RUMORS

by Kenneth Harper Finton ©2014




Who started that rumor

a man shouldn’t cry?

When he’s done all he can,

tried all he can try?

Who started that rumor

a man shouldn’t cry?

Tears grease the passage

while endings pass by.


			

COSMIC ORIGINS

Scientists tell us that the universe was born about 13.8 billion years ago. Through the eons that passed, our modern lives evolved from nothing into the complex situations that we find ourselves immersed in and call the present time. Everyone seems to have a theory of why this is so. Some ideas seem much better than others, yet all lead that same demise that our emotional states want desperately to reject, the cessation of being itself. 

We try to contemplate the nature of the world—develop ideas about the building blocks of nature that create this world around us—by looking into the atoms that make our physical universe searching for the smallest particles.

Is there such a thing as the smallest particles? How could there be? Something would always be smaller than the smallest until it disappeared into infinity—which is exactly what matter seems to do. 

Matter seems to be made of vibrating wave frequencies. Electrons have different states of energy. We see solidity in our immediate world, but the micro world seems to be a sea of informational energy that creates the appearance of solidity, while most of the manifest universe is a vacuum in space. We do not live in the micro-world. We know that if we crash into these solid mountains of elemental rocks, it will injure or destroy us. 

Donald Hoffman—professor of cognitive science at the University of California, Irvine—wrote: “On the other side are quantum physicists, marveling at the strange fact that quantum systems don’t seem to be definite objects localized in space until we come along to observe them—whether we are conscious humans or inanimate measuring devices. Experiment after experiment has shown—defying common sense—that if we assume that the particles that make up ordinary objects have an objective, observer-independent existence, we get the wrong answers. The central lesson of quantum physics is clear: There are no public objects sitting out there in some preexisting space. As the physicist John Wheeler put it, “Useful as it is under ordinary circumstances to say that the world exists ‘out there’ independent of us, that view can no longer be upheld.”

Hoffman continues: “Not only are they ignoring the progress in fundamental physics, they are often explicit about it. They’ll say openly that quantum physics is not relevant to the aspects of brain function that are causally involved in consciousness. They are certain that it’s got to be classical properties of neural activity, which exist independent of any observers—spiking rates, connection strengths at synapses, perhaps dynamical properties as well. These are all very classical notions under Newtonian physics, where time is absolute and objects exist absolutely. And then [neuroscientists] are mystified as to why they don’t make progress. They don’t avail themselves of the incredible insights and breakthroughs that physics has made. Those insights are out there for us to use, and yet my field says, “We’ll stick with Newton, thank you. We’ll stay 300 years behind in our physics.”

In other words, Hoffman thinks that the universe itself if a mental conception composed of independent conscious agents with varying degrees of complexity, all of which are but informational viewpoints that communicate with one another. From the smallest to the largest, all are composed of the same non-material—awareness and consciousness. Communicating conscious agents can merge to form other conscious agents.

DOES IT MATTER?

Does it matter much if the universe is a mental conception or a physical reality? Are the results not the same? Both lead to the same questions and dilemmas either way. Saying that nothing really exists does not change anything because it still exists. Notions that awareness can sleep, wake, be unaware, and dream again through infinity is the most interesting mythos. 

Can an understanding of the cosmos as a mental conception be an emotional solace to existential anxiety?

Life becomes one riddle after another for the thinking person. Solving one riddle creates many more to take their place. Debunking one myth leads to another, as the world is both mystic and mythic.

We peer into the universe with our telescopes and our probes and find awe-inspiring beauty of all kinds. Who can object to the beauty of Saturn’s rings set in the blackness of the sky or the wonderful things that nature provides for our eyes and ears to hear and see? At the same time, we wonder why these things even exist for us to see. Why should the beauty of the world go unseen and unappreciated for billions of years, waiting to be seen and appreciated for billions of years while intelligent life on Earth evolves enough to care about it? Who or what experienced these wonders before the dawn of time or the emergence of living things? What was the observer that brought our universe into view?

This is where the idea of a mental conception of the world is most convincing. In order for there to have been an evolutionary past through the birthing of elements in stars, there had to be an observer.

Many believe that God is the creator of the universe and experienced the void of the universe alone long before the world came into being, but everyone has their own conception of what this God might be. The Abrahamic religions give God a male gender, a father figure—though giving birth to the universe seems to be a female attribute. Cultures create their own myths to explain their existence.

In the long run, does it matter whether God created the universe (as some religions claim) or physicality came into being and evolved into the present (as some scientists believe). Either point of view is obsolete with quantum mechanics. Yet, both views point to an event from an undefinable zero dimension. Whether we call it Creation or the Big Bang, we refer to the same event that came from beyond time and space. 

Some assume our universe came from the remnants of a previous universe. Some think it came from nothing at all, and some say something cannot come from nothing. 

I, for one, find it much easier to visualize timelessness than to envision the beginnings and endings of time. I also find it easy to visualize timelessness as having no concept of duration yet is focused on experience instead. The timelessness of the dimensions above our own experience seems to perfectly balance our mortal experiences with the immortal potential of our existence. Duration is a concept stamped upon experience by intellectual branders. Someone dreamed up the idea of measuring time but did not really comprehend the nature of timelessness and pure experience. How long the experience is felt is not nearly as important as the experience itself.

Where did our consciousness reside before we came to be born? Is it possibly the same non-place in which we dwell when we die? We have all experienced the place where our awareness of ourselves was blank and united with everything. Before we began to exist in this time and space, we all experienced a blank infinity of time and memory. On a personal level, eternity is that which your consciousness was before this life experience. Eternity can be pictured as a sleeping form of awareness that—when  awakened—develops sensory experience such as  touch and perceptions. In time, the subconscious and the self-conscious carry out the business of life and survival. As the universe is born from infinity, we are as well. Infinity is that which was before this life experience. The world about us is similar to a continuous dream that is made real by our consciousness awareness.

Because the zero dimension is static and unchanging, the first and second dimensional structures are also timeless in that they are everywhere at once. That there is structure in the lower dimensions has some experimental evidence. 

“So far, there may already be one piece of experimental evidence for the existence of a lower-dimensional structure at a higher energy scale. When observing families of cosmic ray particles in space, scientists found that, at energies higher than 1 TeV, the main energy fluxes appear to align in a two-dimensional plane. This means that, above a certain energy level, particles propagate in two dimensions rather than three dimensions.” (https://phys.org/news/2011-03-physicists-dimensions-universe.html#jCp)

The appearance of first and second dimensions begin the structure of our physical universe. Time is of no concern in these dimensions. The second dimension creates space where energies can move and react, physical fields can form universally in this dimension. The third dimension ads depth and height and the fourth expands space by creating the duration that we know as time.

Everything in the universe is projected in three dimensions from its zero dimensional source. It has been called the Void, God, Infinity, First Cause, The Great Spirit, Universal Mind, or many other such name devised to express the idea of an unknowable non-thing that is beyond existence, being and conception.

