Friday, June 18, 2010

Vegetarian & Non-vegetarian: A perspective




Can anyone please explain what the moral difference between the two acts depicted above is?
I am really sick and tired of half-dead souls trying to justify killing and exploiting other animals for food, profit, clothing and other selfish reasons.
"Oh well! Plants have life too! What do you have to say to that?" is usually their response. And from the look on their face you can usually tell that they feel really smug, and happy with themselves for having come up with that thought.
First of all, a person who immediately jumps to "Oh well! Plants have life too!", as a comeback has either not given the subject much thought or is not serious about having a sincere discussion and just wants to win the argument.
The problem with debates in general is that, people usually stop listening to each other and forget the basic reason behind the discussion, and it becomes all about proving the other person wrong. So you see it becomes a war of egos between the people involved, and the debate loses all connections with the subject being discussed.
That's what happens in a vegetarian/non-vegetarian debate too. Rather than really trying to understand what the other person means by saying - "There is a visible and obvious pain and suffering involved in killing animals that is being ignored", we straight off look for a way to find flaw in the logic by pointing out that "Hey! Plants have life too".
If you are a person who can kill a human being, butcher an animal, and cut down a tree with the same amount of ease then you have all the right to put the argument of plants having life forth because you truly feel the pain of humans, animals and plants equally.
But most people say that because they see it is a clever retort, rather than saying it because they truly see the pain of plants like they see the pain of humans and animals.
And more importantly if you are a person who can look an animal in the eye, see the fear, and see his or her desire to live and still kill it, then you definitely can't understand the pain of plants. And you are using the point about plants having life just as a way of defending your ego and point of view.
The discussion is no more about plants, animals, humans, life, kindness, cruelty, evolution, logic, honesty or all the other greater causes of humanity, you have pulled the discussion about human evolution down to your place in the gutter and have made it about you and your ego, and your need to be proven superior to another human being because you still haven't even learnt to look at other human beings equally and are fighting with other people for superiority.
And in this personal selfish war between egos to dominate over one another, the emotion/feeling that was to be understood is completely missed.
Secondly here is what I have to say about the plant argument.
We humans were in the jungle for a very long time, having no notions of right or wrong, then slowly we came out of the forest and slowly evolved into civilizations. Till now we were killing humans, animals and trees all alike.
Then somebody came along and said "Hey! You know what, all men are equal and we should treat everybody equally", and the rest of us were like OK, let us try to treat all men the same way.
But before we could even begin trying to treat all humans equally, somebody came along and said "Oh! All animals are equal and it is wrong to kill other animals for selfish human needs".
And then while we were trying to wrap our heads around the last two moral concepts, science allowed us to understand the life of plants and allowed us to look at them under the microscope and the final realization dawned upon us that plants have life too, and if we consume plants then we are still destroying life.
Now we have these three deep realizations that we need to understand and inculcate.
But wait, as I said we hardly got started on trying to treat each other equally. We humans still haven't managed to accept one another as equal.
Just pick up any newspaper or tune into a news channel and pay attention to some of it and you will get what I mean.
And if we can't even understand other people’s pain like our own, then let us not waste time pretending that we can feel pain of plants.
We just throw arguments like "plants have life" to win an argument without realizing that we have to start with trying to treat one another equally, only then can we talk about treating animals and then plants the same way.
What is important is that you start today and try to treat everybody as yourself a little more everyday and then try to look at animals around you as equal, and may be by then we will figure out a way to survive without harming anything at all. But we shouldn't just dismiss the need for changing ourselves at all right now, just because we cannot see a possibility of changing ourselves 100% all at once.
Let us try to make ourselves a little more loving every day and slowly we will see ourselves become less barbaric and more gentle and kind. 
I think to be alive means to have come into existence, (which not to mention is out of one's control), and having come into existence to survive, till death.
So having said that, it is impossible to survive without disturbing the surrounding Eco-system at all.
For example, to walk across a grass field, one has to step on the grass and that's going to cause some damage, and there is no way around that.
But as intelligent beings, we should survive/exist causing as less pain/suffering/damage to other living beings and environment.
And that is the difference between killing billions of animals each day, and not killing billions of animals each day.
It is a simple concept-Cause as less suffering as possible.
