Sunday, February 19, 2006

Vegetarianism

I actually was vegetarian before I became a Buddhist. I was interested in Zen Buddhism then, but hadn't started practicing Zen until a couple years after I stopped eating meat.

In 1999, the Makah tribe in Washington State, USA, got legal approval to hunt whales in the tradition of their ancestors. After they successfully hunted and killed a gray whale, I was pretty conflicted about the issue. On one hand, I support of the rights of Native Americans under the treaties that the US government has agreed to. On the other hand, I love sea mammals. I used to have incredibly peaceful and joyful dreams of swimming with whales and dolphins. I had an intuitive sense that the Makahs were on the wrong side of this issue, morally if not legally. But I couldn't justify it in my own mind.

Is all hunting wrong? I don't think so. I imagine that if I were a Makah living without agriculture in the fifteenth century I would join the hunt proudly, and join with my tribe in gratitude to the whale for giving up its life to keep the tribe alive.

But I couldn't shake the idea that this killing was wrong, because none of the Makah in today's society would suffer, even a little, if they didn't kill this whale. And that led me to look at myself. What's the difference between a cow and a whale? I imagine the whale is probably quite a bit smarter, but how exactly do you measure that? And is our intelligence the only thing that makes us valuable as living beings? How do I justify the killing that's done on my behalf?

So I became a vegetarian, as an experiment to see if I could do it and stay healthy. Agriculture provides us with plenty of nutritious food. I have been vegetarian for almost seven years now, without any dietary modifications besides giving up meat. I get plenty of protein from beans, grains, and dairy products, and I'm in great health. And I'm happier with my eating habits.

29 Comments:

At February 19, 2006, Blogger rchinn72 said...

I recently decided to become a vegetarian (It's been about two months now). Not for any one particular reason but for a little bit of each of them. I too, do not think that all HUNTING is bad, but I think that there is no reason to hunt in this world today. Also, I think that in THIS MODERN WORLD using animals for trade and profit has really gone overboard (along with everything else.. like paying to buy clothes that advertise for the company that you're buy clothes from). I simply do not wish to contribute to this.
Sometimes, I wear leather products and if I happen to eat meat accidiently ( ie through by products or whatnot, I'm not going to have a hissy)but I think to be conscious about it is one thing and to be obsessed is another.
I remember the days when I would wander into some burger joint and order a burger. Its one thing to eat a burger and its completely another to kill a cow yourself and then eat it. It's all about respect...
I don't think that I've really addressed anything new here, but I just had some coffee(which is a whole other topic) so please forgive me

 
At February 19, 2006, Blogger karen said...

I became a vegetarian many years ago. I was with my kids, they were very young, they are now 31 and 25. We went to a 4H show and they had the most beautiful caramel colored cow on display. It had the most beautiful long eylashes. All that went through my head was "We eat THOSE". Then I couldn't eat meat anymore. I felt so sorry for the cow. Then I started to investigate how slaughterhouses worked etc. and I was appalled. I would probably be afraid of someone who works in a slaughter house because I can't imagine the work you have to do there not affecting you. The most recent thing I saw was kosher slaughtering practices, I thought these were somehow more humane. They are anything but. The cow is put into a big drum with it's head locked into place. The drum is turned so that the cow is upside down and the rabbi comes out with his knife and slits the cows throat. Then the workers comes out and spins the drum again and releases the cow. The cow is not dead yet and it is crying. Maybe at some point in time very long ago, when people had to hunt for their own food, eating meat was ok. Factory farming is not ok. Sometimes I think if people had to see exactly what happens to these poor animals, they wouldn't want to eat meat either. I have asked people, out of curiosity if they know what does on in a slaughter house and most of them say that they don't even want to think about it. Unfortunately, I do wear leather shoes. When I can I buy cloth shoes. I don't wear any other leather and I try to purchase vegan products when I can. If you do research, you will find that many products we use everyday contain animal by-products. The most surprising one to me was cheese. The cheese is made from milk as everyone knows. But the cheeses that are not marked "pareve" are curdled with the stomach acid of calves. This is a hard subject to deal with because of the way our world is. I think the Native Americans had it right when the would thank the animal for everything the animal had to give to them.

