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philosophy

Selfishness

The fact the human beings need food to survive tells that for our survival, we need to destroy others – the others, in this case being only plants and fruits, if you happen to be a pur veg. So essentially, there is not much of a difference between vegetarians and non-vegetarians as far as ethics is concerned. Just because a section of human beings cannot feel the agony of a plant that dies, but gets pained by killing of chickens or boiling of eggs – they cannnot call non-veg as cruel beings.

If someone asked me to kill an animal, be it a hen or a lamb, I would never be able to do that. But those who are butchers, and do this day in and day out – do they really feel they are doing anything cruel?  I don’t think so. They get conditioned. They look at these animals as plants. Both are living beings. And human beings, being more powerful than either plants or these animals have the power to decide what they want to do with them. This is how nature works.

I was thinking on these lines. And then I asked myself – does this mean that someone can also be conditioned to stop regarding killing of fellow human beings as a non-cruel act? I already had my answer. Of course yes. Do the criminal who kill people on a regular basis really feel guilty about doing so? I don’t think so. Isn’t it almost like eating non-veg? Isn’t it almost like ignoring to accept that plants and trees are living beings too? It is all about conditioning of the human senses.

Is survival without selfishness possible? Or is it only the limit of selfishness that matters?

8 replies on “Selfishness”

there are lot differences, plants are autotrophs and we are not.
rules are not same for plant and animal kingdom,or rather there are different ways of looking at it.
with current scenario,veg is better for environmental concerns since,plants are lie at the lower level in trophic heirarchy.
lemme just elaborate.
eg.- consider a hen. estimate the amount of grains it would consume all throughout its life.that would be more than 50kg of grains at the least. 50kgs is sufficient for many many people and can give them meals for a significant time.
now, if you eat this chicken,hardly two of us fill belly.
so its that simple for this current world situation where food crisis is prevailing.
as far as criminal feeling or guilt feeling is consider.
Its just a matter of habit. once we start doing it, we usually get addicted to it,until we realise it. since, there are always animal instincts deep inside our DNA.

well, thats what I advocate vegetarianism for,and wht i perceive for Killing.

This discussion has no end, and both sides will see their own belief as the best one (which is true just about any discussion).

Here’s how I see it:

1. If you’re a vegetarian for health reason:
Good for you. Most meat products are bad for you, a few are good/neutral – but you CAN live without them. So yaay!

2. If you’re a vegetarian for religious reasons:
Good for you. People do worse things in the name/because of religion. Not eating meat is harmless.

3. If you’re a vegetarian because you dont like the taste:
Good for you. If you dont like it, why would you eat it. Makes perfect sense.

4. If you’re a vegetarian because you believe it KILLS animals:
Not Good. Life exists after feeding on other life. This is not about morality. This is not murder. Killing animals+plants for fun and sport is murder. Killing for food is not murder. We might be able to live on glucose and synthetic minerals in the future, without killing any plants, animals and microbes. If we reach that time, I don’t think any vegetarians will quit the plant genocide that is organised agriculture. Also, suppose one day we get synthetic meat? Grown in labs/factories. Will vegetarians switch? Knowing that this artificial meat is MORE non destructive to other life than regular rice or milk?

I got into a comment fight with someone on my blog over this: http://www.flyyoufools.com/unanswered-questions

The comments are quite longish…

Yes Gilly you are right in many ways. You said “with current scenario,veg is better for environmental concerns since,plants are lie at the lower level in trophic heirarchy” and I get the point.

The issue that I was raising was not which option is better. My point was that even the best option, is at the end, selfish.

Having said the above, your hen argument doesn’t hold much water. If a hen ate X Kg of grain, before I ate the hen, you cannot say that those X kg got wasted. The Hen’s purpose of living need not only be to serve as food for me. Jitne time murgi jindaa thi, usko bhi to kuch value de na yaar. Varna, say if I don’t eat that hen, and the hen eats Y more Kgs before it dies, tu bolega X+Y Kg grain waste ho gaya!

If you meant something else by your hen and grain funda, bata dena. I might have misinterpreted you.

You are also very correct about the habit thing.

All points well taken Akhtar Bhaai. Shukriya.

On point 4 – life exists after feeding on other life (lives). I agree. But do most of us merely want to exist?

Say I eat chicken coz I find it tasty. But I also find many other vegetarian dishes tasty too. I am not trying to compare the taste but here, but the point here is: the reason I eat chicken is that killing hens is an accepted norm and I have become used to this fact.

Similarly killing plants is an accepted norm.

As far as the issue of selfishness is concerned, your point 4 echoes with my reasoning. Selfishness is necessary for survival.

But let me ask you this, and others who are reading this post-comment – should we at least try to be as less selfish as we can?

Bus yahin pe morality aa jaati hai bhaai jaaan.

I would support Gilly here. Say someone served me human flesh when I was a kid and I took a liking to it. And if by some weird chance, killing humans (say some particular caste) was the accepted norm, would have I continued eating human flesh, to satisfy my taste buds? I don’t know.

wrong right pe nahi jaate hain abhi. My argument is more on this line: if killing humans or animals is selfish, isn’t killing plants selfish too?

There is something about which science is completely oblivious when it differentiates between plants, animals and human beings. Though it might sound a bit religious but I find it very relevant. Indian philosophy says that there is something called as consciousness which differentiates human beings from animals/plants. Like when one(a sane person) kills a human being he feels much more guilt than when he slaughters a goat and further less when he kills a plant. Now science has no way it can say anything about this because these things cant be quantified. But human beings are much more conscious than animals and plants are the least conscious. Good that you took to vegetarianism!

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