Infinity, since it contains all things and all events began from within it, must be the source of the physical laws that we discover in nature. The finite is contained within infinity. 

INFINITY AND THE UNIVERSE

There are those who cannot accept that there is such a thing as infinity. They consider infinity a simple conception or a mathematical symbol. For some people, the dogmatic religious world hurt them emotionally when they  came realize that that the dogma the world fed them is false. 

But it is not that easy to dismiss infinity. If something is finite, then there must be something that is not finite. That would be the infinite. 

Infinity | Definition of Infinity by Merriam-Webster

1 a: the quality of being infinite. b: unlimited extent of time, space, or quantity: boundlessness. 2: an indefinitely great number or amount such as an infinity of stars.

When we think about how the world about us came to be, we have only two choices. It has a beginning or it is endless and has no beginning. Having no beginning leaves us in a quandary, as the universe should have run out of energy and depleted itself long, long ago. There would have to be a continual creation of new energy to replace that which was lost to the entropy of dissipation for a universe to be eternal. 

If no universe existed before the Big Bang, then what was there? What was in its place when there was no place? Nothing? But nothing cannot exist because it has no being. The ‘it’ we seek cannot be anything but infinite and boundless nothingness which cannot have existence. 

The world, it is said, cannot come from nothing. ‘Nothingness’ may not operate under the same laws of physics by which ‘somethingness’ operates. We cannot assume anything about the physics within nothingness. We cannot really say anything about what nothing is.

However, there are potentially satisfactory answers to the puzzle of eternity, infinity and first causes. These answers are simple to understand by any person that is able to shed his or her preconceptions that have been fostered by the cultural experience.

That answer is that physical reality is built in dimensional layers. The first dimension is infinite and eternal—no beginning nor endings—no particular spot in space nor place in time.

The first dimension is an infinite point that contains all that is possible to exist within it because it is all that exists. It is much like the singularity that the Big Bang theorists posit as the infinity dense point from which all came. The universe always exists within this eternal first-dimension, but not in physical form. 

The second dimension is a flat plane which spreads in all directions from the infinite point. Being infinite as well, this dimension has no beginnings and endings.This second-dimension is without the perception of time, but originates all further dimensional experience. It is the foundation for the concept of space. 

Ultimately, dimensions are viewpoints. Viewpoints are mental constructions. Each dimension contains all the information from the previous dimension while adding important new perceptions.

The two-dimensional line, for example, is the point replicating itself over and over, appearing to travel in a straight line, a vector from the original infinite point. The universal lines that form the universal field is the repetition of the infinite point throughout space. The point is endless and timelessly recurrent. By the expansion of its being, the point fuses with those primal copies of itself to form space and a second dimension.That fusion releases vast amounts of virtual energy that radiates from the original point to form myriads of universal fields. As this radiation spreads there is an expansion of space in the second-dimension.

It is the second dimension that contains the blueprint for the three-dimensional world we see with height, length and width. The two-dimensional universe is flat, like a blueprint. The beginning of the universe is easily comprehended if we hold the view that the physical laws which determine the mathematics, probabilities and shapes essential to universal existence exists in the second dimension. We do not create these laws and principles. We discover them.

As a picture of the natural world can be recorded on flat surfaces like paper and film from the artists perspective, the second dimension can hold our three-dimensional viewpoint in an encoded series of digital bits. 

The third and fourth dimensions limit the space of the second, changing its physicality to a closed, temporal space where duration, height, volume, and depth become apparent. The process can be visualized as similar to the Japanese art of origami  where three dimensional space is unfolded from the two dimensional patterns. By the folding of space, volume, height, and width emerge in a three-dimensional universe, but some space is lost in the process, the same way that some paper is lost on origamic folds. The three-dimensional universe is finite.

The step to physical reality comes through events in four-dimensional space.

Four-dimensional space combines time and duration with three dimensional space. It is the basis for the theory of relativity. Time and space are fused and effect one another as the fourth-dimension emerges and posits another aspect to the third dimensional viewpoint.

In this simple explanation of dimensions, there is a missing ingredient of vital importance to the universe—the mental component of the observation. 

THE MENTAL UNIVERSE

Awareness precedes physical existence in quantum mechanics. Awareness is invisible. It cannot be touched or measured, yet it is ever present even when we are not conscious of it. Awareness builds consciousness through the fusion of random information into organized information. 

The cosmos is projected into being from a non-dimensional and timeless zero dimension. Even if the remains of previous universes should form the present incarnation, those first universes have to start somewhere. That somewhere is beyond time. It has to come from the non-dimensional.

What we experience comes from our personal consciousness—our awareness of being in the  moment. What is this awareness? Is it a sense that arises from our human brains and nervous systems? If so, then awareness dies when we die. Are plants are aware? Are microbes aware? If you think they are not, perhaps you have the wrong conception of what awareness is.

Many people think that awareness emerges late in evolutionary history. To some, it is unthinkable that awareness should precede evolutionary development. Consider an unthinking rock or an ignorant chemical reaction. Where is this awareness in primal nature? What causes awareness to rise in the first place? Is it inherent in the natural order? Are reactions awareness, or are we mincing words? Are interactions aware?

In quantum physics an observer and an interaction is the same thing. Only objects interact. Even a particle colliding with another particle is an interaction and therefore an observation as well. Observations and interactions do not need to have to have concepts to produce effects and events. They are the events.

Our awareness uses the tools of perception to identity itself and the outer world. Were dinosaurs unaware? Are single-celled life forms unaware? A better question is to ask if they have any form of perception. Obviously, if they react to stimuli they  have some form of perception. If they have perception, they have awareness—not on the grand scale that mammals have developed, but their reaction to observation and touch shows that they have awareness built into their systems.  

Quantum mechanics posits that the universe is a connected unit, each part having an effect upon another. Everything in space and time has a cause and an effect. If it has no cause and effect, it is not in space and time. Quantum mechanics also posits that events must have an observer/interaction to be an event. The event itself would not happen unless and until it is observed.The interaction itself is an observation.

This is another clue that the world might be a mental system with a physical component. Observers are generally thought of as being people, but they can also be a system. An observer is person or a system that observes. In other words, before we can have a world, we need events. To have events we need an observer. To have an observation we need awareness of an object or an event.  

The essential quality for an observation or an interaction is to have awareness of an object. Awareness, then, is the first cause for the existence of time and space. All things are not only produced by awareness in its myriads of localized forms, but all things are formed from the eternal and non-material awareness which has always been present in the eternal now.

Something has to be a first cause for the parade of time and space to exist. This first cause cannot be material, yet the material world was produced from it. Our dreams are not material nor real, but the fields involved in neural synapses produce what appear as images in our minds. This is similar to the construction of the universe as well. 

Awareness is invisible. It is not something that we can touch or measure, yet it is ever present even when we are not consciously aware of anything.

Awareness is the observer that is awakened by reactions to objects from within and outside ourselves. These reactions to our inner and outer worlds create information that eventually organizes itself and becomes experience.

Awareness does not need the concept of time and space. It creates time and space when it awakens to stimulus from another. 