 
At February 19, 2006, Blogger endofthedream said...

Hey Jules, in my 53 years I have visited vegetarianism several times. I was a vegan for four years at one point. I still lean towards a primarily not-animal- flesh diet, partially for health reasons (which is a reason I eat wild salmon regularly). I am too acutely aware of the conditions that non-free-range (organic) animals are raised in to willfully participate in their misery. Having visited some of these facilities, I find it difficult to eat traditionally-raised critters. Those that are free-range are raised far more humanely and live closer-to-normal lives. And that doesn't justify their slaughter either. It just makes it easier for me to rationalize my appetite. :-)

Wrong to kill? I don't know. Before constructing a moral thesis (e.g., killing is wrong) it is useful to note how things are.
What is apparent is that killing happens. Intentional and non-intentional. And has happened since this universe arose. Every day our bodies kill living beings, micro and macro organisms that flourish in our gut. Ones that can cause disease, if our immune system is functioning properly, and...in a word...exterminated (with prejudice). This relative life goes on only at the cost of other lives.

But there is another side to the story which zen and other nondual spiritual traditions point out: the absolute. Here there is no death (or birth), only form-changing. Bodhidharma understood this and revised the precept of not taking life to read "Not nursing a view of extinction is called the precept of not killing." It's too See that nothing dies. Abso-fucking-lutely nothing. Forms come and go. But nothing dies. To hold a view that something enduring "dies," passes away, is to misunderstand reality, to believe that there are persisting entities that arrive, live, and pass out of existence. Nothing could be further from the truth. From those two jokers who brought you the soto zen school:

Tozan: Where are you going?
Sozan: To an unchanging place.
Tozan: If it is unchanging, how can there be any going?
Sozan: Going, too, is unchanging.

Get it? ;-) What we view as comings-and-goings is, at its fundamental Source, UNchanging. But we are built, constructed, and, yes, programmed, as such to view it as changing, as coming-and-going, and all the host of emotions that arise from the belief in "gain" and "loss." But its all a floor show. Very powerful and very convincing. A Grand Illusion. And, once the trick is Seen through, much of its sting evaporates.

Cheers!

 
At February 19, 2006, Blogger aumeye said...

The suffering of animals is the bane of my existence. In fact, there are moments I worry I may not survive it, emotionally. While I do not judge others for eating meat, I could not possibly do so myself. The unfortunate truth, too, is that the meat industry is rife with cruelty, so I do not want to do anything to support it. I eat no meat and wear no animal skins whatsoever. It is the only way I can be happy with myself.

 
At February 19, 2006, Blogger rot-13 said...

rchinn72 said,

Its one thing to eat a burger and its completely another to kill a cow yourself and then eat it.

Um ... how so?

 
At February 19, 2006, Blogger oxeye said...

you can't beat meat.. i haven't eaten it in 25 years but i still miss it. :(

 
At February 19, 2006, Blogger endofthedream said...

aumeye said, regarding the killing of animals, "I do not want to do anything to support it. I eat no meat and wear no animal skins whatsoever. It is the only way I can be happy with myself."

Do you shop at a store that sells animal flesh (or animal skins)? If so you ARE supporting the animal-slaughter industry. Your purchases keep a business afloat and that business buys animal flesh and/or skins.

There is no escaping one's involvement in Totality.

You say it is the only way you can be happy with yourself. Perhaps it is the only way you currently know HOW to be happy with yourself? Maybe there are other ways, even in the midst of the violence, cruelty, barbarism of the relative world?

 
At February 19, 2006, Blogger Jules said...

endofthedream wrote: But there is another side to the story which zen and other nondual spiritual traditions point out: the absolute. Here there is no death (or birth), only form-changing. Bodhidharma understood this and revised the precept of not taking life to read "Not nursing a view of extinction is called the precept of not killing." It's too See that nothing dies.