We should at least be ready to change our ways of survival and living freely, as we evolve and understand our world more, instead of just stagnating evolution by trying to justify our current way of life by arguments we don’t fully comprehend.
There is another set of people who like to play the superior species card.
"Oh! We are on top of the food chain; we are superior to the other animals. And in nature stronger animals eat weaker animals”, or something on the lines of “I didn’t evolve to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian.”
I feel that there is no animal more inferior to a human being who thinks he can do whatever he wills with other animals because he feels superior to them. How is that different from rich people, politicians, and the rulers of this world treating the rest of us like insects?
But when we are at the receiving end, we complain and when we are at the delivering end we cite the same sick racial mentality as our defence.
Talk about hypocrisy.
As far as food chain and wild animals eating other animals is concerned- Let me break it down for you.
Animals like Lions/Tigers/Hyenas are biologically conditioned into their paradigm; they cannot help but feed on other animals. If they don't kill other animals for food, they will die. Also this is Nature's way of maintaining a balance. Through such food chains- the population of different species is kept in check.
But we humans are not biologically conditioned to only eat animals and if we kill animals for food, we do so for taste and appetite which are luxuries and not necessities for survival.
And there is a big difference between killing an animal because you can, and killing an animal because you need to as far as your decision making is concerned as an individual.
Lot of people love to pose this particular hypothetical when this topic is being discussed – “So if you found yourself in a situation where you had to either kill an animal and eat it or die, what would you do?”
Here the person is not really interested in knowing what I would do in such a situation. That is least bit of his or her concern. The person is only trying to justify continuing killing animals by trying to show that even I might do it if I had to.
Honestly, answers regarding such hypothetical situations where a person has been pushed to a point of desperation for survival cannot be answered sitting comfortably in a room. I don’t know what I would do in such a situation would be my honest reply.
I think I would let myself starve to death than live at the expense of another’s life.
But in a day to day reality we hardly face situations where we have to choose between life and death and we act on what we want to do rather than what we need to do. And it is this day to day behaviour that we are talking about here, not some apocalyptic end of the world scenario where there is no food around. We are talking about human behaviour in a normally functional society and so let us stick to that and not wander off topic trying to justify our current lifestyles with such ludicrous comparisons.
Also many people feel that non-vegetarians are helping maintain the balance of nature's food chain which I think is not the case. We lost touch with nature and her balance a long time ago.
Let us try to discuss this together.
We kill animals on massive scales every day, and due to the profit based structure that our food industry is fundamentally based upon, the whole process is designed to minimize costs and maximize profits, and so in this mechanical system, the well-being of animals is completely left out of the equation.
Besides that, because of the massive demand for non-vegetarian food, we are eating away all the balance nature tried to preserve through food chains. We are doing a lot of things to nature, but preserving balance is definitely not one of them.
We are over fishing the seas to a point that majestic fish like Great white sharks have been pushed to the list of endangered species, millions and may be billions of animals are killed every day for food.
The way we treat our cattle is no different from how Nazis treated Jews during WWII. If you want visual evidence of this then watch Earthlings, and you will find out where your food comes from and at what cost?
The fact of the matter is that we humans, to satisfy our taste and appetite put animals through the same torture and pain that Jews went through at the hand of Nazis during Holocaust every day and we don't even know it. Nobody wants to know where their food comes from.
Jews were at least saved from Nazis by other countries. For these animals there is no hope. I think most of these animals must have lost all hopes of living and wandering free. These animals will have no happy stories to pass down to their younger generations.
It’s a grim reality, theirs.
Everybody likes to sit in their living rooms and talk about the problems in the society, without having a clue about how they are contributing to the problems themselves. It is ignorance at individual level that creates such a clueless society.
"Nobody seems to have a clue about what is going on."
Everybody likes to hide behind- "Well! You can never be too sure you know."
I say “Well if you can never be sure, then put your empty head on the pillow and go back to sleep. As we can see you are sleep walking through life anyway!"
Everybody wants to see peace and love in the world, they want to end all wars and cruelty, and stop the useless killings and all the hatred, they want everyone to be treated equally and with care and gentleness and then these same people go back home and slit a chicken's throat, hang it upside down and leave it there to drain out all the blood, and then cook and eat something that was just alive, and looking at them a few minutes ago.
And then these same people wonder why there is so much violence in the world.
