23.1.17

opinions

There's no escaping the fact that I'm an opinionated person. It's just how my mind works, it analyses everything, looks for patterns constantly, tries to understand people, motivations, history, politics, future...It's never boring inside my head. I've done a few tests over the years, and INFJ on Myers Briggs scale as well as a Pilosopher structure of my Chinese horoscope describe this tendency well.

But it's taken me a long time to figure out exactly how to comfortably express my opinions online, mainly because I didn't feel I fit in with either of the two dominant camps, those who have too strong opinions or those who want nothing to do with arguments and misunderstandings that usually follow expressing opinions online. I think partly the problem is attention seeking, which is often dressed in strong opinions that are designed to cause controversy and attract comments and views. This I think resulted in overall reduction of issues being discussed calmly and with interest, and an increase in anger and irritation posting which either gets ignored or quickly deteriorates into comment wars that have little to do with the original issue.

The fact that narcissism has trumped every other card in every type of public forum is having a major impact on our ability to have discussions we should be having, as a society. This would be my main issue with social media, news articles and forums, we are buried under the layers of anger and distractions which to me personally feels like a huge drain of energy, a pity, really, because the potential for social media being relaxing and full of interest was huge.

So, long story short, be warned of posts titled 'Opinion #x'.

Opinion #1 

Today I'm thinking of a young woman who made her career on writing vegan recipes. She reports struggling with anxiety for a long time, and this reminded me of an excellent talk by one of my favourite contemporary radical feminist thinkers Lierre Keith called 'The Vegetarian Myth'. She reports entering a major health crisis after struggling with anxiety and depression for years, whilst being vegan. Her assertion is, and medically we know this, that veganism is a low fat version of vegetarianism which has lead to fat depletion of her nervous system, especially cell membranes, which in turn caused ever worsening mental health and other symptoms. She also makes a good argument about agriculture, as in industrial crops growth, depleting our soil and destroying habitats at an alarming rate, which is, holistically speaking, even more dangerous than the meat industry, not in a sense that meat industry shouldn't be much improved, but that agriculture, the industry vegans and vegetarians rely on for food, is no more ethical.

Once upon a time I was that person who spent an hour convincing my pregnant vegan friend to not force veganism on their child, and I was really glad to see that this woman I'm thinking about now has done no such thing, in fact she's done a lot to promote omnivorous nutrition for children of vegan parents. But I wonder if eating meat, bone broth, fish and seafood for a few months wouldn't go a long way in helping her symptoms of anxiety.

Lierre Keith made an interesting point about people who come from coastal regions being genetically more vulnerable to side effects of veganism. Apparently, we all evolve to get our Vitamin D from best available source, and coastal people, especially those of Celtic descent who live in low sun areas, evolved to get theirs almost exclusivelly from animal food sources (fatty fish, liver, eggs etc). Remove those sources, and they can get depleted much more quickly than people who have better ability to synthesize Vitamin D from the sun's rays. Her being of Celtic ancestry, got hit with it pretty hard. And if we consider the influence of beauty standards and misogyny inherent in how society views women and girls and especially their bodies, I know in my heart of hearts that a lot of women choose these restrictive diets in order to lose weight, rather than primarily for the sake of ethics and philosophy they espouse.

So I'm thinking about the young vegan mum and all her commentators who report struggles with anxiety while vegan, knowing that should I say anything, it isn't likely to be well received, so I stay silent. I hope things will work out for the best.

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