I think the reality of oneness doesn't negate the reality of separation. Both exist together. If I'm interpreting the teaching correctly, that's what "form is emptiness, emptiness is form" is about. Could be wrong there, though.

"Master, what is the Great Intention of the Buddha-Dharma?"
"Do right, don't do wrong."
"But that's so simple, even a child of three could say that."
"A child of three could say it, but even an old man of eighty has difficulty practicing it."

It's true that we can't live without taking life. But I think we have an obligation to minimize the suffering we cause to other living beings.

Not to get all holier-than-thou on you... over the past six years I've eaten several salmon filets myself. About once a year I find myself in a really nice restaurant with highly skilled chefs and fresh salmon caught less than 24 hours ago. I really, really appreciate that fish.

I try not to draw any really hard lines for myself. No hard edges, nothing is absolutely verboten. Gotta enjoy life, that's really important too. I try to find the path that makes me happiest. For example, I used to smoke about a pack a day. It took me a long time to realize that I really was happier as a non-smoker.

 
At February 20, 2006, Blogger MikeDoe said...

The Dali Lama (?) in a book I have admits that he eats meat on alternate days because he finds his body needs it.

I eat meat as and when I feel the need for it. When I do so I am always conscious of where the meat comes from and I choose to eat meat that looks meaty rather than like little funny shapes.

I also wear leather shoes and wool jumpers. I have a few silk items.

In order to live (Fruitarians aside) we must kill and eat thhings. They may be 'just' trees and plants and mushrooms but we do kill them for our needs.

I am not saying that these things are sentient. Instead I am saying that these things are in essence alive. We take that life away prematurely.

To take a shrink-wrapped cod fillet from the supermarket shelf and cook it is a whole different experience to catching a fish, seeing it struggle and then clubbing, gutting and cooking it.
The fish might consider the difference to be academic.

 
At February 20, 2006, Blogger karen said...

I don't eat meat as I said before, BUT I agree that I do miss a good steak, char grilled. IF there is a heaven, my version of it is a place where you can eat all the sweets, smoke all the cigarettes and drink all the beer you want with no consequence.

 
At February 20, 2006, Blogger aumeye said...

endofthedream ~ you know me not at all. i will not engage in this debate beyond this comment, as i know it might be pointless. i have been here too many times before and it is often an excercise in frustration. i am not sure what point you were hoping to make, or if your goal was to belittle me or make me feel bad. if not, you might want to show more compassion in your expression. if yes, then i congratulate you. and if i misunderstood you, i offer a sincere apology. i am not perfect; i only try. my post passed no judgement on anyone else; i was only sharing a thought about my own efforts to be happy, and to do as little harm as possible. of course, there are other ways i know HOW to be happy with myself; it's just that regarding this problem of the animal/human relationship, contributing to the pain and suffering of animals as little as i can, is vital to my mental and emotional well-being. believe me, i wish i did not feel that way; who wants to feel so bad about something they have so little control over? i will bother to add that i make a concerted effort to avoid shopping at stores whose policies upset me, and to only buy products from companies that do not test on animals etc. again, i am not perfect and it often feels unavoidable to in some way "support" an industry i revile, but i always do my best.

 
At February 20, 2006, Blogger karen said...

aumeye, I think your efforts are not wasted. If not for the little efforts that we make, think what the world would be like. One person can only do so much, but you never know what the ripple effect might be. And if you feel better for doing what you do, then it's all the better. I get very upset when I see deer along side the road, dead. I told a teacher that at one point I actually got out to look at the deer and just feel pity for it. I always ask that these beings be re-born into a higher realm. To my surprise, this teacher, who is not a young man, said that I might want to think about actually having a kind of ceremony to remember their deaths. He said that he does that quite frequently and it's a way of not ignoring sentient beings. Regardless of whether it's any help or not, it can't hurt.

 
At February 20, 2006, Blogger endofthedream said...