Awareness is all that is necessary for the building of a universe. 

Awareness is the proper name for the concept of the mind of God. 

Nature is the child of awareness.


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION SEE:
https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/coming-to-grips-with-the-implications-of-quantum-mechanics/

WORDS

© 2014 Kenneth Harper Finton

LINK TO MUSIC ABOVE, THE LYRICS BELOW, AND THE STORY BELOW THAT.

Driving down the road I’ve got no secrets,
no one with me nothing to conceal.
I don’t know why I even stopped to call her.
I was feeling good behind the wheel.

My words, said in anger brought her tears
while words, said thoughtfully bring cheer.
Words can make a smile come to her face
or words can bring disgrace.

There’s something on my mind that makes my words come out that way.
I didn’t want to hurt that girl, she knew I’d like to stay.
Sometimes I need to talk about the trouble that I find
and there within the darkness I can then begin to shine!

Words, said in anger brought her tears,
while words said thoughtfully bring cheer.
Words can make a smile come to her face
or words can bring disgrace.

So I’ll go home and try again to make a better day.
Pleasant smiles require such little effort from my face.
I didn’t mean to let my troubles get me down inside.
My duty is to wisdom and my downfall is my pride.

Words, said in anger brought her tears,
while words said thoughtfully bring cheer.
Words can make a smile come to her face
or words can bring disgrace.


The night is black and only the streaming glow of his headlights light the road ahead. White dashes––dotted lines of lane dividers––rush by in a stream.
He drives by rote. Traffic is light and he is thinking of what he should do now.
The argument had not been that serious…  or was it? She had made what he thought was a snotty remark.
“What is the matter with you, girl,” he had said. “You are really beginning to piss me off. I was not flirting with that woman. We were just talking.”
“And that’s why you asked for her ‘Facebook’ address?”
“She’s a world traveler, woman. She goes places. She’s headed to the Himalayas in a month. It would be good to follow her trip.”
“Follow her butt,” you mean, she has said.
The road curves ahead and he slows down. “Follow her butt,” he thinks. “Maybe I do. I follow all the butts. My God, if you can’t appreciate the rounded hips of life, then what in the hell can you appreciate?”
He should have told her that. Instead, he just got mad.
Walking out the door mad.
It really didn’t occur to him to think about a destination––a place to head toward––until he started the engine. Then he realized he needed to pick a road.
He had headed to the mountains. The mountains always make him view himself from a height. The world he left below is becoming visible now, but viewed from afar in a rearview mirror.
He knows the problem. He makes her feel unwanted too much. He’s so damned busy with himself and his own concerns that he does not take enough time to express the appreciation she needs.
She begins to feel uncertain of his love.
It doesn’t take much to go from that thought to: “He is looking for a replacement for me.”
“As though there could be a replacement,” he thinks. They had made a decision a long time ago that there was to be no replacement. They were always there for one another. That was the pledge.
Still, he was a man. Men look at women with lust in their hearts and desire in their loins. They were made that way. Nature herself seems to think it should be so.
Who was he to question nature? Who was she to question nature as well?
“How would you like it if I looked down the trousers of every man I see in the street?” she had said,
The truth is, he would not like it. It would make him feel insecure.
The highway is quite dark now. A startled deer stands at the side of the road as his car swishes by.
“ So I want to possess her?” he asks himself. But it seems to him that she wants to possess him equally.
“Women do not think that way,” he tells himself. “They do not want sex with every man they meet. They have a certain criteria. A woman is the one that makes the choice to possess.”
He seriously doubts that she would lust after every man she meets. That was an important character trait that he looked for in women.
“She’s too snotty,” he thinks. “She is very opinionated. Most men cannot live up to her expectations.”
He suddenly realizes that he is not living up to her expectations either. Regret sits down upon him like the first clod of dirt thrown into his grave.
“Besides,” he thought, “I would not really pursue another woman. One is trouble enough.”
“So it was all about nothing. Much ado about nothing,” he thought. “Someday I’ll have to read that play. It’s a great title.”
To him, it seemed easy. He could do it. At least he could try. He could do better. “We all can,” he thought. He has to love her a little more. He has to give her a little more time and focus.
That being decided, he turns the car around on the deserted highway and heads back down to the valley.

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http://www.kennethharperfinton.com

THE ROLE OF DIMENSIONS IN THE UNIVERSE

by Kenneth Harper Finton

UNIVERSE copy

    Something has to come into being within a dimension before it can exist. Otherwise, it would still be in the realm of dimensionless infinity.

At the very beginning of an idea, the universe has a point. This point has a purpose. It becomes the first-dimension. The point exists everywhere at once because that is all there is. The entire universe resides in it. The point exists even now in every corner of the universe. It is the eternal first-dimension. It is the foundation of experience from a timeless realm without a location. Space itself is unborn and appears in the second dimension. The point has the ability to be omnipresent by the simple fact that it is the only thing that exists.

Yet, our shared awareness cannot recognize or react to one thing alone because there is nothing to reference. At the very least, a singularity is unstable if not impossible.

A second-dimension only comes into being with the existence of at least two points—but the essential ingredient of awareness must present for observing, interpreting, and recording this information. This fact becomes even more obvious in the three-dimensional view where awareness is essential to separate the flat two-dimensional image of a circle from its background to envision a sphere with height, length, and width. In order to see a sphere, we have to see it from above and outside the image. It takes conscious awareness to do this. The second dimension requires dimensional awareness to exist. It exists upon a timeless plane with the entire universe and all its structure written in every part of space and every qubit of information by the first-dimensional point.

We have been taught to understand awareness as a product of evolutionary biology. Many think awareness is something that occurred from a chemical soup after molecules began to replicate and divide. Our ideas of awareness and consciousness are built around the idea of living beings, especially those with nervous systems. Some do not believe that plants have awareness, though they react to sunlight and propagate themselves. It takes subconscious mental powers to grow DNA into something that can be passed to offspring—and this does not necessarily mean the world is formed from intelligent design from a divine creator. Most awareness is subconscious. It is not necessarily produced from a self-reflective mind unless we consider the mid of nature itself is self-aware. Awareness comes before the mind.

Let us picture a mental universe that coexists with the physical universe. The physical universe is not a solid block of physical mass any more than the mental universe is a unified universal mind. Neither is true. The physical universe is composed of entities unique to themselves, just as the mental universe is made from separate levels of individual awareness each unique to themselves. Awareness is that which holds the knowledge of interactions and observations. As such, awareness precedes existence itself.

Yes, awareness comes first. For eons, this awareness may have held nothing at all because there was nothing of which to be aware. Each of us experiences the truth of this first hand. We come from a place that has no memories, no experience, and no existence until we are conceived, grow aware, and begin to form our identity. What we are before we are born is a field of awareness that has not come into identifiable form. Because awareness existed before we did, we were able to recognize, learn, and eventually become that which we are now. If our awareness did not exist before our birth, our birth would never have happened. So it is with all interactions and observations in nature and beyond. It takes awareness for anything to have physicality. That is why there are two states in existence, the mental and the physical. Both are separate aspects of the same reality.

