only good can happen through respect for others and the world around you. when we start drawing lines, then that is usually to support a non-respect or disrespectful action. there is the larger question of using animals as a food-source. but then it goes down to wondering if carrots have feelings, too. and we are back at square one. in n. korea, a man became so hungry that he dug up the bodies of children and ate them. so the government put him in front of a firing squad and shot him dead. but it is the actions of that government that left him and many others, hungry in the first place. yet it is the actions of OUR nation by imposing sanctions, that also contributed to that nation’s hunger. to that man’s hunger. we are fed and have pets that we also feed. we have animals that are used for food. my grandmother gave the explanation that those animals are raised for that purpose, and that is the difference. we could just as easily raise other humans for food, and say the same thing.
so how do we reconcile NOT having differences? is there a difference between man and animal? is that difference the “soul.” so instead of drawing the lines, we cross the lines….saying yea, dogs and cats — and other pets — have ‘souls.’ does that jeopardize our way of life? yes. but can we have a respect for all other life and ourselves? yes. is saying we don’t eat animals but we can eat plants …is that just drawing another line? yes. and so we have guilt that comes to play within the aspects of survival of the self. man is able to feel guilty, guilt–shame, and regret. we see how one thing effects another, and within that, find responsibility.
when advocates push to ban third world countries from eating dogs, do they have a right to do that? when they themselves experience bounty and so dogs become part of the human-family and seen to have “souls.” do they have a right to categorize eating dogs as wrong simply because they themselves are better-fed?
should we then have guilt for nothing eaten? where does integrity come into play. power and guilt. illusions of freedom and illusions of choice. animals having or not having souls, is the historical brace that promotes human culture itself. that brace has been eroded away in large part by animated film that shows the non-reality of “what if animals could speak?” so that seed planted hundred years or so ago is coming to fruition. can we have our cake and eat it, too?
if animals are not “special”….what is it that makes man special? traditionally all that guilt was lumped under man having a soul. all those differences were drawn within a “them” and “us.” and within that we wove the ability for man to also go to hell. IF we abandon all these historical understandings, how will we ever be able to eat anything ever again? what is the symbolism of SHARED food…is it sharing the guilt? collective guilt and collective harvest. a hatred of hunger itself. a hatred of the body that is a PART of its environment, not just set down inside of it.
we collectively have agreed that pets are part of the family and so then are creatures with soul. but we can’t decide that without in some part, deciding that all creatures have soul. the spark of life. not what makes them different than man, but what makes them similar. so belief in those separations, (that only man has a soul) –it is the belief that has a big role to play here.
what should we do? a free-range chicken is just as dead on your plate as a caged one. hate to break that news to you. if are going to separate things and draw lines in that fashion, then should only be eating animals after they die a natural death. that would be the more logical step. so sorting through all the new lines once a line is crossed, is very difficult. it not only leaves US confused, it leaves the generations to follow in an even worse state of confusion. mommy, is old yeller going to heaven?
well maybe yes and maybe no. but if i don’t see him in hell, his chances are looking pretty good.
what should we believe? in this season where thanksgiving will be here soon, and we celebrate being thankful by eating great amounts in a tradition of joy over having. i would suggest that it’s not about being thankful for what you “have.” after all, none of us are taking it with us. being thankful is a way of life, and if only a soul can be thankful…..then maybe we are going to need to extend the definition of soul to include animals. because they are thankful for comfort just like us.
and in the end it’s not how much you endure. it’s not the decisions we make or the paths gleefully widened. is it about the pursuit of happiness? maybe the pursuit of honor. it’s about finding the soul within yourself, and sharing that as much as possible. it’s about understanding that life is infused with guilt. but we don’t have to take that guilt with us.
no, i don’t believe animals have souls. i believe we give them soul and are mesmerized by our own reflections. but “having” a soul doesn’t make man necessarily better. it just means there is an accountability to power. whether we live or die, or die to live forever….is about watching another person sleep, and in your heart saying “amen.” because good enough, is good enough.
some day i will have a better answer. but for now, maybe would say that a soul might not be the part of us that goes on. it may well be the part that stays behind.