We love creating Others in our minds to hate or attack.
A friend wondered if I had a vendetta against vegans.
I can see how it might sound like that, according to the titles of some of my pieces.
But I don’t. In fact, I am probably more like an average vegan than an average meat-eater.
I care about what I eat. I care about the ethics of eating animals. Obviously, it is specific obsession of mine.
Vegans and I just have a difference of opinion when it comes to what it means to cause “less harm”.
As a lapsed Buddhist, I have been thinking about that precept for ages. It can be more complicated then we first imagine when we adopt a food philosophy to cause less harm.
In the overall big picture, I applaud a vegan’s willingness to make hard food choices.
Instead of the overarching ethical framework of “causing less harm” perhaps vegans should stick to the simple maxim of “eating no animal products.”
The “causing less harm” philosophical angle can be wildly different from one eater to the next, regardless of labels. One “junk food vegan” theoretically could be causing more overall harm to the environment and it’s wild denizens than one conscientious meat eater.
What I am seeing as I grow older and have a more nuanced views of these matters is that labels don’t help anything — in fact they create divides where divides don’t even exist.
If I say I am a carnivore because my diet consists of 80% meat, other carnivores would say I am not a real carnivore. If I say I am a vegan because my diet consists of 80% plants, other vegans would say I am not a real vegan.
This is the ridiculous cut and dry world we live in today, where people actually get their undies in a bunch about other people’s personal choices and the labels that they choose.
I need to tailor my diet to my specifications for my own reasons including the knowledge of my body and my own philosophy on eating. That is it — and it is my own personal issue. Same goes for everybody else.
My basic premise is that labels in general are misleading, and every single person is an interesting mix of all of the above. We don’t actually need to smoosh ourselves into tiny boxes that other people made. We don’t even need to get into boxes in the first place.
We can just be who we are and see where that goes.
But we are human so we love hating the Other.