To connect two points and form a line, information must pass between these points. Something or some non-thing must become aware of both points. Yet, this line is infinite because it has no length. We can see that there must be a form of knowing in the non-dimensional realm. It is not some void dimension that is without knowledge or thought of any kind. Left to itself, the vector of this line could go on forever or curve back upon itself to form an orbit. In the second dimension, there is no duration nor speed.

Because awareness is the one pre-existing condition essential for any form of energy to be perceived, awareness must be the original state of the universe. Awareness precedes essence. Awareness evolves into subconsciousness and consciousness.

A mental dimension for the positive point and a physical dimension for the negative point is part of the pairing of opposite states. These points are entangled. What happens to one happens to the other instantly because these points are still eternal and not in the dimension of time. Without time, no speed or duration exists. Each point, though duplicates of another, have different spins. Separate viewpoints evolve from that spin.

Awareness evolves into higher consciousness. This is confirmed by examination of the evolution of conscious life. This does not mean that awareness constantly knows everything in the universe, nor does it mean that there is a universal plan for advanced consciousness to inherit or evolve into a super-intelligence that is reserved for the attributes of a god. Self-awareness often rests. We sleep and we dream. We are not always consciously aware. We can conclude this is so by examining our awareness. Subconscious awareness is in charge of our autonomous systems that continue with or without self-awareness. The universe has evolved without self-consciousness for billions of years.

-Kenneth Harper Finton
Thursday, August 1, 2019, revised 8/29/3030

The Typewriter and the Paper

written and illustrated by Sky Felker, age 8

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In a state called Carrot, in a town called Bamboo, in a library, a woman named Martha was closing for the night.

After Martha went home, a typewriter that sat unused in the library,  saw a  paper lying next to it. “Climb into my head,” said the typewriter.

“Why?” asked the paper.

“We can type something together,” said the typewriter. “It’s only temporary.”

“All right, then,” said the paper, “but what will we type?”

“Let’s type Martha a letter,” the typewriter said.

And they did.

The next morning when Martha came back, she saw the letter. The letter read:

“Dear Martha,

Did you have a wonderful night? We are tired of not getting used.”

It was signed “your Typewriter and Paper.”

img667

At the end of the day, Martha closed as usual. When she returned the next morning, she found another letter that read:

“Dear Martha, Are you going to respond?”

“-Your Typewriter and the Paper.”

“That’s the end. I’m going to the doctor,” said Martha.

When the doctor examined her, he said, “There’s nothing wrong with you, Martha.”

“I must be losing my mind, then,” said Martha.”I am going back to the library,”

When she got back to the library, she stared at the typewriter and the paper for a little bit, then put some books up, closed and went back home.

“I must be seeing things,” Martha said.

During the night the typewriter and the paper typed out another letter to Martha.

“Dear Martha,

We are so bored just sitting here and doing nothing all day.

-Your Typewriter and Paper.”

The next day there was only a note that said, “Goodbye, Martha.”

“What does that mean?” asked Martha.

Martha thought and thought and thought some more. “Aha! Some people are coming here to take the typewriter,” she thought. Martha took the paper and put it in the typewriter to make a note. “FINALLY,” the note said. “I will use you guys.”

“Thank you, said the typewriter and the paper.”

“AHHHH,” screamed Martha, “You two can actually talk.”

“Yes, it’s our little secret,” said the paper.

“We need to be useful,” said the typewriter.

“Not being useful is bad for us,” said the paper.”

THE END

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sky writes, “Sky is 8-years-old. When she is not wrighting stories, she is with her family and likes to work with horses. This book is dedecated to my family. Thanks for incuraging  me to wright stories and not fight with my sister.”

 

 

ME TOO AND ME

by Kenneth Harper Finton

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Like most any white male born on the 40’s and raised in a rural midwestern town, I was raised with racist and chauvinistic people all around me. There were no black people in the old home town. I never had a chance to relate to any other influence until I left the nest and joined the larger nation around me.

Though women were almost sacred to me, it was not long before I was accused of chauvinism as well. Whether or not this destroyed my first marriage is an open question. It did not help. I entered marriage with the idea based on what was about me—that a woman’s role was to cook and do most of the cleaning. Men took care of the outside and women took care of the inside. That’s what my mother and their mothers did. It was that way everywhere for all I knew. There was little experience to be had about any alternative life styles. The TV shows of the time reinforced this mindset.

When you are living alone, you have to do everything. I did some cooking, some sloppy cleaning, and either went to the corner laundry or dropped my clothes at the cleaners. But that did not change the mindset that formed when I was young. My expectations for my marriage were much more traditional than I like to recall.  By myself, I eat in restaurants, sleep in motels or small efficiencies and take my wash to the laundry masters. These were my preferences. Living with others required compromise.

Born male, I could only guess at the female mindset.  I was not at ease with sex and dating for many years. I finally pecked my way out of that smothering egg long after those around me.

Women were elevated to goddess status in many stone-age cultures. Carvings and stoneworks of the Donna reflect the respect some stone-age peoples had for their women. The Abrahamic and Islamic religions did not glorify, but enslaved women as male possessions.  Through most civilized society, women were treated as chattel.

Chivalry supposedly reinstated women as objects of affection that needed protection but cast women in the role of delicate objects, fragile creatures who needed protection. Likely, this applied more to high-bred women of wealth or nobility, than the milkmaid or the tavern servers.

Unlike the generations before me, I came of sexual age after The Pill.  Unlike generations after me, my encounters came before AIDS. A short span in the 60’s and early 70’s turns out to be one of time’s few social reprieves for active sexual freedom. Single young men and women were hungry for sexual pleasure and the deep-rooted desire for stable companionship, but we soon found that people often mix like oil and water. Paradise is sweet and sour.

It does not take men long to realize that the woman is the great decider about physical contact. Those men who respected others also respected their wishes. Some—who had no real respect for themselves or others—tried to force themselves on women.

Most people have no tolerance for sexual predators. Using and abusing power (be it physical or economic) to force sexual favors has been wrong for a long time. Many men in powerful positions felt they had a right to demand sexual favors from subordinates.

Community leader and organizer, Tarana Burke, founded the “ME TOO” movement in 2006 to help sexual harassment victims and survivors to cope.

By late 2017 the movement has taken on social-changing roles as women came out to expose their unwilling experiences with people of power. However, not everyone was on board that ship. Catherine Deneuve, the famous 74-year-old French movie actress, denounced the movement in an open letter in France’s LeMonde. She claimed “legitimate protests against the sexual violence that women are subject to, particularly in their professional lives, had turned into a witch hunt.”

“Rape is a crime” she wrote, “but trying to seduce someone, even persistently or clumsily, is not—nor is men being gentlemanly a macho attack. Men have been punished summarily, forced out of their jobs when all they did was touch someone’s knee or try to steal a kiss.”

