Ramblings on a Word – Superiority

Image by Shelly Paul

Superiority – better by way of comparison

To those who claim superiority by not consuming non-vegetarian food, I say, there are no true vegans. Even if you wore a patch of leather, you are not a vegetarian, because leather does not grow on trees, neither does honey, nor silk.

That being said, vegetarians slaughter farmed plants for food, while non-vegetarians slaughter farmed animals and plants for food. Good thing too, because imagine if there was no food diversity and everyone ate just fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes, there wouldn’t be enough food for the teeming billions, even if we eradicated the entire ecosystem from the face of this planet and turned it all into farms.

Homogenous land cultivation is anathema to Mother-nature. It is a process invented by our ancestors’ purposes of easy sustenance, for which we are grateful, because not having to constantly worry about our next meal has freed us from the fear of perennial hunger and has let us evolve in the direction that we have. Still, agriculture can be possible only, by destroying forests and jungles and all the creatures living in them.

Most of us, who live in cities and towns, eat farmed products for basic diet. Nobody is walking into the forest to pick berries or hunt or fish for daily sustenance. So, it would be a little silly to try and claim superiority, simply because someone eats one type of farmed product over another.

Before the days of modern transportation, when trade of perishable goods was not possible at this magnitude, food was local – determined largely by geography. Even today, only a small percentage of humanity enjoys the luxury of international cuisine made possible by global trade, while most of humanity depends on locally grown produce that can be afforded.

Basic cuisine should be a question of healthy nourishment, personal preference or food habits. There are people accustomed to a certain type of cuisine because of family customs or religious beliefs. This becomes their food habit. There are people who have personal preferences for certain types of food over another. Then there could be those, who have to follow a certain diet because of health restrictions. These are the factors that determine personal nourishment. Thus, cuisine should not become a topic of discussion in the determination of inferiority or superiority of human beings.

Should one experience the compulsive urge, to feel superior over another, by way of nourishment or attire or social constructs such as caste, race, economic class or other factionalism, one ought to look within one-self and examine the reasons for the feelings of inferiority.

A well-adjusted person feels neither inferior nor superior to anyone. Such individuals build their identities around themselves, through self-awareness, self-examination, constantly striving against egotism and other character flaws to better themselves.

On the other hand, the maladjusted people, who try to derive their identity from external factors such as caste, skin color, religion, economic class, etc., would be impelled to compare themselves against their fellow-humans, through social hierarchies created by social divisions.

Such individuals would ingratiate themselves with those whom they consider their superiors. They would be willing to grin and bear any ill-treatment resulting from such a lop-sided relationship, bottling up anger and frustration. To correct this imbalance, they would have to drain the festering bitterness, by mistreating those whom they deem as inferior.

This kind of stunted emotional growth, can make a person dysfunctional, consequently making life difficult for themselves and for those around them. In its extreme form, such unmitigated levels of selfishness can be destructive; not just for these individuals, but also for the societies they inhabit, hindering progress for the society at large.

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