It's simple! It's the same violent tendency whether it is towards a member of the same species or another species is of little importance. A person can either be cruel and barbaric or gentle and kind, but he can’t be both at the same time.
It is our ability as human beings to disconnect one's self from the suffering of another living being that allows us humans to be violent with one another and other animals.
I am sure that this world will not know peace till there is cruelty to other animals. Pure barbaric cruelty and violent tendencies are very deep rooted in us from the times we were in the jungle and this primitive instinct knows no boundaries.
The fact that we are still so barbaric and cruel is what concerns me. It shows that evolution has still not gotten our species very far out of the jungle as yet.
We are still struggling in the deep thick jungles of our minds where darkness and uncertainty rules and the mind doesn’t know right from wrong because it can’t see anything in the darkness of ignorance. Our mind is living in constant fear trying to keep us from making any changes to your lifestyle because that might threaten our survival.
Your animal brain is keeping you from opening up to the love of other animals and from feeling oneness with other living beings.
This is not a debate about plants and animals anymore. It is about evolving out of our cruel violent tendencies. Human evolution requires us to be more intelligent and kind and loving.
No man can evolve into a better human being/conscious being and still inflict pain on fellow living being.
For me the choice between vegetarianism and non-vegetarianism is very simple. I see contact between me and another human being or another animal as an interaction, and I would like to confine my interactions with other people and other animals to ones that give love and happiness and want nothing to do with hurting or torturing anyone whose pain I can understand.
Today I can understand the pain of animals and humans so let me start by trying to treat humans and animals with a little more love everyday and maybe I will come to a point where I can look at plants the same way too, or maybe I will never understand the pain of plants. But what is important is that I am ready to go where my honest understanding takes me.
We have to be ready to evolve and move ahead and to do that we have to slowly get rid of our barbaric violent tendencies and become more kind and considerate to our environment in general.
A few quotes on Vegetarianism along Similar lines of Thought
Teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child, as it is to the caterpillar. -- Bradley Miller
For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love. --Pythagoras (6th century BC)
A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite. --Leo Tolstoy
Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet. --Albert Einstein
We don't need to eat anyone who would run, swim, or fly away if he could. --James Cromwell
As long as there are slaughterhouses in this world, there will be battlefields - Leo Tolstoy
So, eat what you want, but don't try and justify it with incomplete logic.
On an even deeper level, the discussion about vegetarianism and non-vegetarianism seems to get further detached from the argument about plants and animals and becomes more about human ego or human image.
To be more specific, the discussion becomes more about the concept of ‘me’ and ‘my’ that is the result of the image we create for ourselves and for others.
So each individual calls him/herself ‘me’ or ‘I’ and considers all people, objects, animals, places, concepts that are close to one’s heart as ‘my’ or ‘mine’.
Now the moment we bring the concept of ‘me’ and ‘my’ into existence, there automatically comes into existence something that is ‘not-me’ and ‘not mine’ and that is where all problems start.
The direction in which people channel their good, friendly, loving side and their indifferent, cruel, and selfish side seems to be based on what people consider their own and what they consider not theirs.
I wouldn’t say it is impossible, but it will be very hard to find a person who can kill torture his own pet animal or his own loved ones because for that person all these things are ‘his’, but the same person might be ready to kill an animal or a human being that is not ‘his’ to satisfy his own needs.
Everybody lives inside their own self-imposed boundary of me and my, and all people and animals are fighting with one another from behind and over these boundaries.
So people are fully capable of loving other people and other animals as long as they consider these people or animals as their own, and these same people are equally capable of being savage jungle beasts to people or animals they consider strangers.
So the main culprit behind all violence that our planet has ever seen seems to be the concept of ‘me’ and ‘not me’. All animals including humans destroy life around them to support and feed and protect what they consider precious and ‘mine’.
While other animals are hard wired into that paradigm, we humans on the other hand have stumbled upon the possibility of growing beyond this self-centred paradigm that leads to nothing more than wars, killings, fights, and suffering and actually attain peace. And the only way to move towards a more peaceful social paradigm seems to be to expand the circle or the concept of ‘my’ to involve a little more of the universe every day.
Expand your circle of love till it includes everything around you step by step, and then you will understand what it means to be at one with nature.
Only when we are ready to evolve freely to become better people as individuals, will the society evolve and only then will the world be free of all suffering, pain, war and cruelty to one another and other animals.