Street harassment is a form of sexual harassment that comprises unwanted comments, wolf-whistles, cat-calling, and other actions by strangers in public areas, according to Google.  And to think, just a few years back that was the common practice of hard-hatted males on break when a pretty woman walked by.

So what are men to do now? Ask if she’s comfortable. Phrase your words with more care. Think about sexist jokes before you relate them and you will likely not repeat them.

“Whether we know it or not, whether we allow ourselves to admit it or not, every man has a list of times that he has violated a woman’s boundaries. Men are raised in a society that teaches boys that they are entitled to have access to women’s bodies. You may not be drugging women’s drinks in a nightclub, you may not be stalking sex workers in a van, but you have probably pressured someone sexually more than once in your life. The game teaches men to assume that women want what we want. The game teaches women that they are supposed to want what men want. Men benefit from this, women do not, but the game is rigged to hurt everyone. The only way to end that cycle is to reject the game itself.”   -Indigo Nai on Facebook, 10/17/17

PLEASE SLOW DOWN

please-slow-down

 

WORDS AND MUSIC BY KEN AND CHAYA FINTON ©1998

 

Please, slow down.

You’re movin’ too fast,

I want my lovin’ slow,

make it last and last.

Lately I’ve been thinkin’,

everything’s too fast,

but when it comes to my lovin’,

make it last and last.

Please slow down.

You’re movin’ too fast,

I want my lovin’ slow,

make it last and last.

I’m tired of the fast lane,

and my color TV,

workin’ nine to five

with nothin’ in between.

Please slow down.

You’re movin’ too fast!

I want my lovin’ slow,

make it last and last.

And when I’m lookin’  for affection

I need your full attention,

’cause when it comes to my lovin’,

Honey,  please slow down.

Please slow down.

You’re movin’ too fast!

I want my lovin’ slow,

make it last and last.

GIVING THANKS TO TURKEYS

 

http://www.grist.org/article/food-2010-11-22-giving-thanks/N10/#comments

Nature is a puzzling mother. She imbues her children with a strong instinct for survival, but to do so they must prey upon and consume others. We will always fail when we try to embed human morality to the ways of nature. Nature is not human, though humans are a small part of nature.  We are not likely to change the fact that big fish eat small fish. “Eat and be eaten” is nature’s decree.

I think that in the long-term we might understand this better from physics and the idea of fusion. Fusion in the Sun creates the light and warmth that bath the Earth. Fusion is perhaps more than a combination of elements that destroy themselves to create something larger than themselves. Fusion creates the energy needed to make to universe itself work. Fusion must be an evolutionary process of building from the old to create the new. Fusion likely works its way down to predator and victim. From the consumed elements of another, life is born and maintained, then recycled once again.

Seven years ago I responded to this video about being thankful for our Thanksgiving turkey in a manner not unlike the views held by ancient native peoples who blessed their kill and reverently consumed the flesh. The argument turned into vegan vs non-vegan views, but is worth reviewing.  I am KHF333 in the below comments.

COW TO HUMAN

DRAWING BY ABRAHAM LINCOLN, GORDON, OHIO

 

KHF333 25 NOV 2010 7:54AM

What no one said but the woman in the video is that the turkey in the video has a purpose. It was raised to be slaughtered and then eaten. That was the purpose of its life. Had that purpose not been there, that turkey would not have lived at all! So is it a blessing for the turkey to experience a life it never would have had? Actually, I think it is.

John Carbonaro 25 NOV 2010 9:03AM @KHF333

That is what slave owners used to say to rationalize their procreation and self-serving ends. “A slave’s life is better than no life at all… I prefer this quote from a commenter:
“You believe that because we are in some sense responsible for the existence of certain animals, we have the right to treat them as a resource to be exploited (in this case, for their flesh).” Vegans believe that since they would not exist if not for our actions, we are ethically obligated to allow them to continue existing since they prefer life over
death. I feel an overwhelming ethical obligation to those individuals that already
exist. I feel no ethical obligation to those who will never exist.

KHF333 25 NOV 2010 3:58PM

Yeah, John, but there is a BIG difference. The commercial turkey is not a born wild bird. It was bred for the food chain. Nor do they have the kind of rationality that humans do, so comparing them with slaves is not a valid comparison. Nature has devised the system of the big fish eating the little fish. I doubt seriously if human compassion can ever turn this around. The vegan will not even eat fish or cheese… out of some incongruous respect for a nature that does not respect them. Nature is out to kill us, you know. It is the way it is. Mammals drink milk when they are infants and eat whatever their generic nature tells them is food.

John Carbonaro 25 NOV 2010 8:04PM @KHF333


Intelligence is not a criteria for making a decision about whether a being lives or dies, or it would be fine to consume infants and people in comas. The slave comparison is valid since you were specifically making the argument that serving a purpose to a group that exploits them gives them the reason for being in the world. Animals have their own purpose and right to fulfill their own meaning, and it isn’t for you to decide their ‘worth’.

There is no ‘food chain’ for humans. We decide what we are going to eat. “chain’ suggests a closed loop system. We are capable of making ethical decisions. That gives us freedom that most animals do not have. If a capacity for having morality makes the human race special or ‘bigger’ we should be using it to defer harm from innocents. We haven’t done a very good job of proving that we are competent to be considered integral to the earth.

You are just using ‘Nature’ to hide/fit in your actions into a convenient rationalization. Nature does a lot of things that we as humans would never do to others.

By your original statement, perhaps kittens and rabbits get a chance to be in the world because they serve a purpose for some humans-crush entertainment.

We don’t need ‘commercial’ animals to continue to be in the world . It would be just fine when the demand for flesh goes, so do those animal’s production

KHF333 @John Carbonaro

Because grazing animals and animal husbandry take so much space and cause such environmental harm, it may be on the way out of fashion in some areas of the world. As the ultimate predator, humans make most of the decisions about what survives and what does not. There is as much life in a carrot and a potato as there is in a cow and a turkey. To blindly hold ourselves up as more righteous than others because we only kill vegetables seems to me to be the ultimate in self-deception.

John Carbonaro 26 NOV 2010 10:31AM @KHF333
If you think there is as much life in a carrot/potato as a cow or turkey, there is no rational conversation to be had here. 
Instead of putting on an animal mask and playing ‘ultimate predator’, grow up and be the ultimate person you are capable of. Humans need not be ‘self-righteous’ when it comes to our behaviors towards the nonhuman animals that we share this planet with. There is no cosmic caste system.

KHF333 @John Carbonaro


I have lived a lot more years that you, John. I guarantee that. However, I think vegetarians are fooling themselves about the quality of life in vegetables and grains. Who are you to decide that one thing is more sacred than another. I, like nature before me, do not believe in the sacred or the profane. They are human values only. And all humans will never have the same values.

LTD_Farm 26 NOV 2010 8:53PM

I wanted to post a response to everyone… we are all life, and we need life to live. Vegan or other. Pick a life force well lived, loved and nourished to sustain yourself, whether it is animal or vegetable. Reverence for life is ultimately the most important thing in all our choices and how we live, but it all comes down to eating, since we must…. to continue living. Hard to sum up a total response to each person, but that is what it is all about it. Life needs life to live. How about that? Choose the best lives you can, and be thankful.

