Grasshopper Soup: Eat the Great Circle of Life
May 31, 2011
EAT THE GREAT CIRCLE OF LIFE
My vegan friends are a mystery to me. They insist that their veganism is tied to very strong religious beliefs. I remain totally confused by that connection, especially on Memorial Day and Forth of July weekend, when hamburgers and hot dogs reign supreme.
None of my vegan friends has ever been able to explain why they think it is wrong to eat meat or fish based on their belief in reincarnation or eternal life. In a spirit of life without end, a spirit that every life form fully possesses, participates in and will never lose, whatand#8217;s wrong with eating it? In other words, if spiritual truth says life is impossible to kill, why canand#8217;t we kill it and eat it? It confuses the spiritual wisdom right out of me. When they tire of my endless requests for clarification, my vegan friends finally say something I can believe, which is usually, and#8220;Well, we just donand#8217;t eat animals.and#8221; At that point, veganism becomes just another and#8220;ism,and#8221; an arbitrary, absolute (which is a contradiction) bias or opinion like any other. It also shows how talking to people who know what they are talking about can be just like talking to people who donand#8217;t, in a good way of course.
Iand#8217;ve never met a person who has ever demonstrated total consistency between their beliefs and actions, myself included. And, although I do know people who come miraculously close to perfection, I try not to hold it against them. Sadly to say, some of them are relatives or in-laws who died young. I do not know if their veganism was to blame.
To my way of thinking, vegans who believe in reincarnation and eternal life are kind of missing the point. I figure, if the spirit of life never dies (and I agree with my vegan friends that the spirit of life is eternal) eating it canand#8217;t be anything but damn good for you. Veal was once a cute little calf raised by a little girl who won a blue ribbon for grooming it for a nutritious future as my good tasting dinner, although I can no longer afford veal.
Vegans say they donand#8217;t eat anything that had a face with eyes that could look back at you. I draw the line at murder and cannibalism. I believe in moderation and fasting, but wear my carnivore heresy proudly. God told President Obama I could have a health care waiver.
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Iand#8217;ll eat anything kind enough to appear on my grill or plate. Whenever I eat meat I can hear my salmon or chicken say, in a profoundly moving, sincere manner, and#8220;I am more than happy to share myself with you in the Great Circle Of Life.and#8221;
The wholesale abuse and slaughter of chickens, cows or corn (which has ears if not eyes) is different. There is always something that can be done to make harvesting live food more humane. But nothing can be done about the fact that humans, and all animals, eat other animals or live plants. That will never change. Except when we break free of the Circle Of Life once and for all and go to heaven, where we can eat anything we want. If they donand#8217;t serve food, then, and only then, will I become a vegan.
I can understand wanting to be seen or known as a person who worships all life forms; a wise, all-knowing, highly evolved soul who profoundly values the existence of all Godand#8217;s creatures, especially the one in my tummy.
I also understand why Eskimo hunters donand#8217;t allow dogs in the house. Eskimos keep their dogs tied outside all winter, and will eat them if their life depends on it.
A very beautiful, young and strict vegan (true story) left her non-vegan husband soon after they married. Within days of leaving him she started having seizures the doctors couldnand#8217;t explain, and ended up in a wheelchair. I donand#8217;t know if her tragedy was due to protein deficiency or leaving her loving husband, but a prime rib dinner would make her place in The Great Circle Of Life more complete. It might even cure her.
Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, former college instructor and ski instructor. He has a B.A. and an M.A.T. from Gonzaga University. He has lived at Lake Tahoe for 28 years.