Friday, October 30, 2015

Travel is Fatal to Prejudice, Bigotry and Narrow-mindedness

The more I live, the more I'm learning that I don't want to settle down in any one place for the rest of my life. Curiosity overwhelms me, and perhaps after I take one complete, leisurely lap around the planet then I'll be more content with my understanding of the world and more able to find one place that satisfies me for the long term.

I'm driven in part by the truth in this quote from Mark Twain:

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”

I desire to have "broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things". I believe the world would be a better, more peaceful place if more of us, especially us Americans with our big stick, used travel as a means to better understand our fellow man.

None of us chooses where we are born, and yet we almost entirely ascribe lofty patriotic ideals upon whatever happens to be the nation of our birth. It's called brainwashing and it's usually not meant with ill intent, unless you happened to live in Korea north of the 38th parallel after WWII. But all nations use propaganda to encourage patriotism among their people and it's important for all of us to understand that and seek different perspectives.

Soon I will become a homeless traveler, owning nothing more than that which I can carry on my back. At age 45 it feels like I'm beginning the second half of my life and I feel prepared. I was given a good (for its time) formal education and have augmented that with many more personal studies of my own. I have some wisdom and I have some money and I have many questions.

I'm ready to go.

Early Thoughts On Veganism

Last year in October I went hunting for the first time ever and killed a few pheasants. I've eaten meat my whole life and no doubt have countless objects in my possession that include animal product of some sort in them. As hunters like to say, hunting (for food, not trophies) is a more honest way to eat meat than buying it wrapped in plastic in a store.

But it occurred to me the other day that we as humans (at least in developed nations) now possess the knowledge to grow and eat healthy foods without killing other animals.

And I know we have incisors which historically have been used for tearing meat from the bone. That makes complete sense because historically that's what humans did.

In my personal journey through life I'm beginning to wonder if "because it tastes good" or "because my ancestors did it" are valid reasons anymore to take the life of another living being. And after watching the film "Cowspiracy" on Netflix the other day it sure seems like raising cattle and the clear-cutting of rain forests in order to do more of it is a huge contributor to global warming.

Those are my current thoughts. Soon I'll be traveling to Argentina where they love beef more than any other nation on the planet. Right now I probably eat beef once or twice a month. Dairy (ice cream) and eggs, though, I eat multiple times per week.

I'm not sure where this will lead for me, but I just wanted to record my thoughts as of now.