Yeah, that's right. I'm a pig-hugger. I'm a fellow cow with a machine gun. One may easily wall off oneself from any continuity of spirit with one's fellow creatures. One may also stick hot pokers in one's eye, or vote Republican, or one of any millions of other proud acts which stand for Numbness. One may even wave a flag with "I AM NUMB" printed on it, with a paisley border and little green stripes running through the middle of it. Whole groups of humans occasionally do this. Pro-Bush rallies, fr'instance.
But the Religion of Numbness also demands that you NOT KNOW. Then, sometimes, when people suddenly KNOW, they go insane. Mostly from sudden SENSATION. Me, I got the Sensation from mocking a herd of cows while walking to work in Boulder one day. "I proclaim to you, Cows, that as your president, I will legislate greener pastures". Ha Ha. Stupid Cows. They all gathered around to look at me, with their beautifully liquid cow eyes (which I once dissected in Pre-Med), and gave me a great gift. An electric moment, which haunted me for years, until I sought escape from this Sensation through vegetarianism. I saw that they were People.
A friend of mine had a similar story — he was cow-tipping while drunk one night. He tipped one over — she woke up — and the look of fear and shock in her eyes mortified him into — yes — bein' a crazy Vegan.
Perhaps the unifying thread here is Personal Contact. Shrink-wrapped cow generally does not communicate the emotional content of their moment of death. If we all had to kill our own cows and pigs — why, vegetarianism would be Normal. Now, I ain't one of them crazy Vegans, no sir. I think they're LUNATICS. I'm what you call a typical, everday Starboard Vegetarian. I only eat Right-Wingers. Lots of Barbecue Sauce, 'cause they taste like crap. But it's hot and it's got calories, and slides right on down into my gullet, where they belong. Mmmm-mmm. Hope that Stranger-in-a-Strange-Land 'Grok' stuff ain't true. Ewwww.
I have often pondered on the humanity of Broccoli. And, until the Star Trek Food Machine shows up, or even a good Mineral Food Vat, I shall happily remain Numb to their pleas. Cry, Broccoli, Cry. Now get in my stomach. Wheeler once suggested that all particles are conscious. Crap. I'm numbing out on that one. Nothing crazier than a Vegan, exceptin' a crazy Particlarian.
Anyhoodle. Byronius, sounding off.