Complicity And Defiance In Vegetarianism

The difference between complicity and defiance may be illustrated by vegetarianism. One obviously Complicitous strategy is pursued by urban man, that sentimental predator who does not do his own butchering. A less obvious one is the kind of vegetarianism that is based on health. For, whenever they extol the health benefits of their practice, such vegetarians are implying that they would eat meat like a shot if only they considered it healthier. Their vegetarianism is thus merely an instrumental value and not at all related to the Defiance of the person who believes it simply wrong to eat meat, whether or not it makes him healthy, wealthy and wise. The Pythagoreans were actually a variant of this self-regarding vegetarianism, inasmuch as they believed that when we eat animals, we ingest their souls, and that this is bad for us. Presumably they would have made no objection if animal souls worked like vitamins. Wherever the object of ascesis is to enjoy the endorphins it releases, this is similarly mauvais foi.

It is also Complicity with predation when vegetarians insist that their practice is “natural”. This is a violation of the plain meaning of words, and implies that the prime directive is not, in fact, to avoid eating animals but rather to do whatever is natural. Such a vegetarian who becomes better informed about human physiology and evolution might therefore be expected to recant (and eat carrion like our ancestors?).

There is also the vegetarianism that is merely a job requirement for the post of priest or holy man, that is to say, for a parasitic ecological niche. Similarly, there is nothing defiant about vegetarianism justified in terms of ascetic discipline, when the object of that discipline is to become a better predator in other respects, including the acquisition of other goods such as enhanced self-esteem and the right to despise outsiders.

None of this has anything to do with the truly Defiant form of vegetarianism, whereby one simply refuses to be a predator.

Posted on February 15, 2011 at 10:35 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: AGAINST NATURE, Defying The Demiurge

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