Talking meat… is it right?

In the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy there is a famous clip where in a restaurant at the end of the universe, they find a pig that wants to be eaten.

Basically they get to the restaurant and order their meal, and then the waiter brings the pig out to the table on a trolley, and then the pig says

“Good evening madame and gentlemen, I am the main dish of the day. May I interest you in parts of my body?”

They all look bemused when he carries on by saying

“Something of my shoulder perhaps, brazed in a little white wine sauce”

Arthur then exclaims

“Your shoulder!!!”

to this the pig replies

“Well naturally mine sir, nobody else’s is mine to offer!”

the scene carries on with the pig suggesting different ways in which it could be eaten. After the pig has finished someone exclaims

“You mean this animal actually wants us to eat it”

and Arthur follows this up by saying

“I don’t want to eat an animal that is lying there inviting me to”

he then goes on to say how he thinks it is horrible, before he is replied to with

“It’s better than eating an animal that doesn’t want to be eaten.”

Arthur demands a green salad. The pig seems sad that he has been given the ability of speech, in order to inform the travellers that he wants to be eaten, and yet this very function makes them not want to consume him.

The pig that wants to be eaten from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Arthur Dent from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy sitting next to a pig that has told him that he wants to be eaten

If a pork joint had just been placed in front of him, no doubt Arthur would have eaten it, so why does he refuse to when the animal it is going to come from speaks to him?

I can draw two explanations

  1. The very fact that the pig can talk makes Arthur feel that this is no longer an animal, but it is closer to a human, as it is able to consciously form and respond to sentences
  2. The idea of eating something that has just asked to be eaten turned Arthur’s stomach, so that he couldn’t bring himself to eat the pig, imagine eating it and remembering it talking to you

If we gave animals the ability to speak and then only ate the ones that didn’t mind, or even wanted to be eaten, would that make it any more morally justifiable/right to do so?

Who’s to say the pig hadn’t been told to say that, maybe genetic engineering pre-programmed it to believe that it wanted to be eaten. Is that right?

What’s your opinion of the whole situation of talking meat, is it right? Does it make eating meat any more moral? Do we only prefer it not to talk as it ‘lightens our conciousness’ whilst eating it?

Paradoxes

When looking for a good definition of a paradox in the internet I found this

(logic) a statement that contradicts itself; e.g. I always lie is a paradox because if it is true it must be false

Now I think that sums up what a paradox is quite nicely. Something that cannot logically happen.

It’s the old chicken and the egg thing. Nether can have come first, as the chicken needed to come from the egg, but the egg needed to have been laid by a chicken. Evolution beat the fun out of that though.

Let me give you an example. You cannot go back in time and kill your grandfather before your parent is born. Why is that a paradox? Well as you do, you would only have one parent, and everyone knows that you need two people, both male and female to make a child.

This messes with your head slightly as you would only have one parent, therefore you would never be born, therefore you could not go back to kill your grandfather to stop you being born. Make sense?

Now that’s the general theory of it. But as we can’t time travel, so nobody has actually ever managed to prove or disprove such a theory. What if however, the universe in all its oddness was able to sustain paradoxical events? What if you were able to kill your own grandfather, but in the process you rewrote your own history.

Okay, I am maybe bordering on the realm of science fiction here, but for the purpose of this post let’s assume that paradoxes are sustainable and that we have mastered the ability to time travel.

So if you did go back in time and kill one of the relatives you are a direct descendant of, (not that you would want to) what would happen? The second you killed them would you change there and then? Assuming you wouldn’t fade away, or instantly disappear. Then again is there the possibility you couldn’t kill them?

Time travel being possible, we would probably be jumping through wormholes, and who’s to say we wouldn’t change time, but instead enter a whole new, almost identical reality? Would you really be killing your relative?

Could you change yourself? Like in Doctor Who, actually re-wright your own timestream? You were still born, but just to slightly different parents, with the DNA combination just perfect to make you, or something almost the same as you.

Then again what if (again like in Doctor Who) you had a paradox machine like the TARDIS? If you were able to sustain the paradox (only for a short amount of time before the universe imploded) what would actually happen? Well in theory everything would carry on as normal.

A Paradox TARDIS (From Doctor Who)

A TARDIS converted into a paradox machine

How about a planet, is it possible to destroy your entire planet before your birth? Who knows, as that is all highly theoretical 🙂

Then again, maybe you can only cause a paradoxical event if you mess with your own timestream. So long as you don’t go disrupting your own history, the universe doesn’t mind what you do…

Another great example of a paradox would be teleportation over long distances. Why? Well if you are going to travel several million lightyears away, in less than a single second, then you would get there before you started, relative to your own timestream, if that makes any sense…

Place 1 – ZAP!!! You travel faster than light (and theoretically time itself) so by the time you are there, the light from the new place you have reached won’t reach the old place until thousands of years later, why? As you traveled faster than the speed of light.

Therefore at some point in the future you would be able to see yourself teleporting to the spot millions of lightyears away, hence at some time there is no you at all, whilst at others there is more than one you. But is that really you? If your atoms are being dissembled at one place and then you are being re-assembled at another, possibly out of new atoms, even though genetically identical, is it still you?

