Why I don’t eat meat differs from why I stopped eating meat, though the reasons overlap in matters of taste. As I mentioned, I lived over half my life since I stopped eating meat and, as you might expect, my reasons changed.
The main reasons for the changes were realizing that I found no objective reason for eating meat or not. I’ve looked and they all turn out subjective. People have suggested lots of reasons for eating meat or not and none of them have been objective either. All reasons boil down to matters of taste and belief.
If people disagree on their reasons, the reasons probably aren’t based in objective truth. People claim their reasons are objective, but I don’t find someone saying they are right as evidence they are right.
I preface my reasons with explanation of years of debate, consideration, and introspection because the clarity and simplicity of my reasons for not eating meat seem to confound people, at least those who like to convince me to change. When I tell them they usually don’t believe me, despite their overwhelming simplicity. I think they don’t believe me because they ask for more explanation, as if I didn’t know my reasons well enough to express them properly.
Like my reasons for stopping, my reasons for not eating meat come in two types: taste and intellectual reasons. Today taste, tomorrow intellectual.
As with my reasons for stopping eating meat, by taste I mean not just flavor, but what one likes or not, as in musical taste. This point is subtle and people forget it, but in everything below, forget about flavor, think about taste as in art or music.
Okay, here’s the big reason:
I don’t like eating meat.
The overwhelming motivation I hear from people who eat meat for why they do is that they like eating meat, end of story. They consider their motivation self-evident, yet the contrary motivation seems unbelievable and they need more explanation.
When I say I like breathing air nobody asks me, “Yes, but why?” You could say you need air to live, but that would miss the point. Anybody can hold their breath any time they like without dying. If you can hold your breath a minute without dying, why do you never hold your breath fifty-five seconds? It’s not because you need to breathe to live because you won’t die in that time. Like me, you really like breathing and you really really don’t like not breathing, even when your life is not at stake.
The reason you breathe the way you do is that you enjoy it. You could breathe differently without any risk to your life, but you don’t. You like it that way. You can eat many ways too. I eat the way I do because I like it that way, just like your breathing. As natural as your breathing habits seem to you, so do my eating habits to me. For that matter, as natural as your eating habits seem to you, so do my eating habits to me. I probably shouldn’t have brought up the breathing analogy because someone will just use it to argue I’m wrong and shouldn’t restrict my diet so much for a reason they don’t accept.
Yet when I say I don’t like eating meat, the reason doesn’t suffice for them. They need more reason. I don’t like needy people, or at least people being needy around me. I don’t know anybody who does, so I don’t know why they show so much neediness around me.
I could tell them about my mother forcing me to chew on the fatty parts of steaks until I gagged, or about how eggs remind me of what I see on the tissue when I blow my nose when I have a bad cold, or that animals seem busy using their bodies themselves, but those details detract from the main point.
I like music. I like keeping in good shape. I like fresh fruit. I don’t like meat.
Simple, isn’t it?
You want me to differentiate my tastes differently? Sorry, I don’t have your tastes. You like what you like and don’t what you don’t. Do you think I should adopt your tastes and lose mine? You think I’m not counting flavor or over-counting fiber or something like that?
Tomorrow: my intellectual reasons.
Follow-up posts on eating:
- Why I don’t eat meat, part 2
- Why I don’t eat meat, non-issues
- Why I don’t eat meat: non-issue1: health
- Why I don’t eat meat: non-issue2: environment
- Why I don’t eat meat: non-issue3: animal rights
- Why I don’t eat meat: non-issue4: animal cruelty
- Why I don’t eat meat: non-issue5: feeling closer to nature
- Why I don’t eat meat: non-issue6: religion
- Why I don’t eat meat: non-issue7: anatomy
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