I don’t believe in being vegetarian or non-vegetarian, not for religious reasons at least. Most Indians do.
On some days, like Navratras festival, almost nobody eats non-vegetarian or drink alcohol. Those things don’t mean that much to me. I eat and drink not because I am defying anything but just because I can and I do – just as I would do in the normal course of any other day.
I was talking to my brother that I believe in being a good human throughout the year and it doesn’t matter what I eat or drink as long as I don’t harm anybody.
When alone, I started to ponder on that statement – why is that? Just like we kill animals for our benefit, just like we grow trees and cut them for our benefit, we don’t kill other humans for our benefit.
Here’s a fun way to think about it…
We hunted in packs, lived in groups because it was convenient. We were stronger together as a group – against other groups. The societies were small so one group hunted the other group of humans who were only a couple of miles away and as we learned to structure ourselves better, we started to increase the size of our groups. Our familiarity grew from a small pack to a village, to city, states and then countries.
Now we are almost global citizens.
We don’t loot, rape, war upon, and kill our neighboring tribes anymore because the new way works better for us.
Incentives went in one particular direction for millions of years and we evolved to live in a society that is relatively very peaceful.
But we all started as individuals. We just wanted to take care of ourselves, as we do now. But we don’t kill others.
The cynic in me things – if our basic wiring is to worry about just “me”, the real question is:
How can I screw others without screwing myself? Isn’t that always the case?
But it’s not. It’s not that at all. Because the incentives have changed. We are in a world where the more we do for others, the better we serve ourselves.
Just looking for oneself, being mean and stingy is a bad strategy.
The selfish way to live is to live selflessly.