Jules ~ regarding oneness and separation...of COURSE they co-exist (the relative IN the absolute, the absolute IN the relative). THAT is exactly the point I was trying to make with aumeye.

While they do coexist, it is useful, perhaps, to discover for one's self, which is Ground, the Source, of the other. While separation -- or, perhaps, better, the appearance of separation -- is a very compelling illusion, it arises out of Totality, not the other way around. The delusion of an ongoing, permanent "self" is also a very compelling story. Close examination will point out its fallacy also.

I wonder if taking life is necessarily suffering. How about compassionate euthenasia (sp?) or "mercy" killings? The ending of a life is not always equated with suffering. Sometimes it is a blessed release.

What appalls me is the brutality of the meat industry: the horrific conditions under which sentient beings are kept in the process of perparing them for slaughter. And yet, behind it all, I recognize the choiceless nature of the entire dance of phenomenality. It's not like anyone has a choice in these (or any) matters.

Regarding the zen story you shared: it may be helpful to realize that there is no "right" or "wrong" in a permanent, abstract kind of way. It is a secure feeling to go around "knowing" what is right and what is wrong, but it is not in accord with What Is. Rightness or Wrongness don't exist independently of time, place, and circumstance and the appropriate ("right") response is born out of the unique and irreplaceable moment, not out of a rule book one follows. (Just like the answer to the Mu koan can vary, depending on the time, place, circumstance and student.)

 
At February 20, 2006, Blogger rchinn72 said...

rot 13- killing something and then eating it is very different than just plain eating it. Don't ya think?

have you ever been at a table with childeren that are eating meat? They really don't make the connection. but take those same kids out back and show them how you have to slaughter a chicken before you make it into a mcnugget and the get a very different perspective.

 
At February 20, 2006, Blogger karen said...

I wonder if when we get to the end of our lives if the zen double talk will have really mattered or if it will have mattered more that we tried our best to harm the least.

 
At February 20, 2006, Blogger me said...

rchinn72 said: I too, do not think that all HUNTING is bad, but I think that there is no reason to hunt in this world today.

Thought I'd add that all of this world isn't 'modern' (a point you seem to agree with) - in the sense that some people actually rely /depend on nature to supply food each year. The state of Alaska for example has lots of folks who don't make a lot of money but eat fairly well because they know how to fish and hunt.

I'll give you an example: there are lots of moose in Alaska. Sometimes they get hit by cars and end up dead on the road. Towns have moose-lists so that folks without lots of money can sign up and get a free moose when it turns up dead on the road. This moose can feed a family lots of moose burgers for a good while. (Just hope your moose is in good shape when your turn comes up!).

Most folks on this blog probably don't live off the wildlife of Alaska, so I thought I'd throw this out there...

 
At February 20, 2006, Blogger rot-13 said...

rchinn72 said,

"rot 13- killing something and then eating it is very different than just plain eating it. Don't ya think?"

No.

I really don't, I'm not being a wiseass.

It doesn't matter to the animal, and morally it doesn't matter to the human eating it.

I'll not fault anyone for being a vegetarian, whether through sentiment, or health, or compassion, or squeamishness, or love, or fear. When Karen describes kosher killing and it breaks her heart, what else is there to be said? Clearly she's doing the right thing in not eating meat.

But for those who do partake, no, I see no difference between killing the beast and hiring someone to do it for you. I don't kill my own cheeseburgers, I don't tailor my own clothes, I don't wrench my own car ... but if any of these things have moral implications, then my own morality is the same whether I do the deed myself or have someone else do it.

 
At February 20, 2006, Blogger K'vitsh said...

Aumeye: I think endofthedream meant (sorry for being presumptious) simply that it's very difficult to completely remove oneself from the "harming animals" process. I didn't sense any disrespect. But that's just me.

Regarding the difference between eating something you buy from the store versus something you kill yourself: I understand that to the animal, the difference is academic (well, as academic as something can be to an animal), however, I see the point being made.

