Thursday, August 23, 2007

Vegitarianism: Am I a Hypocrite?

I've always had this "holier-than-thou" attitude: I don't do meat because I reckon killing an animal causes it pain. And since, in general, the average living thing tends to avoid pain as much as possible - pain must be, well, painful to say the least. So, I don't do beef, I don't do chicken - or any other meat for that matter.

But the average roach that encounters me gets the under-side of my shoe, inevitably. I have an obsession with killing ants and other insects that bite. I would kill a bed-bug if I ever saw another (something I seriously wish I won't). In other words, if insects were human (which they, thankfully, are not) then most of humanity would be in my firing line.

Does one sense a certain double standard somewhere? Well, I did - so I did some reading up.

Causing a living thing a sensation of pain is what I want to avoid - and it turns out that in order to experience pain (pain as we know it), one needs a central nervous system - something that insects apparently do not possess. (A rather dumbed down explanation of the same can be found here.).

Which gets me thinking on a tangent: an insect is little but a robot: it does what it is programmed to (by evolution, so to speak).

Which eerily corroborates what I had been thinking all along: even humans are little but over-rated robots - after all, consciousness is an illusion that the conscious mind creates to "explain" itself.

At this point I see a roach crawl on the floor. I am taking a shoe out of the closet right now. I have the shoe on my hand. The shoe is being used to crush the roach with lethal force right now. After hearing a convincing "crunch" sound, one is sure that the roach is no more. But I am not a sinner. Killing the roach was as much an ethical crime as, well, breaking a pen.


Anonymous said...

A tigeress may kill a deer but wont kill her own cub. Is she a hypocrite?

Answer this question & you will find the answer for your own question

Rap said...

The said tigress has a significant evolutionary disincentive from killing and consuming her own cub - all the tigresses (or their evolutionary ancestors) that did pursue such a course of action just killed their genes.

As "civilized" human beings, we like to delude ourselves into thinking that we are ethical. Eating fellow men is frowned upon in most civilizations.

A hypocrite is one who maintains such "liberal" (if you will) values and yet (intentionally or unintentionally) goes against the same.

Since tigers are not known to have such values, they are not hypocrites.

A human on the other hand is a more complex evolutionary machine with hypocrisy hard-wired into his psyche.