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23.6.16

It's A Dog's Life

There are surprising things to be learned everywhere and in everything.  The key to learning is to look at it all from as many different perspectives as you can imagine.  I believe there is a solution to every problem.  If you cannot find a solution, it is because you haven't looked at the problem from the proper angle.  You must throw out assumptions and examine all possible causes.  You must roll a problem over and look at the sides no one else has considered.  And while this sounds easy, even obvious, it's not, or else everyone would be doing it.

Finding a solution is only a fraction of the battle, though.  Once you've found the solution, especially by unconventional means, you have the new and even less enviable task of convincing others to follow you.

We are limited by our languages.  Trying to teach an Indonesian about fine wines is very difficult, because the language has only one word - rasa - for both the act of smelling and the act of tasting.  However, trying to teach an American to completely integrate the two is just as impossible, even though as kids we all know that holding you nose while eating something disagreeable reduces the experience of the flavor.

Even more difficult is teaching someone to roll a problem around in their head and examine it from different angles.  It is quite amazing how few people can do this, even though it is a learnable skill.  It is very difficult for most people to fill in the parts of something that they cannot experience with their senses and create a 3-D model in their heads that they can manipulate.

Here's a really fine example.  Lately, there's been a lot of hew and cry in Western media about the annual Chinese dog meat festival.  Just to be clear, this is NOT meat for dogs, but rather dogs AS meat.

To the average American, this seems abhorrent.  How dare those nasty Chinese eat dogs?  They must be crazy.  Bomb them!

In reality, Americans are prejudiced by the fact that they have vast amounts of range land where huge herds of cows can roam and create a massive industry for cow meat that Americans take for granted. How many folks would freak out if they walked into a grocery store and there was no meat counter stacked with piles of delicious beef waiting for them?

Now, expand your mind a bit.  Take a fraction of the space available in the US, fill it with more than a billion hungry people who also like red meat, but don't have vast ranches full of Angus cows waiting to be eaten?  What animal with red meat is small enough to raise on tiny plots of land, even a porch, provides a number of services, like eating left-overs, and can fill the dinner pot a couple of times over with one carcass?  Hey!  Dogs!

Frankly, dog meat is pretty good.  A bit chewy, but tastes just like chick...er, red meat.

The people hollering about this are culturally isolated and insensitive to the various unique issues of feeding a billion folks with limited land resources.  They haven't looked at the issue from all sides, especially the sides they don't usually see.

And for those who are screaming because dogs are pets?  Well, I grew up on a farm in Texas and I had cows, sheep and horses for pets, and they are still delicious.  So what?  Your dog is a pet.  Other dogs are dinner.  Get over it.

And for the veggie folks who think eating animals is cruel?  That's only because your cultural prejudices make you think plants don't suffer and scream and die like all other life on Earth.  You eat the reproductive organs, lungs, bones and bodies.  Just because plants don't react like you doesn't mean a thing - except that you are insensitive to things you don't understand or consider important.

There is nothing different between the Yulin Dog Meat Festival and the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo chili cook-off, except maybe a bunch of drunk, armed cowboys that would get a tad upset if a bunch of Hollywood numbnuts tried to free their cows.

Life and learning is all about seeing things from other points of view.  That is true tolerance, ture genius and true art.

Try it sometime.  You'll like it.

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