Saturday, 8 June 2013

On the Food we Eat

Seeing and knowing the mechanized way in which animals are raised and slaughtered for human consumption would make anyone want to go vegetarian, or at least eat free-range or organic alternatives for which we can hope the animals have lived and been cared for well. Even then, their lives are commodified. How can that be right? Or else they lived wild. But to cut short a life of freedom and happiness in nature, a life not farmed and cared for by human hands, is this not even worse? And yet before insisting on vegetarianism as the only alternative, it is worth recognizing and respecting the life of plants also. In the words of Samsaran:
"Let us not be fooled by the supposed stillness of plants. They are very active except in a reality of time much, much slower than ours. Watch them in time lapse photography and you will see them move and twist, avoid danger, battle one another for growing space, defend themselves against insect attackers and behave very much like the life-forms we call animals. Even the idea that they are “rooted” to one spot is challenged when we see that they move through seeds, shoots and rhizomes just slowly to our perception. They communicate and cooperate. They live as we live. They react to threats and, in their own way, suffer.
Let us not assume that all things live with the same time perception as we."

Just as we might seem slow-moving to a bird, plants seem slow-moving to us, and the above video bears out what Samsaran so neatly expresses as a difference in perception. 

Whatever we eat, plant or animal, and however our food is produced, mechanized or not, let us insist on care and respect. To die for another is the ultimate sacrifice. Even the fruits and seeds for future potential life become sustenance for our own life. As Samsaran also observes, at any given time we are only three days away from a state of starvation. So we should be grateful for the sacrifice that sustains us, not try to avoid its necessity, but honour this Earth of which we are but a part. We have a lot to learn from the indigenous people of the world in this regard. 

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