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Thread: Society and the Pragmatic Approach

  1. #1

    Default Society and the Pragmatic Approach

    So, this is a sort of a tangent from a vegetarian thread that I was reading and posting in. The synopsis of many of the posts was that to be considered a vegetarian it requires a 100% commitment without wavering for anything or anyone. If you don't eat meat 99.9% of the time, why can't you be considered a vegetarian? In a post I cynically compared being vegetarian to being a passing student. If to a be a vegetarian you have to be 100% committed to the "rules" of vegetarianism, why don't you have to consistently receive 100% on tests and papers to be considered a passing student? There are grades for students, thus creating a sliding pragmatic scale between failing and passing. Why couldn't there be a sliding scale for vegetarianism?

    This got me to thinking about society in general, why do we feel that a sliding scale is alright for some things such as the definition of a passing student, but not alright for other definitions such as vegetarian?

    What if a person is a car mechanic, but is not 100% dedicated to his job? Can he truly consider himself a car mechanic?

    Does simply being registered a democrat or republican make you a democrat or republican, or must you be 100% unwaveringly committed to those candidates and platform? Could you still be a democrat if you only agree with 80% of their rhetoric?

    Can someone be considered a snowboarder if only 50% of their spare time is dedicated to snowboarding, while the other 50% is dedicated to other things?

    What if someone is only partially dedicated to the aspects AB or DL lifestyle? Can they still be considered AB/DL? What if they like wearing diapers, but don't like using them? Are they truly a DL?

    Why is it okay to be defined as something when you are only 50% dedicated to it in one situation, but not the other? Why does a pragmatic approach work in some situations and not others?

    Any thoughts or other examples?

  2. #2

    Default

    The impression you will get on whether something is binary (black/white) or spectral (black/greys/white) is the result of either the majority's opinion on it, or that of a loud minority. That opinion depends on the intent behind a persona, in this case vegetarian and non-vegetarian.

    Passing as a student is about proving that you possess a sufficient amount of proficiency in one or several fields. No mathematician knows every theorem out there by heart, and, if needed, can pick up knowledge later. Therefore, it is unnecessary to have nothing but perfect grades to be a functioning member of society, which is the intent.

    The intent behind vegetarianism, on the other hand, is quite commonly to gain from its associations; being morally conscious, mindful of the suffering of others, and philosophically enlightened, etc. It's about creating a superior persona - And these advantages are not something you would want to see someone receive without putting in as much work for it as you do! So you narrow the definition. Otherwise, we'd all be good vegetarians. And you know that we can't all be special.

  3. #3

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by Rikachan View Post
    The intent behind vegetarianism, on the other hand, is quite commonly to gain from its associations; being morally conscious, mindful of the suffering of others, and philosophically enlightened, etc. It's about creating a superior persona - And these advantages are not something you would want to see someone receive without putting in as much work for it as you do! So you narrow the definition. Otherwise, we'd all be good vegetarians. And you know that we can't all be special.
    That's a bit cynical, but maybe not completely untrue....

    It depends why you're a vegetarian. If you're doing it for ethical/religious reasons, then you supposed to live up to the principle all the time.
    If you cut out a significant amount of meat from your diet for environmental reasons, or you stop eating red meats for health reasons, then you're not going to be bothered about eating some meat on a regular basis, as long as it's not very often - e.g. you could be vegetarian for most of the week, except for a Sunday roast.

    You can apply this in other areas of labelling: the % of conformity to the labelling criteria depend on how important each of the criteria are, how many of them there are, and how big an expectation of consistency people have of things bearing that label.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by I can't remember the author
    Nothing is simply black and white.
    I think this is relevant.

  5. #5

    Default

    You are being caught-up on tiltles. Society teaches us to define ourselves with titles or definitions. Relax and be yourself. Disregarding being labeled or living up to a label will free anyone to persue who they really are. Define yourself.

  6. #6

    Default

    With vegetarianism it's probably relates to why you ate the meat. If you eat meat three times a year because, although you believe eating meat is always wrong, you had a weak moment and bought a burger... then I'd say you're a proper vegetarian.
    On the other hand, if you eat meat three times a year because you believe that it's okay to eat meat three times a year, then you're not a vegetarian proper.

    Not that any of it really matters. People seem to get a sick pleasure out of telling others that they aren't a proper vegetarian/Christian/liberal/musician/anything. Labels are just supposed to make describing yourself and what you do easier. The second a label becomes up for debate, it's time to just explain what exactly you mean. Arguing about whether a certain label applies to a certain person is probably the least useful way to spend any amount of time.

