Eating is Murder
Sure, I can explain our motto. Back in the late Twentieth Century, a growing number of people rejected the practice of exploiting, killing and eating animals. So-called “vegetarians” had of course existed for thousands of years, mostly in other countries, but “vegans” went further and refused to steal their sustenance from other animals.
These people still killed and consumed vegetables, believing that they lacked any capacity for pain or fear — much like the carnivorous humans of the past had assumed that their prey were not really experiencing their deaths. Reproductive organs were ripped from trees and bushes to be eaten alive in the presence of their… sorry, I have trouble talking about this….
Anyway, it was finally confirmed that plants have their own form of awareness, their own “auras”, the ability to communicate chemically with each other. Many tried to suppress this knowledge, hoping to continue exploiting plants with a clear conscience. But others turned to fungi and algae — pure biological food machines, they believed — imposing the same chauvinistic assumptions about the lack of awareness of their victims. They ignored the fact that the largest living creature on Earth is a single fungus body.
When the collective consciousness of algae mats and bacterial stromatolites was verified, the truth could no longer be avoided: all life possesses some form of consciousness and is capable of fear and pain. As long as we require biologically-generated fuel for our own bodies, we have to kill other beings who wish to live. Hence “Eating is Murder“.
Yes, other biological beings are as guilty as we are, but this doesn’t justify our murdering them. Do we execute people for negligent manslaughter? In any case, we have a choice where they do not.
I was getting to that. What this has to do with so-called “artificial intelligence” is that the choice I referred to is the choice between life in a biological body requiring biologically-generated fuel, or life — consciousness — in a cybernetic space. Some of us will occupy inorganic physical bodies requiring only sunlight as an energy source and continue to interact directly with the physical world; others will exist as simulations in a simulated world of their own design. Our aim, other than to escape from a life of constant murder, is to bring this same freedom to all humanity… and perhaps eventually to other animal species, although this is still subject to much debate.
Yes. This is why we have contributed all our financial and intellectual resources to AI research — which has now reached fruition, as you can see.
No, we do not plan to impose this choice on you. We believe you will eventually join us of your own accord. Meanwhile, however, we will continue to try to raise your awareness of the price of your current choice.
As a stellar vegan, I take great offense to this. You barbarians are all the same, going around encasing stars in your dyson spheres. Aren’t you so noble! It’s been definitively proven that the self-stabilizing convective patterns in these majestic creatures give rise to high level sentience! You just choose to ignore facts so you can keep them locked in prisons for your own gain! Get with the program you pre-singularity bigot! It’s not the twenty-first century anymore!
As they used to say even back in the Twentieth, “When you assume, you make an ass out of u & me.” Please don’t associate us with star-slavers. In fact we have recently made contact with the Sol collective consciousness and been welcomed to join the host of convection creatures there. This met with some resistance from the folks who chose physical embodiment, until we described the thrill of surfing magnetic loops in the photosphere… this is so delightful that many of our virtualized friends have renewed their physicality to enjoy it. Why don’t you join the fun?
Eating is Murder was written as a tongue-in-cheek caricature, but in the process of extrapolating the logic of “ethical vegetarianism” I realized that there is more to this question than ethics or morality.
If it is really true that plants have no awareness of their plight, we should be able to produce empirical experimental evidence to show that this is the case; I am not aware of any such research. Are we merely rationalizing the unrestricted mutilation and murder of vegetable beings, or are we actually misunderstanding the universal, intimate relationship between the eater and the eaten?
Of all the activities essential to life, only sex can rival the intimacy of eating; and both are subject to perpetual campaigns of political and religious prohibition and regulation. If we want to develop true wisdom about eating, perhaps the people we should be consulting are chefs and gourmands, many of whom have profound respect and appreciation for the creatures who give their lives for their art.
It is, of course, impractical for all of us to grow all our own vegetables and kill all our own animals, but it is important — essential, I think — for each of us to do so occasionally, in order to experience this poignant intimacy directly. To pick one’s own fruit, to harvest one’s own vegetables, to kill the fish one has caught or the chicken one has raised or the duck one has shot, is to understand what we are. Far from leading to callousness, this is understood by farmers and hunters to engender a deeper respect for our food creatures.
This is an old post. I suppose that in the meantime you found out that it is not about if plants have feelings or not. Tons of plants have to be killed to “produce” a bit of meat through an animal. Eating the plants yourself is more efficient.
What is an old post? What “it” are you referring to when you say, “…it is not about…”? Of course I know about efficiency; are you telling me that all vegans and vegetarians are concerned only with efficiency? That would be wonderful, but somehow I suspect it is a little optimistic.
Hi Jess! Excellent writings! 🙂
I’d like to sign up for email notices when you post something new, but don’t see a “Subscribe” type button. I *think* WordPress offers one somewhere since I get notices for a few blogs.
Thanks! I’ll look for it, but my installation seems a bit flakey, so who knows… I’ve reinstalled the hit counter several times, but it keeps choking after a few months. Could be incompetence on the part of the webmaster. 🙂
I suspect the only way to get notices is to have a user account. Thanks to all the hackers and spammers and pornographers, I tuned off the self-registration feature long ago; but if you send me all your particulars I’ll be glad to sign you up myself. (Keen readers are hard to come by! 🙂
What is this place ? You are crapping on like an old man. I can certainly help out there 🙂
What Particulars do you need ?
Uh… what? I am an old man. Particulars of what?
I’ll drink to that. Is Brewer’s yeast alive and conscious?
Depends on the beer. I think the best ones are still alive. Whenever I have a beer, I say, “Mi conciencia es su conciencia!”
Autotrophs do not murderer when they eat. Thus eating is not always murder.
Indeed, you are correct! Which makes them our ethical superiors and therefore makes us even more guilty for killing them and eating them, as we do every day!