This is one of the wide-spread misunderstandings to correct: It’s not that you live as you desire, but you desire as the way you live. Same goes with love; it’s not that you spend time with whom you love, but you love those whom you spend time with. Here, the cause and effect relation is reversed completely. So, if you want to change the way you desire or the way you love, you need to reconsider what comes first.
I’m starting this post with those quotes above, to explain my thoughts of the relation between the taste and the rationalisation. It started with a simple question: why do you want to be a vegan? I’ve been a vegetarian for years now, but being a vegetarian came to me in a natural path, just as the process of being a grown-up. I don’t like the texture and smell of meat, just as some people disgust the smell of rotten fish. Many people had asked me why I chose to become a vegetarian back days, biased that I’d respond with an environment- or animal-friendly discourse. That wasn’t true, until now that one might ask me why I want to become a vegan. I didn’t choose to be a vegetarian ideologically, but yes, I chose to be a vegan for ideological reason; now comes those environment- or animal-friendly, or health related discourse.
Then another question followed: why do you need to justify and rationalise your choice to be a vegan? Does that mean it isn’t natural? This question got me to think about the basic premise that dominates our modern way of thinking; the divorce between taste (emotion) and rationalisation/justification (reason). Simply I could have answered “because I want to”, but it doesn’t seem convincing to anyone. A modern being needs to explain well a rational way of thinking to get a rational conclusion. But from this gap between the taste and the rationalisation comes dissatisfaction. At last, those two never got divorced, but still maintain the marriage. For example, if one rationally knows the need to be a vegan but is emotionally repellent to be, he or she wouldn’t be able to keep the track of being a vegan, eventually starting to eat meat and dairy. From this gap generates personal dissatisfaction only, trying to make oneself inner justification why he or she acts and thinks that precise way.
If it is a taste matter, why shouldn’t meat-eaters just keep their favourable taste of eating meat? It’s because that choice is self-destructive, not only for the personal health matter but also for the animal dignity and collective environment protection. We need to recite the first quote I brought; it’s not that we live as we desire, but we desire as the way we live. Since we are living in a society where meat-processing and dairy industries constantly pour endless and false marketing saying that ‘milk is good for bones’ and ‘meat is a good source of protein’ (by the way, those two are a myth proven scientifically already), we think we desire to live such. The truth maybe is the opposite. Since we have lived this way under influence, we don’t know more choice but liking the way we have lived.
No educated being wants to make a self-destructive choice; they value the self, and mostly they value the life. If one makes a self-destructive choice there are only two reasons to explain: addiction or ignorance. Those two reasons combined is just miserable.
The conversation kept going and my opponent told me that he just don’t care of such theme. So I gave him a metaphor. If you know of a mountain, you’d have an opinion of such mountain either it’s positive or negative. If you know of the mountain, either way you’d have a value and judgement of it. But if you haven’t seen or haven’t climbed any mountain, but heard of some words of it, what happens is that you actually have no idea of a mountain as you become not caring of it. When one says that he or she doesn’t care, is because he or she doesn’t know. One always cares of such theme that one interacts. It’s the second quote that I brought from the beginning: it’s not that you spend time with whom you love, but you love those whom you spend time with. It’s not that you interact with things you care, but that you care those things you interact. If you haven’t cared, it’s because you haven’t interact with such theme at all.
Here I quote a book called ‘Education as practice of freedom’ by Paulo Freire. He wrote the role of education as ‘a constant try to change attitude and behaviour’. We are educated beings or still being educated. Either way, we are under trying constantly to change our attitude and behaviour because now we know what choices we have and what choice is better personally and collectively. It’s about freedom, rather liberty from the detention of being uneducated.
Let’s not complicate separating the taste and the rationalisation. They are the two faces of a same coin. We don’t have to rationalise or justify our taste if the taste is the better choice. Yes, the cost of knowing which is better choice is the education.