My dad took one look at my blog and said “You’re going to offend Catholics.” He doesn’t know very many vegans I guess.
I had my first hater… A “REAL” vegetarian who took offense to my post on vegetarianism. Not 24 hours later one of my tweeples was hating on “vegetarian meat” specifically hagis.
I totally respect your ideological purity. That works for you, and it’s really great to have an ideological framework that works for you. I understand that someone who eats pork “when they want to” is not a vegetarian in the sense that their diet includes meat, hence NOT vegetarian. I also understand that vegetarian hagis is NOT hagis. Hagis is defined as made from organ meat. You are both right. But times like these I remember a story…
When I was in college I was a vegan. I went to lunch at the house of my adviser, a Philosophy professor who specialized in Eastern Philosophy. I had assumed she was a vegetarian, and she confirmed that for many years she had been. Now she said she occasionally though rarely ate land animals, but pretty regularly ate fish. I judged. I admit it. I judged her harshly. She must have seen it in my face because she gently told me the story of visiting a Buddhist monastery in China. She was there to study Buddhism and was shocked when she sat down to her first meal there to be served beef. “But how can you take the life of this animal?” she asked. They gently explained to her that they valued all lives equally. No life was more important than another. And when they farmed vegetables, every hoe strike of the soil killed several insects. So a meal of vegetables actually required the probably taking of hundreds of lives. One cow on the other hand could supply enough sustenance for many meals for many people and they made sure to be thankful to the cow and mindful of its sacrifice for their benefit.
After hearing that story at 20, rather than gaining greater respect for differences, I think I just judged the Buddhists. However over the years that story has actually stuck with me and been a bench mark for how I see the world. However, like the Buddhist monk story illustrates, I’ve come to see that ideological purity is often not what we imagine it to be. Just because a set of actions contradict our expectations doesn’t mean they are “wrong.” Moreover, many times ideological purity is often used to bludgeon others for not conforming to a value system that has been defined by humans and based on human choices, as opposed to some objective, absolute right or wrong.
I think of the baptist minister who told me at 1o that all Christians would go to heaven but baptists who accepted Jesus Christ as their personal savior and followed the baptist way would sail to heaven in a yacht where as everyone else would go on a dinky raft. Or Jerry Falwell who insists that attendees at Liberty University believe that the bible is 100% word for word truth. Or the Tea Partiers that insist that the constitution requires gun ownership and no federal regulation of anything. Mmmm Kay.
I am still spiritually a vegetarian. I still believe in the value system that caused me to strictly follow the vegetarian diet for more than 20 years and to raise my kids as vegetarian. I spent over 20 years as a vegetarian (with 2 brief periods of lapse) before I started to really accept that I was at a time in my life I needed to broaden my experience and my diet. You get to an age (aka mid life crisis time) where you realize that life is zipping by and you have not been living every day as intentionally as you could. You’ve hurried days by, wished they would end, tried to move time along, wasted time doing nothing, and seen entire years go by where you just wanted to get from one day to the next. But our time here is finite. And when that mid life crisis rolls around one way to handle it is to start living like this is our one chance. There are some things I’m willing to miss out on. I’ll probably never get to Moscow. I’ll probably never eat in the under water restaurant in the Maldives. I will never read Moby Dick. But I CAN try bacon maple chocolate chip cookies, I can try foi gras at one of the best restaurants in the country, and I can try the specialty of the house/region when I go places, like pork bbq in Tennessee, Lobster in Maine, and Crabs in MD.
Life is short. And we only get one go around. I am sorry to the vegetarians I’ve offended, or the Catholics, or the fans of proper punctuation, (just wait til I go on a political rant, I can REALLY offend some Republicans). If you are looking for ideological purity, or purity of any sort, this is NOT the place for you.
(I have visions of me standing before a crowd with people pointing and yelling “IMPURE! IMPURE!” lol)
So to The real Vegetarian, please Feel free to stick Around And enjoy some Real vegetarian food talk in between the icky meat. Or you Can not. You are welcome Either way. I appreciate the Opportunity to talk through Some of this Stuff. I was after all A philosophy Major.