Sunday, November 25, 2007

Plastics Or Trees: Hobson's Choice

It's a disposable world and convenience is everything.

With the ban on plastic bags coming into effect in many places, the usage of paper bags would likely increase. Paper bags match the convenience, accessibility, ease-of-storage etc of plastic bags more than bags made of other materials.

Plastic is notoriously difficult to dispose of, as it is non-biodegradable. But should the lives of an extra million innocent trees be sacrificed just because of our inability to exorcise the plastic demon?

Paper comes from trees - so, wouldn't it mean that more trees will have to be cut, to meet the growing demand for paper? Paper bags would also have a tendency to tear and would be spoiled if they get wet.

Which is the lesser evil? There ain't no such thing as a free lunch; to gain something, you must sacrifice something!

1. Use cloth bags instead. <==> But maintaining the bag, keeping it safe etc are just too bugging, right? And in any case, how many should we carry around?
2. Paper is recyclable. <==> So is plastic. The question is whether we really bother.
3. Paper can be made without cutting trees too...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Vegetarian Abortionists

Can a person who is vegetarian (lacto-vegetarian/vegan, the kind who avoids even eggs) by choice, because of moral reasons ("Respect life! Should not kill to eat, doesn't matter how indirectly we may be responsible!"), ever support the cause of abortion?

Is a 'vegetarian abortionist' a perfect oxymoron? If a person does both, should it not be construed/interpreted as hypocrisy? An egg is also like a fetus: if eating an egg kills the bird, the abortion kills the baby. Or is the life of a human not worth the life of a chicken?

Both the issues in question are very much what you may call matters of life and death, and are very similar.

Once we do an "I-choose-to-do-so" and enter a moral high-ground, we have to stay there, and do so consistently on similar things.* Or one has to be prepared to be branded a hypocrite!

* The same lines of reasoning would also hold for those members of the PETA (People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals), if any, who do not help suffering people.

1. Just a logical musing, not a diatribe. I have nothing against vegetarians or anti-abortionists: or even for pro-abortionists or non-vegetarians for that matter! :-) Also, nothing at all if the choice you exercise in what you eat (or do not) is as a victim of circumstance (religion / availability/ income).

2. Not to be interpreted as a case for cannibalism of any kind! :-)

3. I shall not be forced to eat gross things during the course of any argument resulting out of or inspired by this post. At the most, if forced, I will words! ;-)

- Thomas Jay Cubb

Inspired by and dedicated to my dear friend Anup Kesavan.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

You Are What You Say - More!

A few more things that I missed out in the previous post.

A. Coffee-drinking - the next social stigma
I was asked at the dentist's whether I drank a lot of coffee because of some stains on my teeth. The dentist asked this in an apologetic manner. A couple of years ago (or maybe a little more before) it would have been: do you smoke a lot?

Coffee has a lot of stuff going against it - it is intoxicating, odorous, may be harmful, and what's more, popular too! Two decades down the line, the kid next door will say: hey mister, would you please mind not drinking that?

Anything that could possibly give on pleasure must be stigmatized; at least don't do it in public! After coffee, it would be chocolates...

B. Making Fun Not = Having Fun
Constant criticism, even if done by way of casual jokes, does not advance a relationship. We need to accept people as they are; faults are acceptable, let people be. Do not always try to correct.

C. Egalitarian Vegetarianism
Shouldn't vegetarian mean only vegetables/plant-products? After all the term is not non-dead-animal products nor is it non-killed stuff. Some people would choose to define it that way, because otherwise it would mean no milk, no chocolates! Some vegetarians take the "will-not-kill-anything-even-if-to-live" line of reasoning. Well, we have to accept it like you have to have money to make money, only life can sustain life.

D. Religious Intolerance & Smoking
This one is outright biased, opinionated, founded on coincidence, even propagandistic - I have not even checked the facts! :-)

There is growing unrest and intolerance, rising religious tensions, in the world today. Also less tobacco usage. Could the two be linked? The Holy Wars (Crusades) ended after the arrival of tobacco. Being intolerant and rude to smokers is socially acceptable nowadays. If you agree with that, then you must also agree that religious intolerance ought to be acceptable - if you worship your god, it would harm my god!

Oh my god, that was a straw-man argument if ever there was one! What an unashamed attempt at blatant self-justification? "Well, I am right and you are wrong, so you should not do whatever it is you are doing, even if it does you good, because I have a right to protect myself and I believe it is wrong and could harm me. So please stop. STOP IT!"

E. Anachronistic phrases
On a related note (to E. above). Stuff like dialing a number (remember when the phones had rotary dials?), hang up and so on. There were more examples, I can't recall now...maybe in a later post...(I wish!)

- Thomas Jay Cubb

From the cradle to the grave
Go the cowardly and the brave
The good die young, some unsung
While the evil live and thrive
The skull and bones, touch wood,
Might do you good!

Only when a man dies.
Do we realize
There are no why's
All just a roll of the dice.

(untitled, unedited poem... please excuse!)