  7. #7
    StefanHasDiapees

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by Rikachan View Post
    ...The intent behind vegetarianism...; being morally conscious, mindful of the suffering of others, and philosophically enlightened, etc. It's about creating a superior persona - And these advantages are not something you would want to see someone receive without putting in as much work for it as you do!
    Good grief... you are pinning some very broad and advanced principles on what is essentially simply a decision to not eat meat. See, this kind of thing is why non-sproutheads ('sprouthead' being what I called myself when I abandoned meat for a while in my teens) get all uppity and in-your-face about vegetarians; there is a tendency of them to spout this kind of superior, almost holy, attitude about a simple eating decision. Superior persona?? Seriously? Vegetarians are 'superior' to meat-eaters like Jesus, Abraham Lincoln, and the Pope?

    As a meat eater and former sprouthead, I totally disagree that a non-meat eater is either more morally conscious or philosophically enlightened than the rest of us.

    Humans eat meat for a reason. Our brains are bigger than other animals partly because we started eating meat, which gave such superior fats and proteins over grain and fruits that our bodies had more food energy to spend on having a bigger brain (this is not just made up; as reference, see the latest issue of National Geographic and the article in Harpers Magazine a few months ago; it's pretty established that meat is a major reason we got bigger brains).

    This is NOT to say I think vegetarians or whatever flavour of it one is (vegan, fruitarian, etc.) are dumber than meat eaters, obviously; choosing to not eat meat in one's single lifetime won't affect brain size or function (you already have the big brain you inherited from your meat-eating ancestors).

    As for morals or being mindful of the suffering of others, lots (LOTS) of meat eaters, believe it or not, are very moral beings who love animals. We just also understand they taste damned good. Even the bible (just mentioning it as a reference, I'm non-religious) has it there in black and white; we are meant to eat beasts.

    And for the philosophically enlightened part, well, come on. I'm pretty sure I understand my readings of Schopenhauer, Lichtenstein, Plato and Hobbes as well as the meatless, and I'd find it incredibly insulting if a vegetarian assumed himself to either understand philosophy, the subject's writers, or think his personal 'level' of enlightenment to be better than mine, simply because he doesn't eat meat.

    Besides, in my experience, most vegetarians avoid meat only because it grosses them out; the whole moral superiority aspect is a dodge, a pretty and self-aggrandizing way of explaining that they are grossed out by a chunk of bleeding flesh sitting on their plate. Being grossed out by meat is a perfectly valid and logical and understandable reason for being a vegetarian.

    The only thing I agree with Vegans on is that animals are indeed treated like garbage in today's system. That's why I buy my meat from a local butcher who I know. I refuse to buy ground beef that's travelled across the country from a massive central processor; that's just begging to get poisoned... but as for meat my Uncle kills or my neighbour farmer raises, I'll eat all the steaks I feel I want.

    I'll never forget my vegan friend smacking a mosquito dead that was sucking on his blood. Insects are not much dumber than your average cow, but even for Vegans, there are SOME animals they kill with wild abandon. Seems kinda contradictory of them to follow that up by berating me for eating a burger.

    This implied (or overtly stated) moral and philosophical superiority vegetarians spout really grates on the rest of us for many good reasons.

    Folks who don't want to eat meat are not superior in any way. They just have less choice at the supermarket.
    Last edited by StefanHasDiapees; 07-Jul-2012 at 07:11. Reason: clarification

  8. #8

    Default

    There are some categories in which you can't be "half-pregnant", but generally speaking most everything is on some kind of spectrum. Things that exist in true binary states are the small minority.

  9. #9

    Default

    ..generally speaking, i draw the line of caring about an animal to only include vertebrates with the sole exception of cephelapodic molluscs, but thats the only one of its type.

    i have no qualms knocking off invertebrates,

    ive gained a repuaion / nickname of doctor death since my honours thesis is specifically submerging marine invertebrates in copper sulfate solution of vaying levels to see how well a species can withstand it,

    and even those who survive are kept and killed b placing in ethanol for identification/ archiving.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by StefanHasDiapees View Post
    Insects are not much dumber than your average cow, but even for Vegans, there are SOME animals they kill with wild abandon.
    Cattle definitely have a more developed nervous system than insects.

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