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2000-09-03 02:08:28

mayhem, acoustics, and vegetarianism

So, I saw Fight Club for the first time tonight. Wow. Not all of it really clicked with me, but some of it really did. It reminds me of the concept of resonance as we've been discussing it in my acoustics class. All objects/structures have one or more frequencies that they naturally vibrate at. If you subject something to vibrations at a random frequency, you won't see much of an effect. But if you subject it to frequencies at or near its natural frequency, you can cause it to vibrate with far greater amplitude (force, I suppose you could say) than possible at other frequencies. And that flick really resonated with me in a lot of places. It hit the right emotional frequencies and set me humming. Wow. It was a good reminder of how pointless most of the things we're concerned about really are. Remind me not to watch it during finals week...

By the way, resonance is what allows opera singers to shatter glass with their voice. It doesn't have so much to do with volume as it does hitting the natural frequency of the glass. In case you were curious, someone once calculated that the frequency you'd need to explode a human chest cavity is 8 Hz, or eight vibrations per second. For comparison, the middle A on the grand staff is 440 Hz. 8 Hz is about five and half octaves lower than that. The lower limit of human hearing is 20 Hz.

would anybody tell me if i was getting stupider?

I don't like killing things. If something's crawling on me, I try to subdue my natural impulse to smash it and just brush it off instead. If I do smash a bug, I apologize to it, and I feel bad about it. If I start taking a shower, and I realize there is a spider in the shower with me, I have to stop the shower, get some toilet paper, grab the spider, and put it in a place where it is not in danger of drowning. This respect for life is why I want to be a vegetarian. I'm mostly there, but it's the whole "spirit is willing" thing. I used to try to rationalize it by saying, "Cows are stupid and aren't good for anything else," but with my new found personal honesty these last couple of years, that just doesn't cut it anymore. Cows may not be that smart, but does that mean they deserve to be slaughtered wholesale? If we don't respect the right to life of the creatures under our power, how can we expect those who have power over us to respect our right to life? If I can casually crush a bug, why shouldn't a being who is intellectually my superior as much as I am the superior of the bug casually crush me or you?

"If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men." -- St. Francis of Assisi

"He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

"If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals." -JK Rowlings, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (yes- words of wisdom from Harry Potter)

"I feel quite sure that were it not for fear of punishment, many people would have fewer qualms at killing a man who was far enough away to appear no larger than a swallow than in butchering a steer with their own hands. And if we feel compassion for a horse in pain though we can crush an ant without a second thought, are these actions not governed by the same principle?" -Diderot (I got this quote from an article talking about how people generally don't care much about human suffering as long as it's not right there in front of them- but that's another topic.)

Death is part of life, but that doesn't mean I have to be the cause or consumer of it any more than necessary. Life is a wonderful, amazing thing, and it's wrong to take that for granted or trivialize the life of anything. If I don't have to live off the death of other creatures, I shouldn't. However, if I ever need to kill and/or eat an animal to survive, I won't hesitate to do it. I'll tear out the cow's throat with my own teeth. Respect for life also means fighting for your own, and I gotta say- I'm for humans first. Sometimes killing things is unavoidable, and that's okay- that's nature. But killing unnecessarily, without respect for life is wrong. I like how some of the Indian tribes that used to roam this continent would thank the departing spirit of the deer for its meat and hide after they killed it. That's the right attitude to have. Only kill if it's necessary, and when you do kill, don't do it irresponsibly, without reverence.

And- people who go out and kill an animal and eat it bother me a lot less than people who can't eat meat unless they think of it as coming from a factory and not from a warm fuzzy animal. It pisses me off when I'm with someone who's squeamish around raw meat but then all too eager to shovel it down their throat once the same meat has been cooked. Those people are living in denial, and I HATE that. If you are fully aware of what your food is and where it comes from and you're okay with that, fine- eat it. But if you're not okay with where your food comes from, DON'T EAT IT!

Well, that's what I think anyway.

Tacos are good. sigh...

Oh, and I want to be clear on this: PETA sucks. It seems like they're just out to piss people off. They sure piss me off. Their methods and some of their ideas just alienate people and encourage people to reject categorically everything associated with them. They give vegetarians a bad name. I'm not out to convert anyone, and many of the things I've written tonight are probably hypocritical. I just want to try to be true to my own sense of integrity, and my only advice would be to encourage everyone else to do the same. Be honest with yourself, and act accordingly. Look at your life in the context of your ideals, see where you need to make changes, and do it.

Even if self-improvement is masturbation, it still feels good, right?

Umm... strike that last comment. I'll just shut up now.