Optimistic Vegan

Little Bit of Plato
January 31, 2011, 7:16 pm
Filed under: Lifestyle, Literature | Tags: , , , ,

Well I have good news and bad news. The good news are that I got into my biology class! I had given up all hope and at the very last minute (literally, today was the last day to add/drop a class) I got in! The bad news are that I had to drop my ancient philosophy class. I loved my professor and I surprised myself in loving Plato as well! In this post I’m going to take a couple of quotes from Plato and relate them to what I’m interested in!

We just read The Protagoras which is this dialogue where Socrates is questioning the sophist Protagoras about how one can teach virtue. At one point Socrates says,

“They maintain that most people are unwilling to do what is best, even though they know what it is and are able to do it. And when I have asked them the reason for this, they say that those who act that way do so because they are overcome by pleasure or pain or are being ruled by one of the things I referred to just now” (Plato 782D).

From what I’ve seen, a very common response I’ve heard when people find out that I’m vegan is that they admire, respect, appreciate me, or even flat out they know it’s the right thing to do (but they could never do it). I’m not saying this is true for everyone, but I think that the main reason for not being vegetarian for a lot of people is simply because they think it would be too hard. Or, using Plato’s words to support this train of thought, they are ruled by the pleasure of eating meat. I think almost everyone is able to do go vegetarian. It might be difficult for them at first, but in the end pleasure outweighs the pain of getting there!

Another Plato quote occurs a couple of pages later is where Socrates says,

“to give in to oneself is nothing other than ignorance, and to control oneself is nothing other than wisdom….ignorance is to have a false belief and to be deceived about matters of importance” (358C).

I love this! It is so easy to apply to vegetarianism. Another common response after finding out more about vegetarianism and specifically factory farms is surprise. Most people don’t know (or refuse to think about) where their meat comes from. They are ignorant, some by choice, but usually it’s because they’ve been “deceived about matters of importance.” The meat industry doesn’t want you to know, because if you did, you might stop eating their product. Building off of that, most people give in to eating meat because they simply don’t know. However, once you do know if you control your eating habits to fit with your beliefs, that’s wisdom. It’s not wisdom if you know but refuse to consider.

Just a little bit of Plato for you all, you should check it out! It’s much easier to read that I thought it would be. I’m going to continue reading even though I had to drop the class!

I don’t think I’ve had a chicken photo yet. Isn’t she beautiful?! She looks very proud.


The Vegan Title
January 30, 2011, 8:49 pm
Filed under: Food, Lifestyle, Personal | Tags: , , , ,

I’m sure you’ve heard me rant about this before, but I think it needs to be reiterated. I hate the terms “vegan” and “vegetarian.” (I really feel like I’ve already talked about this, but I can’t find it!) It puts those people in a little box and they feel like they can’t move, they feel the need to define themselves, and other people don’t have as much “respect” if they aren’t completely in their box. Let me explain.

From what I’ve seen, most people don’t think they can be completely vegan/vegetarian so they don’t try at all. (Read my post titled Every Bit Goes a Long Way for more about that) This is why I hate the titles of vegan/vegetarian. It’s like you have to have the title to prove to others what your beliefs are or something. I think that we should care less about what other people think of us and stay true to ourselves and what we believe. If you think that factory farms are terrible and you feel you can give up red meat but never chicken, give up red meat! You might not be able to call yourself a “vegetarian” but at least you know you’re doing what you think is best by doing what you can.

A lot of new vegans/vegetarians get discouraged because they slip up/forget/take a break or whatever, and some even quit altogether. You have to cut yourself some slack! For the people my age, you’ve been eating meat for almost 2 decades! It’s not easy for everyone to make a lifestyle switch that quickly! If you slip up a couple of times, understand that you’re still making a difference.

So I think that you should stop caring about getting that title and instead do what you can.

Baby cow picture for you!

baby cow