Holism, reductionism and cultural relativity

It’s strange to think that the idea of everything being interconnected is considered by many scientific thinkers to be a novel, somewhat hypothetical, or even dubious idea. Science hobbles itself with it’s own scientific method, because it must isolate and separate whatever it studies from it’s environment in order to control the study process. And yet nothing in reality is ever separate from it’s environment.

A single cell is one of many, coordinating it’s activity and function within a tissue, and the collective structure and function of these cells is what creates the tissue they are part of. The tissue these cells are a part of, is one of many tissues which interlock and overlap to form an organ. The specific character of these tissues, and the way they interact, is what governs the structure and function of the organ they are a part of. And from here, it is the organisation of many organs, all structurally and functionally interconnected, that creates the human body as a whole. Continue reading

The 4 N’s

I’ve just added the following to my page “Childhood Psychology”, because I feel it provides an insight into the psychological attitudes our society has towards meat-eating, and these beliefs are being blindly conditioned into our children who accept them as facts. I would love to see more discussion and questioning occurring in our society about these beliefs. Are they helpful or healthy to have? How do they affect children and their growing minds? How might they damage our social capacity for empathy, compassion and reasoning?

Using the “4 N’s” to Justify Meat Eating

According to a report published in the behaviour nutrition journal, Appetite, around 90% of meat-eaters use the “four Ns” to justify their diets:

It’s NATURAL i.e. “People have always eaten meat. Why stop now?”
It’s NECESSARY i.e. “Without meat, it’s impossible to get enough protein and other nutrients.”
It’s NORMAL i.e. “Everyone eats meat. I don’t want to be different. I want to fit in and be accepted.”
It’s NICE i.e. “It tastes good!”

‘Necessary’ and ‘Nice’ were the reasons given most often. The researchers conducted six separate studies to find out more about how meat-eaters use the 4 N’s to rationalise their diet, and how their beliefs shape their behaviours. Those who endorsed the four Ns the most strongly showed the following characteristics:

*They tended to objectify (dementalise) animals.

*They included fewer species of animals in their circle of concern or care.

*They were less likely to consider the moral implications of their food choices.

*They showed less concern for moral issues not related to diet, like social inequality.

*They experienced less guilt than people in the study who were felt ambivalent about meat-eating.

*They were less willing to contemplate cutting back on meat consumption in the future.

Patience and Compassion

I’ve been thinking a lot about patience and compassion this week, and experiencing a fresh wave of appreciation for my vegan cousins. When I finally ‘woke up’ at the beginning of 2014 and realised what I had been taking part in as a non-vegan, I was horrified and devastated. It was a trauma that sits right up there alongside some of the most difficult experiences in my life, and I’ve certainly had my share.

Some might think it’s the dietary or lifestyle limitations that make veganism difficult. It isn’t. Those bits are easy. Or at least, they have been for me. It’s the emotional aspects that are hard to cope with at times. The strange experience of first being on one side of the fence, and then being on the other, can be quite disorientating. Being so sure I was ‘right’, feeling sorry for my misguided vegan cousins…. and then suddenly becoming part of their world and seeing myself through their eyes. Continue reading