How I became an ex-vegetarian. My wife informed me that she was pregnant with our third child. The vegetarian lifestyle I wanted to live up to, already rejected by our toddler age kids, was becoming nutritionally untenable for my wife, who struggled with anemia before knowledge of about the baby. For myself, being vegetarian was more of a thought experiment than a deeply felt choice. I had recently come to understand the most important law of the universe for self conscious beings. The law of morality. Do not create suffering for sentient beings that nature has not already provided. In a universe teeming with consciousness, or sentience, there was no way to rationalize eating meat. I challenge anyone to think their way out of this understanding. There are many excuses, but none that honorably permit one to be a carnist without causing unnecessary suffering. I didn’t eat meat for 10 months. I was fine. I could do it.
The greatest potentiality known in the universe
On news of the unexpected pregnancy it dawned on me that the little fetus had more spiritual worth than every animal I’d ever eaten or will ever eat. New human life is the greatest potentiality known in the universe. While all sentients have some aspect of the divine (the mystery of life itself), it is only humans that are “made in God’s image.” We are self conscious. It is not empirically known if the universe itself (or “God”) is self conscious in the way we are. It is not unreasonable to conclude that we are the manifestation of the universe’s self awareness.
I had non aggressively argued for vegetarianism with Christians and Libertarians. Why wouldn’t Christian’s take a more objective and biological view of morality? Why wouldn’t most Ancaps include animals in the NAP? We don’t need meat to survive. I had proved that to myself. I actually had hoped someone would provide a way out of this thought experiment. I believe it is grave if one is consciously aware they are acting immorally and they continue to do so. I hoped the great Jordan Peterson would provide a moral escape from the thought experiment. Yet His carnist rationale was unusually flimsy.
Life intervened. Family is more important than a symbolic, ethical statement on how one eats. We have found ourselves in a situation where we need to lower entropy–simplify our lives as much as possible. The kids eat meat and they can make an ethical choice when they grow up (they rejected most of the vegetarian substitutes). My wife feels she needs to eat meat while pregnant to feel better as she has been quite sick. We shouldn’t be cooking different meals for everyone in our new situation (we were). I will still strive for vegetarianism, but family needs must take precedence over it.
So that’s it. I wanted out of the vegetarian thought experiment. The universe intervened in only the way the universe can. Is it wrong to eat meat? Yes. On the spectrum of morality, especially when stewarding new life into this world, my family comes even before the suffering of animals. With this gnosis, I do continue to make an effort to eat less meat even as an ex-vegetarian. But household consensus wins, and that’s as it should be.