It takes a killing heart to get done what needs doing in this world.
That’s no secret.
My wife is a clean-eating vegan.
I am yet an omnivore.
Nor am I likely to leave off eating my fellow creatures. I understand the objections to it, I really do. They make a kind of sense, and there is no doubt the intention behind that decision is a good one, a truly enlightened attempt to keep some of the suffering at bay.
I guess that I just don’t think keeping the suffering at bay is my path. I don’t want to indulge in it, or bring about more than is necessary, but for me I feel I have to engage in it. Wade into it. Lean into it.
We are inextricably bound to flesh, and death is what flesh is made of.
We are so deeply flawed. Our consciousness is so spanking new, from an evolutionary standpoint, that it is still in its infancy. Our understanding is provisional, our provisions but few.
It gives me a sense of the futility of any good act. I spend my professional life wading hip deep into the fast moving waters of human stupidity and vileness, but I’m under no illusions that what I do matters in the big scheme of things. I have some small, intimate moments of grace, but they are, even on my tiny scale, easily and regularly overwhelmed by failure, despair, and rottenness. It doesn’t excuse me from the need to keep doing what I can, but it is important, I believe, to keep that knowledge close at hand.
Maybe in a thousand years we’ll have grown up a little.
But I doubt it.
My guess is that we are pretty much the same as we were two or three hundred thousand years ago, and not much different from how we were two or three million years ago. Screaming, hitting each other with stones and pointed sticks, stealing meat from our friends when no one was looking, fucking anyone we could hold down long enough to complete the act, lying our asses off, blaming others, running away.
And, yes, grooming each other, picking off ticks and fleas, tending wounds, giving water, bouncing babies on our knees, throwing ourselves in the path of onrushing Mastodons to save our crippled brothers.
So, I cook dead animals over a fire and eat them.
The taste delicious, and I am grateful to them for what I have taken from them. I know they mind. I know they are not going to slaughter with glad hearts.
I eat them anyway.
If there is a way to get through this life without blood on my hands I lost it long ago.