Cannibalism Explained to a Vegan

Response to Stephanie Digby. Comment dated Jan. 30, 2012

Dear Stephanie,

I agree with your comment that species, described in my book as vegetarian, ate more than plants. They absorbed insects, bacteria, and fecal material as part of the eating process. It was an impossibility for them to clean away all food impurities. Where I differ is your suggestion that vegans don’t eat impurities. Grains, fruits, and vegetables are not free of insects or bacteria. Vegans may not eat impurities in the same quantities today– because we utilize better methods of cleaning and processing food–but eat them they do. Impurities surround us. To think all food is 100% pure is folly. I eat a biblical diet, but God only knows what I have ingested. The thought of eating insects on a camping trip–such as ticks, which are not biblically permitted–is not to my liking. It’s not intentional. I can’t avoid it, but I do accept it.

I respect the beliefs of vegans. But do not overreach with regards to its purity. Only robots can make that claim.

I would bring to your attention our changing universe and its impact on food sources. Earth has changed; Species of animal and vegetable have changed; Food sources and systems of raising animals or farming for vegetables and fruit have changed; Habitats have changed; Inland waters have changed. For example, bass feed on plants, but they also eat insects and crayfish. (Crayfish are a shellfish and therefore not biblically permitted for consumption.) They compete with other fish for the same food in impure waters filled with waste. Pure streams or bodies of water only appear in advertisements. In conclusion, when hungry, in a limited environment, anybody or anything will eat what is available.

The cannibalism I described in my Garden of Eden book is different. I wrote about my vision of an idealistic human spiritual life. Semi-nomadic existence ruled, and survival for these tribesmen meant life was supported by logic, instinct, and back-breaking work. No schools existed. Children faced the same dangers, as their parents: starvation, disease, and injury or death from warfare. They learned everything needed to survive from their parents: harvesting crops, shepherding, and fighting with weapons. I had an overwhelming respect for them.

In this year’s headlines, horrific acts of cannibalism have savaged several victims. The most notable was a homeless person having his face totally disfigured. I would classify eating the face of another person as an act of violence. But there are other forms of cannibalism. Eating the body of another human, when hungry, is an act of desperation. I think of the Chilean sports team members who survived a plane crash and lived in the Andes for months before being found. We know our ancestors from ten of thousands of years ago feasted on their fathers in an act of triumph or as a way to imbibe knowledge. Can we separate that type of cannibalism from desperation or violence?

Were humans vegetarians in the beginning? Probably not. Gathering food, they feared being the hunted. Gathering plants was easy. So was picking up scraps from a dead animal’s carcass. As individuals, we have a short span of time to satisfy our hunger. Watch out. They are billions of other like individuals.


1 Comments

  1. Stephanie Digby

    Just found your response.

    Can’t a biblical diet get out of control when orthodox rabbis minutely examine a stick of celery to make sure there are no mites inhabiting the petiole?

    The world population is out of control which is the basic problem We have gone from 4 billion in the 1970′s to 7 billion in only 40 years. The progression terrifies me. Life spans have extended considerably since the discovery of antibiotics. We are doing interesting genetical selection when people survive to reproductive age despite disorders that used to be terminal.

    I am sure humans and pre-humans were not vegetarians: animal tissue is higher in food value than plants — and even raw may be more digestible (of course then they picked up parasites) — wonder who first decided food might be better cooked — an accident of course. Killing a rabbit or other small animal would have occurred very quickly. And uncooked that would have kept the population down considerably.

    Species of animals, other than domesticated animals, have not so much changed as become extinct.

    I really think that Homo sapiens is a misnomer.

    I did enjoy your book incidentally.



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