It is not a debate anymore. It is not about humans, animals or plants specifically; it is about coming face to face with our cruel tendencies and rising above them. Once you rise beyond barbaric cruel tendencies you will find love, and that love will extend to fellow humans, animals and plants alike.






18 comments:

  1. That is a nice (but harsh) way of putting it. I noticed there is one word you totally avoided here - "Omnivore". This stands for any animal (humans included) that are capable of eating both plants and meat as their digestive systems are not specialized for any one, and distinguished by their set of teeth, incisors to cut, CANINES to tear, and molars to chew.
    If humans were made only to eat plants, we wouldn't have had canines. We are not the only ones, examples of other omnivores include bears, hedgehogs, raccoons, chimps, gorillas etc etc. You see, its part of their diet to eat both plants and animals, just the fact that their bodies are able to digest meat is reason enough to argue that there was a reason their bodies were made like that.
    Moreover, since you brought out the talk about farting on couches, a study on vegetarianism would quickly lead you to the conclusion that vegetarians fart a lot more than meat-eaters! ;)
    No war or hard feelings here, just contributing to the debate.
    Cheers!

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  2. Ok, first - You totally missed the point I am making here. I am talking about intelligent way of life. I am not sure if you understand what I mean.

    Secondly - There is a lot of wrong information that you present here.

    Here are some points you might want to consider

    *

    Our so-called "canine teeth" are "canine" in name only. Other plant-eaters (like gorillas and horses) have "canines", and chimps(Yes! chimps are vegetarian), who are almost exclusively vegan, have massive canines compared to ours.
    *

    Our early ancestors from at least four million years ago were almost exclusively vegetarian.
    *

    Our omnivorism means we're capable of eating meat (useful from a survival standpoint if that's all that's available), but our bodies aren't geared for it to be a normal, significant part of our diets.
    *

    The animals most similar to us, the other primates, eat an almost exclusively vegan diet (and their main non-plant food often isn't meat, it's termites).
    * Our teeth, saliva, stomach acid, and intestines are most similar to other plant-eaters, and dissimilar to carnivores and true omnivores.
    * Among animals, plant-eaters have the longest lifespans, and humans are certainly in that category (and yes, this was true even before modern medicine).
    * We sleep about the same amount of time as other herbivores, and less than carnivores and true omnivores.
    * The most common cause of choking deaths is eating meat. (source) Real carnivores and omnivores don't have that problem.

    Ok, the fart thing is a figure of speech. Anyway.

    Besides may be our ancestors had to depend on other animals for food. But we don't need to anymore.
    And here I am talking about the intelligent way of survival for human beings. There is no evidence that human beings have to live on animal diet. Besides, our profit structure is doing unimaginable things to animals.
    So first check where your food comes from.

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  3. Another point I would like to make here - You say that human beings have evolved to be able to survive on both veg and non-veg diet.

    And I say agree. In the past many nomadic people would have killed other animals if they found nothing to eat, or even otherwise may be just for taste. But again, meat is not the only thing we can survive on. And back then in the days people killed one chicken if they needed one chicken.
    Today there is a whole industry that exploits animals for profits.
    And as an intelligent human being - I don't need to eat anyone who would run, swim, or fly away if he could as James Cromwell said.

    You can go on and eat other animals if you can justify that to yourself.

    My final point being, that we humans have the power ot thought, and you can understand if you wish to that a chicken feels the same pain you do if you were hung upside down and left to bleed. Other animals (carnivorous/omnivorous) can't think. They work along their survival animal instincts, so if an omnivorous animal finds a fruit it will eat a fruit, if it is hungry and if it finds another animal it might eat the animal. Because well, it cant think. It just wants food.

    You talk about being omnivorous like you can't think, and you are just stuck being a omnivorous.
    It's about opening up your mind, and realizing that the animal you just ate, wanted to live as much as you do.
    And his mother loved it as much as your mother loves u.

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  5. Adolf Hitler was also an exclusive vegetarian, and he ended up doing stuff that marks the second picture of this blog post.

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  6. Hahaha! Well! If Hitler did all that and still was a vegetarian, then he clearly missed the point. And since you sighted his example, it's pretty obvious that you are missing the point too.

    :)

    Besides looking at all the incomplete logic you guys are throwing so confidently at me, it shows clearly that most of my post was not even read.

    Don't you think I have touched on a few more points than just the relation between vegetarianism and peace.

    Not very bright actually folks.

    Any un-enlightened person would have given a similar reply.

    I will tell you why a lot of the points I have made here have not even registered with you people.

    That's probably because by the time you guys read the post till the 3rd paragraph, your ego was hurt enough to completely disable your ability to think about issues with an open mind.

