Uber Empathy (or “The PETA Fallacy”)

All things are energy. Ancient philosophers from both the East and the West, most notably Heraclitus in Greece and Lao Tzu in China, both dating back to around the 6th century B.C., have reflected on this and documented it in their writings. In modern times, Einstein stated this mathematically in his famous mass-energy equivalence formula, E = mc2; mass can be converted into energy, and energy can be converted into mass. Mass and energy are one and the same. And, if this is true, then all things are one and the same, in essence…

What does this have to do with PETA or empathy? Taking into account that all things are energy, I just don’t see any merits in the claims from PETA or other overly zealous vegetarians that people should avoid eating animals because it is cruel. Let me clarify my thoughts…

Without going into detail over the arguments and science of a pure vegetable based diet or a pure meat based diet, let’s accept the fact that we are omnivores. Whatever we decide to eat now is our decision, but we did indeed evolve as omnivores. As with all living creatures, we need food to survive. As omnivores, our food sources (simply put) happen to include vegetables, fruit, and meat. Our meat comes (hopefully) from animals lower than us in the food chain. And these animals need other animals lower in their food chain in order to survive. Certain animals, in this evolutionary context, are “meant” to be a food source for us. Fish are “meant” to be eaten (from the perspective of the animal higher in the food chain), and likewise for certain other animals. They are necessary for that purpose. It’s part of the food chain of life. Don’t blame your fellow humans if you disagree with this. Blame God, Mother Nature, the Universe, or, if you like, Xenu.

Delving further, the core fallacy in their message, in my opinion, appears to be due to an over-projection of the “self” into the animal in question; empathy. Empathy is a very good thing in the human race… but like all things, it is good only in moderation. Too much empathy can detract you from being yourself and living a life of purpose. You can’t be obsessed with someone else. You are you for a reason, not someone else. More importantly, you can’t expect to help others if you are in this state of mind. You need to have focus and clarity of thought, not a constant obsession with what others are thinking, feeling, experiencing…

Empathy is important, but not in excess. I think it is a mistake to humanize animals beyond the bounds that nature intended. However, I also feel that is just as much a mistake to think that animals are thoughtless and purposeless as it is to think that they think and feel as you do.

All things are one and the same in essence. Nature is nature. Whether we eat animals lower in the food chain, or those animals eat us, doesn’t quite matter (hopefully it is the former, otherwise that would make for a great Sci-Fi movie). But it does appear to be the case that certain animals are “meant” to be our food, and by participating as players in the food chain, we are fulfilling our role as mother nature intended, whatever that intention may be…

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