Killing and preparing something yourself makes you responsible for it's death and consumption. You are less likely to take it for granted, you appreciate what's involved in what you're consuming.

Oxeye: "you can't beat meat..."

All I can say is: giggle.

 
At February 20, 2006, Blogger Jules said...

K'vitsh: thanks for saying everything I wanted to say but couldn't find the words for. Well put.

'cept the giggle. Uh, more like a manly chuckle. Yeah.

:-)

 
At February 20, 2006, Blogger Anatman said...

I enjoy eating meat (animals). I also enjoy eating plants. I believe both suffer from trauma when they are prepared for my plate.

I have heard of people that only eat fruits or vegetables that can be harvested without causing harm to the plant. Where does one draw the line in the amount of suffering they knowingly inflict, directly or by association? All must decide for themselves.

We empathize with the lives that remind us the most of ourselves, or that we relate to emotionally. Most people that eat meat would be repulsed at the thought of eating human meat. That is where most human societies draw the line.

However, the cannibals in Papua New Guineau used to eat human meat... but they did not consider it human... It was humans from other tribes... not "real" people. They called the members of other tribes "Long Pig" because they tasted like pork...

A child that has had a pet rabbit would shudder at the thought of eating rabbit meat, but families in Northern Italy consider rabbit to be the same as chicken, and would never keep a rabbit as a pet.

 
At February 20, 2006, Blogger aumeye said...

Karen ~ I promised myself I would not post anything else about this topic, but your responses compel me to at least say a little bit more. First, I was and am so grateful for your input here; it allowed me to smile when feeling hurt. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Your story about the deer also affected me, as I always recite a little prayer to myself whenever I see a dead animal, anywhere. It is my way of (as you mentioned with your teacher) honoring that sentient life. As for plants, yes, they may suffer trauma too, but until they writhe and scream and cry in fear and agony as they are cruelly slaughtered following an often lonely, horrifying existence, I will have to accept that I am making the right choices for myself and for the lives I honor all around me. Peace and Light ~

 
At February 21, 2006, Blogger Jules said...

I could be a gardener without turning my heart cold. But I couldn't kill my dinner every night without turning my heart cold. And paying someone else to do my killing for me would only make it easier to lie to myself.

I think there's a pretty clear distinction between eating plants and eating animals. More of a distinction than there is between eating animals and eating humans.

I saw a great bumper sticker the other day: "Why are some animals friends, and others are food?"

Crap. I hate coming off like a moral crusader. I eat fish once or twice a year. I love the smell of bacon. But I don't miss eating it, too greasy, bleah. Beef doesn't even smell like food, the smell doesn't make me feel hungry anymore. But I enjoy the smell. This is a weird wonderful world we live in. Can't explain it, don't understand it.

My intention is to provoke thought, maybe even inspire someone to give veggie-ness a try on an experimental basis if my words feel a little close to home for someone. But I don't want anyone to feel bad about their diet. Hell, maybe half of you would get sick from protein deficiency if you stopped eating meat, I don't have any idea (I haven't heard of anyone having health problems, quite the contrary in fact, but I really don't know). Just because I don't need anywhere near as much protein as I used to eat doesn't mean everyone can be healthy without it. Someone of Eskimo descent would probably keel over and die without plenty of fat and protein in their diet.

 
At February 21, 2006, Blogger aumeye said...

Whether or not a person agrees with you, as always, Jules, your eloquence and thoughtfulness in your posts, shines. ~

 
At February 21, 2006, Blogger earDRUM said...

I have been a vegetarian for about five years. I feel much better about myself because of it.

I remember seeing a slaughtered cow hanging from my uncle's barn when I was a kid, wondering why he had killed it. Maybe that was the first time I made the connection between "food" and a living animal. I couldn't imagine how my uncle could raise an animal (almost like a pet), by feeding it and taking out to pasture every day... and then, one day, putting a bullet through it's brain... and then carving it up and eating it. This horrified me. And I never forgot it.
After that, I always felt wrong about eating meat. It affected me most when I bought a package of animal flesh at the supermarket and had to handle it in my kitchen. That was when I could see that the chicken muscles I was cutting up for a stirfry looked very much like human muscles. So I ended up avoiding this issue for many years, by eating prepared foods.
But I eventually realized that I was just avoiding the issue.