Fake meat is tasty, but can you tell me the resources needed to produce those items are more sustainable for the world than a turkey roaming a pasture? Each turkey (all 23 of them) living their life here is SO much better off than any thanksgiving bird that was served over this supposedly grateful holiday. They aren’t scared out of their minds being hauled away on trucks to a factory slaughterhouse. They die peacefully where they are comfortable at home. Just as many of us would like to die. I think a lot of the fear of facing where meat comes from is based on a fear of our own mortality. So if you could choose a peaceful death at home, you would right? No one will live forever. Our society despises that concept, and markets MANY products to you to keep you thinking that way. Life and Death, it is all one big circle we live in.

What we’re doing at LTD Farm is NOT growing a million animals to try to feed the world, we’re raising a few, for a few, making a small dent in animal consumption overall. We’re doing this because it is a way to do it much better than the factory farm setting. We supply our own, and our appreciative, conscious consumers. We are compassionate, sustainable carnivores. Don’t eat meat all the time. Eat it with gratitude and reverence when you do. Appreciate life in all it’s contexts. Be thoughtful about all the life it takes to sustain your own.

John Carbonaro 27 NOV 2010 6:31AM @LTD_Farm

“pick a life force”?? “reverence for all life”?? “we need life to live”??

“fear of facing where our meat comes from”? “die peacefully at home”??

All platitudes to support a business that is not necessary at all. You don’t have to pick factory farm or small farm. Both profit/prosper on unneeded harm to lives.

PLANTS ARE NOT SENTIENT, so there is much less harm than ‘choosing’ factory over small. You grow less plants directly feeding humans than feeding plants to animals that become food for humans.

The mindset that says that it is OK to eat animals makes animal ‘farming’ possible-factory size or small. THAT is where ‘meat’ comes from. It still amounts to propagating the myth about eating animals and using them ‘nicely”.

You have to make money and you are commodifying ‘love-as-welfare” as much as you are commodifying the lives you needlessly take.

I acknowledge my mortality, that is why I respect a being’s right to live in this world and not have their lives cut short because someone thinks that their flesh is tasty or off on some self-serving, free moral passageway fantasy that we are all ‘one’, that conveniently clouds our ethical responsibility to do no unnecessary harm to others.

Your farm isn’t ‘Living The Dream’… you are exploiting the fantasy.

LTD_Farm 27 NOV 2010 10:19AM @John Carbonaro

Without going through the harvesting experience yourself here on the farm it is impossible to really understand what is going on here. Discussions about this topic are very important but ultimately don’t seem to lead anywhere unless we are all open to having our preconceived notions challenged. A theoretical understanding of this issue is good, but the actual process is an entirely different thing. It’s like the difference between planning to build a house and actually building it.

It is possible to give thanks to something that doesn’t respond back, and it is possible that the animals are giving their lives over. We have the relationships with the animals so we know them best. Again, to actually be a part of the process is to begin to understand it. If you want to abstain from eating meat that is fine, but that doesn’t stop the millions of people on this planet from eating meat. Every customer who chooses to eat one of our our happy and healthy animals as opposed to a terrified, abused, and malnourished factory-farmed animal is making a decision to be part of a beautiful food relationship with the plants and animals of our farm as opposed to participating in the horrors of factory farming. We offer an alternative to “mainstream meat”, thus allowing a small fraction of animals on this planet good lives and a respectful end.

John, you obviously have some deep feelings about this and that is a good thing! But we feel that the “exploiting the fantasy” comment is not respectful at all, so we will limit any further responses to you.

To care for and have empathy for all animals is our goal as well. The difference is that we choose to look at them in practical terms as well as idealistic. It used to be that animals were essential to our survival. As we work toward self-sufficiency on the farm, we can clearly see that animals play a large part in our farm organism, and especially here in these northern climates, animals provide essential food for us over the winter months. If we couldn’t ship tomatoes and lettuce, not to mention olive oil and capers, from California, how would we eat sustainably here in Wisconsin? I can tell you how because we already do, if you are interested.

We continue to give thanks to the animals on our farm, for their beautiful lives and for the nourishment they provide, and we know they understand in some way.

KHF333

As we can see from the discussions above, there is no one morality that can fit all. Humans live in all kinds of conditions and form their viewpoints from a vast array of experiences and individual realities. Many of us would prefer to design a universe and nature with a different set of rules, if it were possible. We cannot all be sustained by light and water alone, as can some botanical entities. We cannot all be carnivores nor vegans. The instinct for survival, the customs we inherit from our culture, and changing economic realities all play a great part in forming our philosophies of coping and our personal ethics for dealing with our individual survival. My personal preference is toward the attitudes exhibited in the farm depicted in the video. Others obviously have differing opinions. The one thing honest thing that I have learned is to beware of those who think they have a monopoly on truth and morality, as truth and morality changes with circumstance.

travtastic 30 NOV 2010 7:33PM @KHF333:

As we can see from the discussions above, people holding different opinions does not imply that they are both right. You are just wrong. No offense, I’m sure you’re a pleasant enough person, but you’re just wrong.

KHF333  1 DEC 2010 9:50AM @travtastic

No one ever said life and nature were fair. I am wrong because I am not a vegan? The vast majority of the people in the world are not vegans, They are also wrong? I understand and even sympathize with the vegan feelings of compassion, but the world is not going to make an about-face because of a few. If people change their eating habits is will be because of economic pressures, not moral pressures, because moral arguments are something a farce. What people would do if they knew they would never get caught would truly surprise you.

John Carbonaro 27 NOV 2010 6:16PM @KHF333

Precisely the same arguments that Hitler used. And by your standards, you cannot judge him.

KHF333

HITLER? Come now. Find those words in Hitler’s writings or speeches. You cannot. You lie for convenience to make your point. I can understand your wanting to be a vegan. It serves you well. Preaching the vegan gospel is not really your forte. You are not balanced enough for honest debate. Example: Personally, I have a very shortened bowel and cannot digest most vegetables. They run right through me undigested. It gives me little sustenance. I could not sustain my body that way. By the same token, many vegans are lacking in necessary nutrients. You have to be very careful when you do not eat meat, as humans have developed a system that relies on animal and fish nutrients.

So nothing is as simple as you seem to want to make it. You are not superior to others because of that you eat, nor is your morality of a higher caliber. You are, however, right that the farming of animals is not good for the earth on the massive scale that presently exists. But then, nature has not exterminated humans in mass yet. A 100,000 years ago humans almost went extinct. If we pull nature out of balance, it surely will happen again

John Carbonaro 27 NOV 2010 10:03PM @KHF333

KHF33 said these gems :

* “..as truth and morality changes with circumstance”.

* “…I, like nature before me, do not believe in the sacred or the profane.”

* “..Nature is out to kill us..”

