Some decisions we make are the result of disgust. The example of stopping eating meat or drinking alcohol is one of them. Seeing an animal suffer because it is raised for its meat is reason enough to stop eating its flesh. Seeing a loved one destroy their life because of alcohol is also a great motivator to stop drinking alcohol. However, should disgust with the extreme deter us from the middle ground?
Thinking Through The Extreme Is A Good Way To Make A Choice
One way to know whether something is good or not is to proceed by reasoning in the extreme. For example, is drinking soda good? You could imagine that you only drink soda and no other beverages. What consequences will you get? You will probably develop diabetes or at least be obese. If you reason by the extreme, you can see that drinking soda is not good. Now, what about drinking only water, with every meal and every craving? Well, we won’t have any problem, on the contrary, water has no adverse effects.
The Taoists say that wisdom is in the middle. In some cases they are right, and I would say in most cases they are right. But some ideas cannot be satisfied with the middle ground, or they will be destroyed. So, you cannot be between the truth and the lie, either you are in the truth or in the lie. The gradient between the truth and the lie is still the lie. Some values have a dimension of absolute and they are not satisfied with compromise. The middle ground is good when we are looking for a balance but not when we are looking for an absolute most of the time.
Reasoning By The Extreme For Meat And Alcohol
We can start by reasoning by the extreme concerning meat and alcohol. What happens if the whole world starts eating meat at every meal? There won’t be enough animals to go around and the world’s resources will be depleted (meat production has a high carbon impact). Also, people will start to develop cardiovascular diseases. So we can think that meat consumption is not good for humans and the planet. Alcohol follows the same logic. If we only drink alcohol, we will most certainly die prematurely.
Is There A Moral Middle Ground In The Consumption Of Alcohol And Meat?
Meat consumption is based on the carnist paradigm, that is, the belief that meat is necessary for survival and that the superiority of humans over animals (speciesist belief) justifies this consumption. Eating meat is not neutral, even if it can be qualified as “normal” in view of the number of carnist people and the overwhelming majority of traditional cultures that have integrated this culinary practice. In my opinion, the end of meat consumption is a civilizational advance. One can hardly define oneself as belonging to a mature civilization if one continues to consume sentient and vulnerable beings. Civilization has progressed by its capacity to defend the weakest. Barbarity is the opposite, the law of the strongest, the law of the jungle.
The Argument Of The Infinitesimal Dose (Poison Etc.), The Dose Of Rupture
One can argue that everything is a question of measure and take up the Taoist idea of the golden mean. In my opinion, consumption is an absolute moral argument as is truth. One is either a carnist or one is not, there is no middle ground.
Meat: Unnecessary Aggressiveness
Meat makes you more aggressive, that’s a fact. Try it if you doubt it. Compare the people you know, in your entourage there is a vegetarian and a non-vegetarian. You will notice that vegetarians and vegans are generally calmer than others. This is probably because they receive less testosterone than others.
What To Remember?
– Thinking in extreme ways can help you evaluate your choices
– Absolute values need choices that involve thinking in an absolutist way
– Relative values can be satisfied with thinking about a midpoint
– You eat meat because you have unknowingly integrated a carnist paradigm (education, environment, mass culture etc.)