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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

On Dabbling and Malice

All 4 of you who read this may know about my long ago concern with specialization- more specifically, the lack of it in my life.  Today's subway passage to get the best reactions out of me were the following ditties from Pensées.  Pascal writes:

Since we cannot be universal and know all that is to be known of everything, we ought to know a little about everything.  For it is far better to know something about everything than to know all about one thing.  This universality is the best.  If we can have both, still better; but if we must choose, we ought to choose the former.  And the world feels this and does so; for the world is often a good judge.  
Then again, I don't think they had specialized positions like brand identity & logo designer and 2nd 2nd AD in the 1620s... *back to the puzzled look on my face*

This one also gripped me:

Man loves malice, but not against one-eyed men nor the unfortunate, but against the fortunate and proud.  People are mistaken in thinking otherwise.
Update (a day later):  Today I woke up with this train of thought:  being proud of your own culture is good, but looking out for all humans is better... what about looking out for other animals?  Then I started considering my arguments against vegetarianism, and I realized major flaws in them.  I don't litter in public because I'm just "one person" and won't make a difference, I don't not give homeless people money from time to time even though I know it won't solve the problem of homelessness, so why do I still eat meat if I believe there's so much that's wrong about killing animals in cruel ways when we really don't have to, knowing there are so many other alternatives to eating meat?  I continued along this train of thought, and then remembered my post from last night.  The second one above.

I've been waking up feeling great about myself lately.  Confident. Inspired.  Grateful.  Could there be a connection between feeling good and not needing meat? Not having to subconsciously prey on another animal's meat to feel better about myself? Just some food for thought...


  1. I go back and forth with vegetarianism. (I have never tried the vegan route, because I adore cheese.) I can attest to feeling better, but I can also attest to feeling better when eating the "caveman" diet of meats and vegetables with no processed grains.

    I think there is no one who would disagree that eating animals from factory farms is cruel and unhealthy. I listened to a so-called debate between Anthony Bourdain and Jonathan Safran Foer, which ended immediately when they both held the position that processed meats were bad for people.

    In a similar way that I go back and forth with vegetarianism, I also go back and forth with spirituality. Recently I read a review of an Alan Watts essay entitled "Murder in the Kitchen", which stated, "vegetarianism is simply an attempt to evade the fact that life feeds on life, that the universe is a vast web of creation and destruction. A vegetarian is just a person who spares his own feelings by killing creatures that can’t scream. Vegetarianism is an attempt to remove man from nature, rather than to embrace nature and plunge into it. As such, vegetarianism can be part of an ascetic retreat from life ...

    Once we own up to the fact that we live by killing, we should make sure that we do not kill needlessly or cruelly. Beyond that, it is far more important to insure animals have good lives rather than merely good deaths. This means no more factory farms and feedlots and milk-fed calves. Furthermore, an animal that is badly cooked has died in vain."

    Watts was an East meets West philosopher. I try to be open to such things, but I'm awfully darn Western.


  2. I'm with you on most of these. That was the first thing I took into consideration when I went veg: On an extreme level, I can say that by going to work and leaving the house I'm killing the planet- but I obviously don't go that far in choice-making. That's why I drew the line at fish. Because I didn't wanna go too wild here, and also because physically and mentally fish offers a huge dietary advantage.

    As with everything you just have to be balanced about it, and I really do think that meat is unnecessary now since I can find what I get out of it in so many other, very accessible foods, which wasn't exactly the case when people adapted a meat diet.

    So personally, since you shared- I'll share back :) My main reasons, I'd say, were the 1) unnecessary factor 2) that it's just not how I want to conduct my life (namely, hypocritically in that I know it's a cruel, unhealthy process the way most animals are massively slaughtered- I don't litter on the street even though I know one piece of trash isn't going to save the planet, so why not treat this the same way) 3) and lastly because as people it really is cruel nature that we live with and perpetuates itself- spiritually and psychologically.

  3. Understandable. I especially agree with the physical and mental advantage. I take fish oil in a pill and flax oil in a (disgusting) spoonful daily. We, as a society, really need more oils for our brains. Some people even blame the lack of them for how common depression has become in our country, although I'm sure there are a lot of reasons for that -- like that guy who dissed me and my mama on twitter-- but I digress.

    Much respect for having and maintaining your convictions.


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I'm an LA transplant now living in Brooklyn. I develop film projects by day, write at night, and have a dangerous predilection for vintage Robinson Golluber scarves- this blog serves as a tiny window to everything else I do when I'm not satisfying those first three passions. I'm trying to blog more and tweet less @annabelleqv. What about you?


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