Consider the Octopus: A Little Boy’s Moving Case against Eating Animals
ANIMAL RIGHTS - VEGETARIANISM, 1 Jun 2015
Disarming wisdom from a tiny-bodied, huge-hearted human animal.
Several months ago, a stirring New Yorker article by Sylvia Killingsworth stopped me dead in my bipedal tracks and made me — a longtime pescaterian aglow with the self-satisfied illusion of siding with “sustainable” seafood — suddenly consider the octopus. What does it really means to sustain creaturely empathy for a being so different from us? More than one of our planet’s most breathtaking creatures, it is a life form a biologist quoted in Killingsworth’s piece believes is “probably the closest we’ll get to meeting an intelligent alien” — and yet, as Killingsworth makes clear, one we murder with such devastating inhumanity that I couldn’t help but cringe at the very thought of having once considered it a favorite food. A food — this exquisite masterwork of evolution, this intelligent alien with an order of consciousness so beyond ours that we can barely begin to grasp its extent with the clumsy and insensitive tentacles of our moral imagination.
But no journalist or biologist or ethicist can hold a candle to a little boy named Luiz and his earnest consideration of the octopus. With incredible clarity and simplicity, this tiny-bodied, huge-hearted human animal makes his case — the very best case there is — against eating other animals:
For a grownup take on expanding our circle of empathy, see Laurel Braitman’s excellent Animal Madness and Jon Mooallem’s Wild Ones, a very different kind of masterwork at the intersection of parenting and interspecies empathy.
Brain Pickings is the brain child of Maria Popova, an interestingness hunter-gatherer and curious mind at large obsessed with combinatorial creativity who also writes for Wired UK and The Atlantic, among others, and is an MIT Futures of Entertainment Fellow. She has gotten occasional help from a handful of guest contributors.
DISCLAIMER: In accordance with title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. TMS has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is TMS endorsed or sponsored by the originator. “GO TO ORIGINAL” links are provided as a convenience to our readers and allow for verification of authenticity. However, as originating pages are often updated by their originating host sites, the versions posted may not match the versions our readers view when clicking the “GO TO ORIGINAL” links. This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
One Response to “Consider the Octopus: A Little Boy’s Moving Case against Eating Animals”
Click here to go to the current weekly digest or pick another article:
ANIMAL RIGHTS - VEGETARIANISM:
- Testing the Line: As Animal Rights Activists Push Legal Boundaries, Canada Considers What Makes a Terrorist
- Tragic End for a Gentle Giant: Elephant Struggles against Its Chains Before It Collapses and Dies at Indian National Park, Prompting Allegations of Neglect
- Annoyed by the Vegan Protestors? Then Imagine This…