I had a girlfriend who was vegetarian. So I thought I would give her diet a try. I ate whatever she ate... and enjoyed it so much more. Suddenly that nagging guilt was gone, for the first time. Plant food made me feel "cleaner" somehow. (I always hated animal fats anyway.) She taught me how to balance my diet, by getting enough proteins, carbs, etc. This is very important. Many people "try" vegetaranism and fail, because they eat only salads... end end up getting sick.
I think that if more people knew HOW to eat a plant-based diet, then they would. (Meat is not necessary in our diets. Not at all. Not anywhere.)

Another thing that I realized was that animal products actually make me physically ill... not just sick to my stomach. It was only when I stopped eating meat that I realized that a bunch of mysterious symptoms went away. I suspect that many people are similar.

Eating animals is a huge part of our culture. Try finding a vegan choice in a fast food restaurant! It ain't easy.

Most of our western religious festivals (Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, etc.) involve sacrificing an animal for food.
When we eat animals (and plants too), we should be thankful and aware that a life had to be taken in order for us to live. Every day should be Thanksgiving day.

I read that a Buddhist should avoid causing suffering, and so, should not eat animals intentionally. But if a meal with meat has been prepared, then one should not refuse it.

I own leather shoes. And I play drums that have animal skins. I will use them until they are completely worn out, in order to honour the life of the animal that they were made from.

I feel badly whenever I am invited to a meal, because the host usually has to prepare a special vegetarian meal for me. I mentioned this to my mom. She said that almost every one of her friends now has at least one vegetarian or vegan child. That made me feel better. Things are changing.

I am much healthier now that I am vegan. My doctor said that my cholesteral levels are among the best they had ever seen in her clinic.

I cannot find any arguments for raising animals for food that feel morally right to me. It simply isn't necessary anymore. It is an enormous waste of energy (and valuable plant food). It destroys the environment. It causes heart attacks, strokes, and cancers. The list goes on and on.

I think that everyone who eats meat should be required to take a tour of a beef slaughterhouse, see how chickens and pigs are raised. If this happened, I guarantee that there would be a lot more vegans around.

p.s.
I went to a talk by Howard Lyman a few years ago. He was a 4th generation cattle rancher who became ill because of farming techniques. (He got cancer because of the poisons he was using.) When he miraculously survived surgery, he began devoting his life to making farming safer. The more he looked into it, the more realized that it was wrong. He is compassionate towards farmers.
Here is a link to his site:
http://www.madcowboy.com/

 
At February 21, 2006, Blogger me said...

This is actually a pro-vegetarian joke:

Missionary and a Papua New Guinea tribesman:

MIssionary: "You shouldn't eat people! It's against GOD's wishes"

Tribesman: "If GOD doesn't want us to eat people, then why did he make them out of meat?"

 
At February 21, 2006, Blogger Jules said...

Thanks, aumeye.

me: I read a sci-fi story that expands on that joke. Check it out:

They're made of meat
By Terry Bisson, who says "From OMNI, April 1991. This story, which was a 1991 Nebula nominee, has been appearing around the internet lately without my name attached. Several people were kind enough to alert me, but the truth is I'm more flattered than offended."


"They're made out of meat."

"Meat?"

"Meat. They're made out of meat."

"Meat?"

"There's no doubt about it. We picked several from different parts of the planet, took them aboard our recon vessels, probed them all the way through. They're completely meat."

"That's impossible. What about the radio signals? The messages to the stars."

"They use the radio waves to talk, but the signals don't come from them. The signals come from machines."

"So who made the machines? That's who we want to contact."

"They made the machines. That's what I'm trying to tell you. Meat made the machines."

"That's ridiculous. How can meat make a machine? You're asking me to believe in sentient meat."

