. Our capacity for moral reasoning is one of the major characteristics that set us apart from other species. We feel empathy, to the extent that we model our behavior around it. (Some of us more than others!) It's funny that people at once want to feel superior as humans but then deny those very traits that make us human by claiming that "it's in our nature" to eat meat. Our nature is to feel empathy! And you don't see those same people claiming that it's in their nature to defecate in the middle of the sidewalk or to pounce on and attempt to mate with a pretty young woman in line next to them at the grocery store. Are you animal or aren't you?



Epicurius didn't promote just doing whatever suits your impulses. While he did believe that pleasure should be the ultimate goal, he considered philosophy the highest form of pleasure. And higher moral reasoning to him was being able to step back and consider the sum total of the pleasure and pain that will result from doing something, including mental or emotional pain, including guilt. Personally, I feel that best thing about living according to my morals is not that some divine being will reward me or be happy with me, but because that is the way for me to have the least suffering in myself. As a human being, who feels empathy, I feel the least pain when I am not inflicting suffering on others. I aim to avoid that pain. It's almost Epicurean.
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#9 Old 03-30-2007, 03:02 PM
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So he's saying (I'm focusing on the beginning) instinct is driving him to eat meat? Oh yeah? Let him loose in a pen with a cow/pig/chicken and see if he has the lust to chase, kill, and devour it. THAT'S instinct. Seeing a steak and wanting in from the depths of your loins is a craving.



The end. :}
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#10 Old 03-30-2007, 06:26 PM
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I really didn't understand this piece. Sorry.
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#11 Old 03-30-2007, 06:41 PM
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I agree. A lot of words that say nothing.
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#12 Old 03-30-2007, 06:50 PM
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I don't take texts like that very seriously.

1. It was unnecessarily verbose.

2. Meat having been important in man's evolution is a common nonsensical point that he seems to use, even if not explicitly. It's nonsense because why does the necessity of X at some past time imply the moral acceptability of it now? Plus one might argue that slavery was necessary in the development of the Greek culture he refers to -- does that make slavery acceptable?

3. I seriously doubt he has any "instinct" for eating meat. Rather, it's just a way to disguise his mere accustomed preference as some kind of biological necessity, thus absolving him of responsibility ("I just have to eat it!!11").

4. Calling veganism a religion is, first of all, pretty childish. It seems to be common at least nowadays to name-call anything you don't like as a religion and think that qualifies as some clever retort. Sure, many vegans may have principles of "purity" etc. but even if those individuals did something, that's a far cry from veganism itself, or practiced by anyone, amounting to a religion.

5. Most importantly however, his identity seems to be in a pretty bad condition if he bases a central lifestyle decision like eating meat on how vegans behave. Why give a **** about how "religious" they are? If you don't like them, be an example of a better way to practice veganism.



-



Sorry if that sounded harsh or something, him being your brother and all, I'm not attacking him personally in other respects, I'm just very used to these types of rationalizations.

"and I stand

upon a mountain

made of weak and useless men"

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