Re: virus: Cow

psypher (
Thu, 20 May 1999 23:17:11 -0400 (EDT)

> I have to agree with Roni here, Cypher. Deliberately avoiding the
> essence of a question is grade 7 debating club fare, and a poor
> excuse for dialogue. This is the most effective way to let me know
> that you don't want to hear what I have to say. did I avoid the essence of your question? You asked for a definition of a complex concept, [living organism] and I gave the best one I have at my disposal at present. Right now I'm trying very hard to come to a better definition, looking at the theory behind self-organising systems and autopoiesis, but it's a process. I can't give you a pat and simple answer - I don't know that there is one.

> Also, you started out by insinuating meat eaters are analogous to > rapists

...that's not what I said. Reconstructing from memory, the exchange went like this:

(1)Cows taste good, they have for millions of years. [original statement]
(2)Rape feels good, it has for millions of years. [my response] intention with this was to illustrate that the original statement (1) looked glibly at one aspect of a complex issue and reduced a question of ethical significance to a glib quip. ...the fact that meat tastes good doesn't have anything to do with the ethical questions surrounding the issue of humyn/animal relations. It's a statement of preference.

, yet below you start out with a stance of philosophical

> pragmatism, and end up arguing from aesthetics. Argument for its own
> sake, rather than as a means to an end, is fun for some people. For
> others, it's just a pointless waste of time and energy

...again, I attempted in the best way I know to answer the question you asked. I'll try again.

>>> 2) Identify exactly how far down the food chain of "living
>>> organisms" you go before you cease to bother yourself with the
>>> considerations you grant to cows, and:

...I bother myself at all levels of the "chain of organisms". I acknowledge and accept that I must destroy some living systems in order to maintain the integrity of my own system. This is neither a source of joy or regret to me, it is a simple fact. ...I respect all living systems for the complexity they represent and the intricacy of their function. I try, insofar as I am able to consider the implications of all my actions, again accepting that I can neither predict or control many of the consequences of my acts.

3) Why you draw the line there.

...I haven't figured out where the "line" IS yet, I don't know that I ever will arrive at a fixed distinction. At present, I find the idea of autopoiesis as defined in the work of Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela to be illuminating. I can't give a summary or synopsis, it's a system that's new to me. ...The question of how best to structure my relations to the living systems around me, within the living system in which I am embedded is something I think about a LOT. I find it endlessly complex and fascinating.
...I really am not trying to be argumentative here. If you've perceived my responses as such then all I can ask is that you please take into account the limitations of this medium as a vehicle for debate.


p.s. Please do not address me by a deliberate misspelling of my chosen tag. I don't know why you've chosen to do so, I find it puzzling.

>>...I have to kill to live, an implacable fact. I eat as low on the
>>food chain as is consistent with my material situation [ie. living

> in >urban north america with no present option to alter that 

>>circumstance] and the continuation of my person. I don't demand that
>>cows not be killed [I don't *demand* anything], but I think that
>>blandly consuming a being with a mind without participating directly
>>in the death of that being, getting your hands dirty, as it were, is
>>both thoughtless and disrespectful.
>>...sticking with cows for the moment. A cow is a complex, intricate,
>>wonderful creature. Cows are beautiful, biologically fascinating and
>>rife with significance in the history of the humyn organism.
>>Mechanically raising, slaughtering, packaging and eating creatures
>>with as much integral meaning to our culture, thoughtways, myth-
>>structures and history [in story and analysis], doing so while
>>deliberately distancing ourselves from exactly what that entails, is
>>blind and ignorant [willfully so] and incredibly selfish.
>> want to eat a cow, fine. Take responsibility for your choice.
>>hell, realize that you are MAKING a CHOICE. Raise the cow. Put your
>>own energy and time into the life of this organism. Then participate
>>in the slaughter and butchery, or at least watch. Have respect for
>>what you destroy.
>>[I think I answered point 3 above]
>>> 3) Why you draw the line there.
>>> Thanks,
>>> Dan
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