"I'm not asking you, I'm telling you. These creatures are the only sentient race in the sector and they're made out of meat."

"Maybe they're like the orfolei. You know, a carbon-based intelligence that goes through a meat stage."

"Nope. They're born meat and they die meat. We studied them for several of their life spans, which didn't take too long. Do you have any idea the life span of meat?"

"Spare me. Okay, maybe they're only part meat. You know, like the weddilei. A meat head with an electron plamsa brain inside."

"Nope. We thought of that, since they do have meat heads like the weddilei. But I told you, we probed them. They're meat all the way through."

"No brain?"

"Oh, there is a brain all right. It's just that the brain is made out of meat!"

"So... what does the thinking?"

"You're not understanding, are you? The brain does the thinking. The meat."

"Thinking meat! You're asking me to believe in thinking meat!"

"Yes, thinking meat! Conscious meat! Loving meat. Dreaming meat. The meat is the whole deal! Are you getting the picture?"

"Omigod. You're serious then. They're made out of meat."

"Finally. Yes, they are indeed made out meat. And they've been trying to get in touch with us for almost a hundred of their years."

"So what does the meat have in mind."

"First it wants to talk to us. Then I imagine it wants to explore the universe, contact other sentients, swap ideas and information. The usual."

"We're supposed to talk to meat?"

"That's the idea. That's the message they're sending out by radio. 'Hello. Anyone out there? Anyone home?' That sort of thing."

"They actually do talk, then. They use words, ideas, concepts?"

"Oh, yes. Except they do it with meat."

"I thought you just told me they used radio."

"They do, but what do you think is on the radio? Meat sounds. You know how when you slap or flap meat it makes a noise? They talk by flapping their meat at each other. They can even sing by squirting air through their meat."

"Omigod. Singing meat. This is altogether too much. So what do you advise?"

"Officially or unofficially?"

"Both."

"Officially, we are required to contact, welcome, and log in any and all sentient races or multibeings in the quadrant, without prejudice, fear, or favor. Unofficially, I advise that we erase the records and forget the whole thing."

"I was hoping you would say that."

"It seems harsh, but there is a limit. Do we really want to make contact with meat?"

"I agree one hundred percent. What's there to say?" `Hello, meat. How's it going?' But will this work? How many planets are we dealing with here?"

"Just one. They can travel to other planets in special meat containers, but they can't live on them. And being meat, they only travel through C-space. which limits them to the speed of light and makes the possibility of their ever making contact pretty slim. Infinitesimal, in fact."

"So we just pretend there's no one home in the universe."

"That's it."

"Cruel. But you said it yourself, who wants to meet meat? And the ones who have been aboard our vessels, the ones you have probed? You're sure they won't remember?"

"They'll be considered crackpots if they do. We went into their heads and smoothed out their meat so that we're just a dream to them."

"A dream to meat! How strangely appropiate, that we should be meat's dream."

"And we can marked this sector unoccupied."

"Good. Agreed, officially and unofficially. Case closed. Any others? Anyone interested on that side of the galaxy?"

"Yes, a rather shy but sweet hydrogen core cluster intelligence in a class nine star in G445 zone. Was in contact two galactic rotation ago, wants to be friendly again."

"They always come around."

"And why not? Imagine how unbearably, how unutterably cold the universe would be if one were all alone."

 
At February 21, 2006, Blogger endofthedream said...

*****I am always amused (and sometimes saddened) when I hear a person assert that she knows what is and what is not GOD'S wishes.


This is actually a pro-vegetarian joke:

Missionary and a Papua New Guinea tribesman:

MIssionary: "You shouldn't eat people! It's against GOD's wishes"

Tribesman: "If GOD doesn't want us to eat people, then why did he make them out of meat?"

 
At February 21, 2006, Blogger me said...

Maybe we should change our blog name to "flapping meat" :)

Great story Jules, thanks!

 
At February 22, 2006, Blogger MikeDoe said...

We are all talking meat.

 

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