If man is left… to his own notions and conduct, he would certainly turn out the most preposterous of human beings. The influence of prejudice, authority… would stifle nature in him and substitute nothing.
Since time immemorial, philosophers have trying their utmost best to find answers to questions that no one seem to be able to answer, no matter how wise or intelligent they may be. One of many such questions are: what is good and evil? What defines good or bad? Is it society? Or is it religion? Or is it something else altogether?
Just a couple hundreds of years ago, it was thought that the Earth was flat and that Galileo Galilee is a conspirator against religion and everything society stands for, thus, he was considered evil. Until a few decades ago, members of the LGBT community were scorned, dreaded and generally considered mentally ill, even evil. Genocide and mass killings of Jewish people were even committed in the name of inferiority during the Second World War. In fact, in some parts of the world, religious leaders (not naming any particular religion but they are somewhere out there and they know it) are still influencing masses to associate Jews with evil, often invoking words like “Zionism”.
The world is changing, progressing towards an unknown future and there is nothing we can do to stop it. Globalization and the invention of the Internet brought forth a virtual world with no boundaries, absolute anonymity and of unlimited potential. With the rise of the Internet, ideas are no longer separated by physical boundaries but could be transmitted to almost everyone (granted you have the means) in the whole wide world through the Internet. Or at least, so you think.
Nothing in the world is absolute, not even the seemingly vast, limitless depths of the World Wide Net. Formulas, algorithms and paid promotions govern what we see and what we don’t. Just moments ago, I liked a video by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and a Facebook page of a vegan group was almost immediately shoved into my face. I’m not a vegan (I can’t live without meat, sorry not sorry) but, just imagine if I was a vegan or at the very least, partially agreed with its ideology behind being vegan.
I would press the ‘like’ button, and soon after, posts concerning veganism will appear in my feed one after the other, and before long, my head will be filled, or even indoctrinated by vegan-related posts. On the other hand, if I didn’t support veganism and something similar happened to me, I would be slightly irritated, and in extreme cases, annoyed with the vegan movement. In that instance, my mind would relate veganism with annoyance, and I will never be able to see veganism in a positive light no matter what happens.
Due to this invisible double-edged systematic bias that exist in the system, there are less and less people who practice moderation and more extremists. You don’t need to be shout ‘Allahu Akhbar’ all the time to be an extremist; Whenever you have an immovable bias against a subject matter, you are already an extremist, a zealot. And when you have two extreme views on a matter, the rights and wrongs blur considerably.
So, by the end of the day, is veganism good or bad? Well, this should be a topic for another day but frankly speaking, why would I care? Just as there are herbivores and carnivores, there is nothing inherently good OR bad with eating meat. The same goes for going vegan. Humans on the other hand, are born omnivores, evident in the way our teeth are designed. There are sharp incisor and canine teeth for cutting through tough meat and fibrous vegetable, as well as molar teeth that crush nuts and soft bones. If you argue about the inhumane treatment of farm animals, inarguably the food industry cuts corners in various aspects (which why I do not like the food industry in the first place), but there is nothing humane either about a pack of lions tearing through a half-dead bison, still fighting in vain for its life while being devoured by hungry predators.
Despite my inexperience, I would like to speak out on behalf of people in the medical field. Most of the time, doctors and surgeons work under extremely stressful conditions, putting up with long, tiring schedules that put our health and quality of life at risk. We may not be the most intelligent, or the people who contribute the most to society, nor geniuses who come up with medical innovations, but I daresay when it comes to emotions and morality, we are the wisest. Like a battle-hardened soldier who has seen death far more than anyone should, doctors too have come face-to-face with death. The tears, the heartaches, the pain, they’ve had more than their share.
And in the face of death, everything else shrivel in comparison. Sometimes, I wonder to myself, how much of me would die inside when I walk away while the patients’ families cry out in pure anguish behind me. When someone has had experiences like that, no philosophical or societal concept carry enough weight to trip them anymore. In fact, some could choose to stop walking altogether, stand still, mindlessly and dutifully carry out their obligations until their dying day. But, I digress.
What I am trying to say is that in the face of death, nothing would seem quite as it once appeared to be. No worldly belief, no matter how righteous they may seem at first, can hold any water against the overwhelmingly sheer weight of death. In the face of death, even the most hardened person becomes physically and emotionally vulnerable.
In the end, there is nothing absolutely right or wrong. Nothing absolutely correct, nothing absolutely evil. The only options that lie before you, right here, right now, is to live a happy, prosperous and fulfilling life, or a short, sad, miserable one.