Monday, July 15, 2013

Spiritual Tension

You can see a small splash of her life's blood beneath her eye if you look closely.

Somewhere on the planet something like this is happening. It does little good to pretend otherwise. Indeed some apex hunter somewhere is taking prey at this very moment. I do not have a hunter's instinct. I tend to see the kill from the prey's viewpoint and I have never been able to believe that they just willingly give themselves in some final service, cute cat cubs nearby or no. I believe the terror and resistance of the prey flavors the meat, probably why cats play with their food sometimes and all predators take their time when they can. The meat is "sweeter" that way.

Wherever the language of predator and prey fit, like in war or business or politics or even sometimes religion, the same dynamic also exists. It is one version of what we call game or entertainment. Back behind it, life eats life.

Many spiritual paths, especially Buddhist ones, emphasize the interconnectedness of life, how in some real way we are all intimately related, man to amoeba. One of those relationships is food. When native peoples hunt, they often apologize to the prey species if not the pray herself. Those that do this practice at their best are tenderly aware that they owe an amends no matter they must eat. They know their position is at risk of being deeply unforgivable spiritually. I am not the only one who feels this way then.

And I have a constant spiritual tension. I know this. I know I am a life eater. I love animal protein but to me it really extends to plants as well. All killing is regrettable at the soul level and deserves at least some small token of redress. If you are okay otherwise, I suspect you have been well instructed to avoid useless fretting, no matter the cost. Kill all the food. Let God sort it out. This is overwhelmingly common. Our modern life is constructed so that it is easy to say meat comes ready to cook in special packaging. You do not have to look your creature in her last shining eye and crush her throat anyway, relishing the heat, the aroma, the feel of her life's blood, all the while she hating this moment in her deep places with every instinct of evasion.

The Fleas Are Leaving

I'm all aquiver
because I know you're stalking
me through my dry bush,
my Serengeti.
Even the fleas jump off my
sleek and tawny pelt,
preferring weedy
respite over laid out prey.
It must be awful
to leap from a death
to a killer and make do
with predator's blood.

‎July ‎15, ‎2013 9:01


  1. It isn't pretty by any means, but you have put your finger on one of our greatest dilemmas. And it bloody well hurts! There will come a time, I suspect, when we will have a heavy price to pay. That price will not be for what we have done, so much as choosing to be in a state of denial for what we have done.

    1. I don't think I am in a state of denial. I think I am in a state of duplicity. I honestly don't know which is worse in any sense of worse. I love a good rib eye steak but doubt I would ever rip off a hunk of live cow for it or actually kill the cow. At the least I know that would not make it better eating. Not for me.

  2. I do believe we should have a greater respect for where our food comes from. I hate that pain might make it sweeter, and I think I beg to differ, although not knowing much. I do know that stress hormones in cows, brought on by slaughter, are present in the meat we eat. If those are sweet, then I must be downright tasty!!!!

    1. You are not that kind of predator. I would not expect the prey's terror to sweeten your meat. Humans have never been exclusively meat eating solo hunters. I don't really know. I was just speculating that for cats (big and little) that might be true. Otherwise why play with your food as house cats often do? It's a totally rigged game. Where's the fun? It's in the eating. Why? Because the meat is really sweeter. If I denied that it would be because I don't like to think of my cat that way. On the other hand it might be for some other pleasure. I don't think I've seen many cats be very extravagant in most ways not directly connected to their satisfaction. Playing for the fun of it is right on the edge when it is a critter they will be eating soon. Getting a good result is so much more likely in my opinion.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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