Here KHF33, read this, see your words from your various posts repeated, and also see how often Hitler comes up, then… ponder.

http://www.scottmsullivan.com/courses/relativism.pdf

KHF333  NOV 2010 9:25AM @John Carbonaro


Actually, that is a good article. I read it. It said nothing about Hitler. It is about moral relativism and makes some good points. However, moral absolutism absolutely has to fail. It cannot be a correct position since it does not allow for change and learning. That only leaves is with relativism. Like existence and spacetime itself, there is an inherent contradiction when all things are relative. Yet, this is the way it is. We must learn to swim in that ocean and still have strong enough beliefs and values to hold a culture together.

Meet James McWilliams, meat-industry defender—and aggrieved vegan?

http://www.grist.org/article/food-2010-12-08-james-mcwilliams-meat-industry-defender-and-aggrieved-vegan#c636753

KHF333 8 DEC 2010 10:59AM

The problem with the vegan moralistic argument is that there is no universally standard moral code. People do what they must to survive, including cannibalism if necessary. If the world adopts a vegan diet it will be due to economic necessity and not moral choice. If all life is all sacred, then so are germs and bugs and vegetables and wildlife as well as farmed animals. One cannot even breathe in air without killing and consuming something. The idea that there are levels of killing that are acceptable because these life forms are not capable of reasoning or moral choice is quite laughable. Only humans make these choices, and humans can run up against some pretty hard times when the only thing they have to eat is their own kind.

eriqa 8 DEC 2010 12:29PM @KHF333,

While that’s true, I know few vegans who labor under the illusion that it is possible to cause *no* suffering. Rather, they seek to reduce the suffering they cause to the greatest extent possible. Of course, the degree to which we can avoid causing suffering depends on circumstances (what philosophers call “moral luck”). A starving person has fewer options than the average middle-class Westerner. As you mentioned, there are some circumstances in which cannibalism is morally defensible. That doesn’t mean we should feel free to indulge in it in normal times. Relative morality is not necessarily meaningless.

As for McWilliams, perhaps he is going on some sort of Marxist “let the state destroy itself” crusade? More people are likely to find factory farming repugnant than small farms, so let’s eliminate the small farms so that people turn away from meat altogether?

Nah, too clever by half.

Ian Logsdon 9 DEC 2010 9:31AM @KHF333

I don’t know any vegans who assume the world will magically go vegan, we as a community are focused on outreach, on changing culture, only through this can our goals be achieved. There are schisms within the community itself, just look at vegetarian vs vegan infighting, or vegans sparring over honey, it’s a complicated, multifaceted world we live in, and none of the vegan people I know are naive enough not to acknowledge that.

That doesn’t mean we don’t have a moral responsibility to cease doing things we feel are wrong. My morality isn’t based on anything handed down, it was objectively derived from rational awareness of life, suffering, and the consequences of my actions. I believe all morality can be deduced rationally, and any morals that are not based on rational self-awareness are just fragments of ancient superstition handed down by those who seek to control others. Thus, I reject all morality but that which is most basic, do no harm, take nothing that is not yours.

But hey, I’m a far leftists with a penchant for Ayn Rand, so you’re gonna get some weird philosophy out of me ;).

KHF333 8 DEC 2010 5:35PM @eriqa


“Moral luck.” That’s a good one. I cannot say I have heard that before, but it is exactly what I was talking about. I don’t think most people really like the factory farm process… even those who work them. The small farm is a little better. The hunter is even closer to the kill. I do respect vegetarians, but, unfortunately, I cannot digest too many vegetables. The vegan philosophy, however, seems totally out of sync with the natural way of things to me. I cannot imagine a diet without cheese and fish. Nor do I understand what the objection to milk products could possibly be when we mammals are born to drink milk.

Toodleloo 8 DEC 2010 9:39PM @KHF333

Mammals are born to drink milk—the milk provided by their mother. Is dog milk, pig milk, cat milk, or horse milk a natural part of our diet? Most of us would be a bit disgusted by that prospect and it would be difficult to convince them that drinking it was essential for their health. Not so with cow’s milk. Believe me, for many Asian people not raised to drink cow’s milk, the prospect is just as revolting. In short, drinking another species’ milk is more cultural than it is natural.

KHF333 8 DEC 2010 10:14PM @Toodleloo

Many would find adults drinking human milk disgusting as well. Goat milk is regularly used by humans as well as cow milk. Cultural? Probably, but you have to stretch a point to call it disgusting. And these products make other fine foods and are ingredients in many nutritional products. It might be bad for those with lactose intolerance, but it is quite a stretch to label these products ‘unethical’ or unfit to eat. It has been human nature to keep milk cows or goats for their milk for hundreds of thousands of years. Suddenly, vegans know better? I think not. I prefer cat milk myself.

Toodleloo 8 DEC 2010 11:38PM @KHF333

I don’t wish to enter a long debate with you about the ethics of veganism. You either get it or you don’t.

That being said, I could defend quite a few unsavory acts (like war, rape, oppression, and slavery) by claiming that they have been part of human heritage for hundreds of thousands of years. I could even claim that they have some beneficial utility to the species. However, I don’t let ancient history determine my personal ethics. That seems like it would be an abdication of personal responsibility—and quite frankly, an excuse.

I know that change is unsettling to many people—especially when it involves broadening our definition of who is worthy of “rights.” However, the reality is that many people are living perfectly happy, healthy lives, from birth to death, as vegans and vegetarians. In doing so, they are making the world a more peaceful place.

You’ve attempted to discount veganism because you feel threatened by it. You even seem to be implying that eating meat is a matter of your own survival—likening it to cannibalism in dire scenarios. Killing sentient, intelligent individuals because I like the taste of their flesh isn’t necessary for my survival, so I choose not to.

KHF333 9 DEC 2010 10:49AM @Toodleloo

Good reply. But I am certainly not threatened by vegan ideas, I just do not agree with them. I have never abdicated what I consider my personal responsibility. However, I think burying good human meat could someday be considered a great waste of human resources. I am not about to eat my brother, but I am sure he would taste great if I did. What I do not GET with vegans is the fish and milk and egg taboo. It seems like right-to life-fanatics arguing about being human at the moment of conception and gets in the way of REAL reform of animal husbandry, which we all agree really sucks. Even the term animal husbandry is a sexist idea left over from ownership of the female. Most people have a VERY LONG WAY to go philosophically before they can grapple with such issues.

YB 9 DEC 2010 12:02PM @KHF333


I agree with your assessment about “animal husbandry” and wonder what solutions you, as meat eater, envision. I’m not trying to bait you; I think ANY progress in this arena is a GOOD idea. My point below about people who eat lamb should switch to puppies was intended to provoke discussion about the cultural decisions concerning what gets eaten as well. Just a point of information, though—all vegetarians eschew the eating of all “meat” which includes fish. Think of it as anything with a face. Vegans avoid the eating of animal products, such as eggs, dairy, honey, etc.