That’s another post though, I have a great example of that, it involves a boat and a future article 🙂

Hopefully you have learnt a bit, and hopefully you will have some questions and comments throw at me!

Sustainability

There is an old Cree Indian proverb which goes something like the following:

Only when the last tree has died,
the last river has been poisoned,
the last fish has been caught.
Only then will we realize that money cannot be eaten.

It’s a very true quote, greed is not sustainable. Money enables trade and some say that makes the world a better place. Others say that it encourages greed, which is bad.

You can't eat money
As humans, do you believe that we have a moral right to preserve the planet? Should we attempt to keep ecosystems balanced and share resources between all species, or is it right that we use our inelegance and teamwork to take more than we give?

Climate change is happening, it is only in the early stages at the moment, but it is happening never the less. Is it down to humans, cycles of the earths orbit, or something else, who knows.

Christians believe that we have a responsibility to care for all the creatures of the Earth, and that is why we have been made superior.

What does sustainability say to you? To me it means harmony between all forms of life. It means living peacefully with the environment and not degrading it.

Will man learn the lesson that is sustainability is vital for his existence? Who knows…

Its all down to perception

Epictetus was a very famous Greek philosopher. Below is one of his brilliant quotes, which was centuries ahead of its time.

“Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them.” – Epictetus

Take a moment to relax, and reflect on that quote, men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them.

Tell me if I am wrong, but that implies that everything is simply down to interpretation. If you view something as good, it’s good, similarly if something is terrible, that’s your view.

I recently saw a video from inside a Romanian orphanage. The children had been deprived all their life from any sort of attachment and consequently suffered severe privation.

In the video (without meaning to get too graphic) I saw children sitting on the floor, just sitting there, rocking backwards and forwards, looking completely empty. I also saw children smashing their heads against a wall, just constantly banging, the sign of insanity beyond belief.

Somewhere deep down inside me, something snapped, and I just couldn’t bring myself to watch any more of the video. Pause.

Now that is wrong, without a doubt, that sort of neglect is 100% wrong. However, if we take into account the original quote from Epictetus, then really, that’s just my point of view. To someone else, maybe to a Romanian orphan, that might be perfectly okay.

Even as one with an open philosophical mind, I still can’t bring myself to comprehend how in any possible way, someone could call that right or good.

Maybe a bit of an extreme example, so lets try another.

Say you are in a traffic jam and you are late for somewhere, anywhere, but it’s important. You could interpret the jam as an opportunity to have a rest. Sink into your chair, put the radio on and relax.

A traffic jam

On the other hand you could go ballistic. You could be shouting and screaming and pulling your hair out, as you are going to be late.

This can be applied to what Epictetus said. You can ether let things in life bother you, or you can choose to stay ‘in control’ and just carry on.

Ask yourself this, how do you approach things, do you let things bother you, or do you just sit on by?

In the case of the Romanian orphans, sitting by is probably the worst of the two options, but is it when you are stuck in traffic?

Well then, that quote from Epictetus was certainly a good one, and I am really glad I found it. What is your point of view on it though, is it realistic, are things how they are because that’s how we see them, or is that just how they are? Your views and comments are welcome as always 🙂

Luck and superstitions

I was trawling the Internet recently and I came across the phrase It is bad luck to be superstitious.’ What a silly phrase… Click. Click. Scroll. But then somewhere, whirring in the back of my brain, a little voice shouted: “Hey, that’s not actually a bad idea!”

So it is bad luck to be superstitious, true or false?

I think its true. Why? Well if you are not superstitious, everything is down to science and chance, nothing else. Nothing is down to luck everything is calculated and rational.

But doesn’t that take all the fun out of life? Everything can be explained.
“Oh that massive meteor that was going to hit the earth just missed, that was lucky!” – Person A
“Well actually it was down to the Earths gravitational field not being that of the equivalent field cast by the sun, moon and all nearby planets dust rock et cetera, therefore due to the angle that the meteor was descending at and the gravitational forces acting upon the relative mass of the meteor, then there was no possible way it could enter the atmosphere…”
– Person B

How dull was that!

Superstitious Cartoon JokeLuck is so much more fun, it can twist things around, it can make things seem possible or impossible, it can give you hope, and take it away.

If you believe in superstitious things like don’t walk under ladders, then you walk under one, and a bucket of water falls on your head, was that unlucky/misfortune or was it destined to happen?

What actually is the definition of luck? According to Mr Oxford its

“Success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions”

and according to Mr Cambridge its

“The force that causes things, especially good things, to happen to you by chance and not as a result of your own efforts or abilities”

So its things that happen because of ‘luck’ not of your own making?

Well if you walk under a ladder and something bad happens to you, is that not of your own making? You walked under the ladder, so that isn’t unlucky because of you disobeying a superstitious, but because you walked under the ladder in the first place!

So what have we established? Well if you believe in superstition it is easy to use it as a scapegoat. At the end of the day though, it would seem that most things have a rational explanation which are not necessarily linked to the superstition, or the actions you took to abide by it, or ignore it.

Comments and Questions! Do you believe in luck and are you superstitious? If so or if not why?