Category Archives: Ethics

Food – the bane of cheap food, for some

Treasure food poster

Treasure food poster

As I grow old (er) there are fewer things that really upset me. Though I seem to be complaining a lot more about those things that do (working on these).

One thing which I think will stay with me, is the compulsion to keep spreading the message about the terrible wastage of food in many places. There is no race or place in the world that is immune to this tendency among some of its better fed individuals.

Taking more food than we can, or want to eat, at one sitting, is something that we can learn to be conscious of. I do not think that people (except the mentally sick) deliberately start off with wanting to throw excess food away. Nevertheless it is a mental condition that is a lack of awareness. Awareness of the degree of hunger or need to nourish ourselves. Even the joy of eating something that looks or smells nice. Our favourite dish. There is a physical limit to how much we can eat. Consciousness of this at the moment in time when we are at the buffet table line will help us to moderate our actions.

I would hve liked to use the element of fear, in this message. The karma thing. Where it all comes full circle and you end up in a life where you face starvation simply because those who have are wasting food that could have been more than enough to feed those who have not.  But I will not. Because it is good enough, and better,  simply to be aware of our real needs, versus our purely psychological tendencies, driven by a hundred demons (the little examined past experiences that shape our present attitudes ). This is not just about food. It is about your own self development.

I will revisit this theme again, elaborating on and relating this to other topics. Because, there is so much wastage going on in our lives. There is no need to be austere or be a yogi (heaven forbid). Life can be enjoyed to the full, with all the good experiences meant for you to experience in this life.

 

 

 

 

Do animals have emotions?

Just revisited a book I bought sometime ago. “The Pig Who Sang to The Moon” by Jeffrey Mason. Subtitled “the emotional World of Farm Animals”.

I know, you’re wondering why I’m mentioning this book out of the blue. The title struck me as interesting when I came across it in a London bookstore. I certainly would not find this book in a religiously sensitive country where the animal or even the mere mention of it is considered offensive. (Won’t go into that at the moment except to say that not all followers of the religions that avoid pork are so ### but many governments pander to the whims of the insane minority).

The book really is not about pigs per say, but use the animal as one example among others, of the view that animals have the same ability to feel, and think, as humans. I am not against eating meat, and I do eat meat, although in much smaller quantities than I used to, as I grow older. Not because of the book or any belief system.

The book uses studies and examples of how certain animals in the studies, were found to be able to have fun, think feel, and therefore possibly anticipate the future. The horror of living a life in anticipation of being slaughtered in the prime of your life.

Death is not the only concern expressed for animals in the book. It is about the immense suffering we put animals, pigs, cows, goat, chicken, etc, when we breed and raise them in the sort of commercial farming systems so widespread today.

DOG

One interesting question raised in comparing dogs and cats (which we abhor the thought of harming, much less of eating), with farm animals is that the farm animals do not show an interest in us like cats and dogs do. “Can we only be interested in an animal who fawns on us? Is our vanity so terribly fragile that we require adoration before we accord even the faintest interest? It is not true that farmed animals are indifferent; they are frightened. It is true that all farmed animals are standoffish with us, because there is always a deep basic justified mistrust”.

Towards the end of the book the author asks the question of whether we mistreat animals we breed for food, because They are different from us. It seems a stretch of logic to go from here to inter human relationships.

But my own question is whether there is a connection with all forms of negative discrimination among groups of humans. I remember that at one time the term “positive discrimination ” was bandied around as the justification for some forms of racial discrimination. I am glad I don’t see this term in common use anymore, as it is one of the most ludicrous terms invented, to justify bad policies. Presumably it didn’t achieve the purpose of avoiding embarrassment in mixed company or the world is grown so immune to shame that you can call a black sheep white and to hell with anyone who disagrees.

How big or small, is the step, from ritual slaughter of animals, to that of human? What does it do to our own minds and psyche!

Liu Bei and Zhugeliang, a story that illustrates a potential reason for not accepting a advisory position

There’s an interesting story of how Liu Bei went to look for Zhugeliang three times to beg him to be his advisor. This was an aspiring emperor, who was already in command of a force going to what was a semi recluse (though with a reputation as a master strategist).

This story is worth studying. In today’s world where advise and knowledge is available for a price. What did Liu Bei do to finally get Zhugeliang to help him finally achieve the position of emperor of China? To bring peace under heaven? I’m not going to tell on this post because I want you to do some research yourself.

The point I wish to make here is the fact that while most knowledge can be bought, or obtained for free as on the internet, there are some essential insights that can only be achieved through long experience. The purpose of a trainer or master trainer is to help you shortcut the length of time it normally takes (it can also take you more than a life time, if you do not get exposed to the range of experiences needed). 

Even then, the master trainer knows that there are certain conditions necessary for a learner to be able to grasp the message. This is especially true in sports and particularly in the martial arts. You can tell someone to match an incoming force with exactly the same force, and maintain contact, in order to control the opponent and redirect the force. Sounds logical, and is scientific. But it is hardly something a novice is able to perform. In such situations, a trainer may not bother to try to teach this part of the “syllabus” even if asked by the learner. It will be a sheer waste of time and energy, and likely do harm, by giving the learner a false sense of achievement when there is non. 

In the earlier mentioned story from the Chinese classics, the reason for a refusal to assist was due to the sought adviser wanting to make sure that his advice is going to be followed, and that there was a moral/ethical base to the person that he was going to help. Zhugeliang was/is considered one of the greatest strategists al all times.

Just for those who wish to delve into the story of Liu Bei and Zhugeliang, you can check out books or reference to “Romance of the Three Kingdoms “ one of the four evergreen classics in China.