Monthly Archives: November 2013

Yes, nature is cruel

As a vegetarian I often hear that eating meat is natural. After all, humans have eaten meat since forever. We are supposed to be at the top of the food chain. Did I know that domestic cats kill millions of birds every year? Do I realize that our bodies are adapted to an omnivore diet? That every single day, animals in the wild suffer far more painful deaths than they would in most slaughterhouses?

My comeback is this: Would you let your child die from malaria when you could give her medication? It’s perfectly natural you know, lot’s of people have died from malaria. No? Why not? Ooooh, I see, because you can prevent it. Unlike chicken factories, which are just part of the system. Tiny cages, preventative antibiotics (on a side note, many bacteria are growing resistant to antibiotics because of its overuse), crazy breeding schemes, lights on all day long… Just as in nature.

Yes, killing other animals and eating them is natural to many species. Why? Because the amount of plants are limited by:
a) how much nutrition there is in the soil,
b) how much space there are for them to grow, and
c) how many of them are eaten by animals.
The same can be applied for most living beings – the amount of food and the amount of predators are limits. Those predators are animals which have adapted to eating other animals. Their digestive are designed to extract the necessary nutrients from meat – basic biology. Does that mean it’s impossible to get same nutrients from other sources? No. Practically everything we need to function can be  found in plants, and for the few nutrients that can’t there are supplements.

Leading back to my main argument: we don’t have to eat meat. The only reason people (at least everyone I know) eat meat today is that they want to, because it’s convenient and tasty. Which is pretty sad, especially since we do so many things that aren’t convenient because our moral sense tells us it’s the right thing to do.

It’s argued where this sense of moral comes from. Some people say religion, which evidently isn’t true. Altruism, unlike religion, has been observed in many species. Also, religion has made people do innumerable mean things, so assuming that faith is necessary in order to understand ethics is just simply stupid.

According to Richard Dawkins, a sense of ethics probably emerged because it was useful to our ancestors to cooperate. Lot’s if things are far easier when done together, so it’s beneficial to both parts. As for kindness, people around you are likely to share your genetics, so helping them (even when it’s of no use to you personally) would make them (the genetics, that is) more prone to surviving.

In my opinion, basic morality (don’t kill, don’t harm, don’t suppress) would not be any less true even if they were unnatural. The suffering of the prey animal would be the same wether or not the predator felt bad for killing. However, if the predator – in this case humans – did feel bad about killing their prey, they would not do it if they had any other option. We do.

Inspired by: http://thinkingvegetarian.wordpress.com/2013/06/01/the-nature-argument/

 

Aside

I have a problem that is so stupid I’m seriously ashamed. We’re doing a project about immigration, gender equality, preconceptions and all that stuff in civics. It’s mostly quite interesting, though depressing. There’s just this one thing; It’s so obvious what … Continue reading

Gratitude

Many people would probably consider me extremely lucky. I have a loving family and a few really good friends. I live with hight materialistic standards – cool technology and expensive lipsticks are nothing special. I do well in school. I don’t gain weight very easily. For god’s sake, I live in a democracy! I don’t have cancer!

That doesn’t mean I don’t have problems though. Life can be such a bitch and so can I. Things just go wrong sometimes. It’s not as if I never lie in my bed at night, crying my heart out to The black parade because the entire world is against me, there is nothing to be happy for.

I know I should be more grateful for what I have. I try to, every now and then, but it’s hard.

People often tell me that people are starving in Africa, as if that would make me any happier. I really can’t see the logic – that there are people who suffer a lot more than I do won’t change my problems. On the contrary, I will feel bad for being so selfish, only thinking about my own silly problems. Or I have to feel sorry for them as well, despite having quite enough feeling sorry for myself.

“Even if somebody else has it much worse, that doesn’t really change the fact that you have what you have”

~The perks of being a wallflower, Stephen Chbosky

Two or three things I forgot to tell you

Two or three things I forgot to tell you coverNormally I love being able to relate to fictional characters, but this time it really scared me. Joyce Carol Oates’ writing feels so real, so honest. Merissa – one of three protagonists – comes to life, as if the author was writing her own life.

From the outside, Merissa is “the perfect one”. She is popular among her many friends. Does well in school, getting good grades and an early admission to Brown. Good at sports. Good looking in a skinny kind of way. Merissa is well aware of this, and of the fact that it makes many of her friends are jealous. She revels in her own success, looking down at those weaker than herself.

It didn’t take long before I discovered that Merissa’s character is far more complex than that. She has high expectations on her, both from others and herself. Those expectations are hard to meet, and it seems like the only thing that will please her dad. At the same time she is struggling to get over the suicide of her best friend, a suicide for which she takes blame. In secret, she devotes to cutting, because it’s the only way she can feel in control.

Reading the book, I recognized many of her feelings. I’m not sure if it is because her character is described so well, or because I have a lot in common with her. In fact (though I hate to admit it) I do. I know the feeling of being in a superior position, I know the disgust she feels of some types of weakness. It’s not as if I self harm (never have, never will) but I seem to know what that feels like too and that scares me.

“Hannah felt the sharp-notched vertebrae of Merissa’s spine through her sweater, and Merissa felt the fleshiness of Hannah’s back beneath the tight ridge of her bra. Quickly the girls stepped back, as if each had been made to know too much of the other in that instant.”

As the story progress, other problems develop. Cutting is no longer enough – instead, Merissa finds a thrill in breaking those expectations, in letting people down. She neglects her friends as well as her field hockey team, teachers and family just for the fun of it. In a way, I was almost relieved when she got so deep into her depression. It sort of proved to me that I’m pretty damn different from this character, that I wasn’t as mean as she. At the same time it scared me – is this where I’m going? I have to keep telling myself that Merissa is a fictional character, not for real, not for real…

I wish I could be as impressed with the rest of the book, but I wasn’t.The other two central figures are not at all as relatable. Although they are realistic in some ways, I can neither understand nor like them. I feel awfully sorry for them both, but that’s an entirely different thing.

Nadia would probably be considered more normal than Merissa by most people. She is very immature, and always act before thinking. She is slightly overweight, but of course that seems like grotesquely obese to her. Just like Merissa she is dealing with the suicide of her best friend, as well as other problems. In her case: a hopeless crush, a not-so-understanding family, general vulnerability and mean, tacky rumors. None of this is her fault, and it’s not (mainly) why I find it hard to relate to her. What I don’t like about her is how she always seems to find someone else to blame. She can’t help being easily upset, but it’s not her teachers’ fault either.

I saved Tink for last, since she is present throughout the book. (Although that would have been a reason to put her first. Nevermind.) She was the friend of both Merissa and Nadia, and when she commits suicide it affects them deeply. I can barely bear to read their descriptions of her, as some sort of super-heroine that she really wasn’t.

Merissa remains the real honor of this book, and what an honor.