KHF333 10 DEC 2010 7:28AM @YB

I am glad there are vegans. It leaves all the more for me. ; )

I think most people understand vegetarianism. The vegans, though, have turned their diet into a religion. The result is that, as a religion, the vegan message has become like any other traditional religion based on half-truths, legends, and unproven beliefs. Vegans are true believers and their beliefs are no more true than any other set of beliefs. Vegans seem to consider themselves more moral with a higher calling that the rest of the world, which alienates 99.9% of the population immediately. Their spokespersons sound a bit like Scientology recruiters. They have failed to convince because they come across as believing themselves to be superior. Most people do not like that.

To most people, not eating honey, fish and eggs and animal products simply because they believe it to be immoral is truly hilarious and somewhat pitiful. These vegan ideas tend to take man OUT of nature instead of making man a part of nature. It is a separative philosophy instead of an inclusive one.

Humans have destroyed so many predators that it is necessary for our institutions to regulate hunting in order to cull animals and prevent overpopulation. Humans have taken a place at the top of the food chain and thus bears a moral responsibility for the welfare of those life forms that he has displaced. In upsetting the balance of nature, it is our humanistic duty to restore that balance. Most people can agree to o this kind of thought and attitude. Most people can accept the native American model of thankfulness to the tree for its shade and its wood for building and heat. This then becomes thankfulness and additional regulative and more humane spiritual care for those species raised by us for food or whose byproducts are used for human purposes. I think that is as much cooperation as a vegan is going to get from the world any time soon.

Ian Logsdon 10 DEC 2010 7:51AM @KHF333

“These vegan ideas tend to take man OUT of nature instead of making man a part of nature. It is a separative philosophy instead of an inclusive one.”

This is flawed logic, either there is morality, or there is not. Everyone can choose their own morals, but if you’re arguing laws of nature then might makes right and there is no right and wrong. Animals don’t trade, most don’t help the weakest amongst themselves, they don’t ask for consent to sexual conduct, they don’t have the foresight to see when they are over-consuming their food sources. Should we so limit ourselves because these behaviors are common?

If, on the other hand, you believe in some form of morality, then you are operating on an inherently judgmental framework. If you believe human lives are worthy of protection and not animals, isn’t it you who thinks you are superior? In my view, I would not treat any creature differently than my own family, as you cannot make suffering relative. Does that mean I have no impact? Of course not, the world is a chaotic place, as a Christian would say, no man is free from sin, but that doesn’t make the moral framework invalid.

You are creating a strawman of veganism, particularly since most of the vegans I know object to the fact that buying milk and eggs contributes to the suffering and death of animals, because our food system now is cruel to even those creatures who aren’t being consumed for meat. In reality, there isn’t much of a difference between the life of a chicken raised for meat and a chicken who lays eggs in a factory farm. The cows who provide much of the milk in America are just as mistreated as the ones that go to the slaughter. The only way to stop these practices is to stop funding them, if you pay someone for a product that was created unethically, the unethical behavior is your behavior.

I was a vegetarian for a long time before I became a vegan, and the only reason I was able to maintain that behavior, was I was lying to myself about the conditions animals are kept in.

KHF333 10 DEC 2010 8:38AM @Ian Logsdon

I understand and somewhat sympathize with that you say above. But you are still spouting the religion of veganism. Your beliefs and lifestyle are only made possible because you live in a time of plenty and a country blessed with enough to eat. You assume ALL animals suffer and are mistreated, which is not really the case. Do you really think the wild bird has an easier and happier time than the well treated domestics? Granted, there are bad farmers, but proper regulations and better technology could solve that problem.

You say either there is morality or there is not. This is not so. There are gradual levels in anything in nature. If this were true, then my answer would be that there is no morality, as it is a but a frail human conception and humans are real newcomers in the universe. But there are layers and levels in anything natural. There is at least the rudiments of human morality in the porpoise that brings people to shore and the whale and the elephant.

Instead of not eating eggs and honey you could have chosen to be a humane beekeeper or raise your own chickens in a ‘moral’ manner.

But that is not what you are actually objecting to, is it. You believe that keeping any animal is enslavement, yet their natural life in the wild and untamed world is so much harder and brutal that your values make very little real sense.

Ian Logsdon 10 DEC 2010 9:02AM @KHF333

You’re actually wrong, I am in the process of founding a community garden and one of the first things I want to do is establish an apiary. I am completely in favor of beekeeping (I eat honey, there is much disagreement about this in the vegan community), and when I move out of an apartment, I plan to have a chicken coop. I may not be able to call myself a vegan after that (I guess? Maybe I still will), the issue is that regulation right now is controlled by agencies dominated by industry insiders who care more about protecting the status quo. That is why I took myself out of participating in the industry. Even the term free range has a legalistic definition that has a huge range of implementations. The lack of transparency is a huge problem. As well, chicken waste in my state has caused massive environmental problems in the Chesapeake Bay, so participating has other externalities I don’t agree with as well.

Veganism isn’t black and white, and I have a “religion” or at least a belief system that is related to, but external from my dietary habits. I certainly agree that animals exhibit remarkable traits that include compassion, but that doesn’t make the law of nature argument more valid, animals engage in behavior humans would not, we should judge ourselves based on human standards. Morality is by nature, a human created concept, but I don’t think everyone has to follow my moral system. I certainly don’t think its my business to tell you what to do.

KHF333 10 DEC 2010 9:57AM @Ian Logsdon

Actually, I agree with much of that, Ian.

I especially agree that our system has gone off the rails, but I think there are better ways to get it back on track than denying yourself the foods that nature fully intended for you to eat. This self-denial works for some, I am sure, like Gandhi’s tactics worked for India.

After the big egg recall, California is developing much more humane and sanitary egg production. I will believe these animals raised especially for human purposes and use would not have existed without human carnivores and could easily live better lives that their wild counterparts with humane regulation and control.

I have very much enjoyed talking to vegans about their ideas, but I have a MAJOR suggestion. What has been described here is a strong moral repulsion to the way animals are raised and treated, enough to change their diets to express their non-support of that system. What this really amounts to is something we have already been through as a society. Vegans are following, perhaps unknowingly, the hippie age “TUNE IN, TURN ON, DROP OUT” ideas.

Those techniques did not really work then and they will not work now.

That hippie generation actually did effect world change, but only after they dropped the anti-society game and began to change the world from the inside. That is what needs to be done now. On local, state and federal levels we have to regulate and change the corporate food production system. We have to demand humane treatment for animals and have inspectors with some teeth. We need better laws. We have to buy and produce food locally.

We can start very locally and get interest in humane conditions brewing in our cities and counties and states. Changing the diet ONLY is the equivalent of ‘dropping out’. One can never effect injustice by dropping out of the game. Go ahead, be a vegan if you really believe that is the way to go, but you will not effect change for those animals you seek to protect by ignoring them completely as you are doing now. The change will come as a result of getting rid of the inhumane conditions that feed the majority of the world, whether or not one eats meat or eggs.

Remember, not enough people will ever change their diet to effect real world change, so vegans, unless they are especially active politically, will not improve these condition because they will never have the numbers to do so. They are simply contributing to the problem by dropping out of the race.