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  7. Basically, what we need to realize is that the only possible way mankind can live an intelligent and wholesome life is by making that connection with all life forms and that in my belief is impossible to achieve with a non-vegetarian diet let alone justifying the consumption.(this coming from an EX-NON VEGETARIAN btw)
    In my personal opinion, the argument of omnivorous existence or occupying the highest position in food chain or the age old plants have life too !!! is nothing but deliberate blockage of information in order to justify your action.

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  8. So basically everyone has missed the point, except you who HAS actually got the point..
    isnt it a bit extreme calling others un-lightened, just for not confirming with your views..
    Also the incomplete logic is the blog post, not the comments. These are just comments on your views, but you have a view even to these comments.
    Hurting ego over a vegetarian dissing non vegetarians?!!.. hmm I don't think the world has come to that, just yet.
    IMHO, carnivores completely rock !!!- again my opinion.. not being a judgmental prick and all !!! :)

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  9. It seems that everyone has missed the point except you who actually HAS got the point. Isn't it a bit too much calling other un-enlightened, just because they do not confirm to your views. The only thing that displays incomplete logic is actually this blog post...
    the comments are merely comments on your views, but you have a view to every comment.
    Hurt ego over vegetarians bit?!! I dont think the world has come to that just yet !!
    IMHO Carnivores completely rock !! of course that's my opinion. Im not being some judgmental prick..

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  12. Its your critical thing on the things around the world. It ends up being more like "HEY listen to me i thought of something you cant & hell ya it makes me wiser & better"......Its nothing like that its just a discarded view towards a very small point which is completely vague.
    I don't mean to say that i hate Ace Ventura that guy was awesome but i do say that eat the meat which is edible. I don't say that you start eating tomorow itself, but if people eat don't justify your views over them, keep them in your wallet, pocket, or head.

    Having a more precise view towards the existing point you so talk about, sounds more like winning like Mario jumping for high score.....Nothing Else.
    DELETE THIS POST ALSO.

    Alok.

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  13. Ok, This has def gone way beyond the point, I am interested in going.
    So, I am gonna go ahead and reply to your already posted comments, and then I am out of this debate. You guys can continue commenting if you like though.

    @Sal, firstly "Everyone" has not missed the point, but a lot of them have.
    Hitler def did miss the point.
    But you know who didn't ?
    Einstein, Pythagoras, Tolstoy and many others.
    And it's funny that ignoring all the quotes and names I have put up in the post, you just talk about Hitler.
    I clearly don't want to identify with someone like him. But I don't want to judge, may be some people look up to him. And I say what ever works for people.
    Everybody has a point of view, and a right to one. I will give you that. And I am not dissing anyone in person for not conforming with my views. But I am simply saying that anyone who is truly open minded enough will understand what I am saying.
    And I am not saying that someone is un-lightened because they don't agree with my point of view. But you will have to agree that there are a lot of point of views out of there, but a few always are more sound compared to the rest. That's all that I mean.

    You guys have taken offense in something that I have written in as formal words as I could think of to be honest with my opinions. And are now just trying to offend me.
    It's cool. It doesn't bother me. Because I am at peace with myself, and I don't just come up with logic and thoughts to try and prove other people wrong. I am not playing games with myself. I think to sincerely understand things for myself.

    What you guys have done here is a perfect example of the point I was making in the post - "The problem with debates in general is that, people usually stop listening to each other, and forget the basic reason behind the discussion, and it becomes all about proving the other person wrong."
    So instead of trying to understand what I am saying here, you guys are only trying come up with ways to prove me wrong.
    But it's ok, it's a problem with most people.

    What you guys choose to do, is up to you.

    And I have a lot of great people from pages of history who spoke about the same logic. And I def prefer Einstein's or Carlin's logic over Hitler's.
    But I don't expect anyone to agree with my point of view, unless they really understand and experience what I am saying here.

    And about -

    "Hurting ego over a vegetarian dissing non vegetarians?!!.. hmm I don't think the world has come to that, just yet."

    I think looking at the current scenario, I def think the case is otherwise. :).

    As far as being judgmental is concerned.
    being judgmental is judging people without knowing where they are coming from.
    But that's not the case here.

    @Alok - :) . I will let you think that I have no come back for you. :) .

    P.S. I get the point if you post a comment once.
    Don't have to re-post the same comments again and again.
    Cheers.

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  14. I was really looking forward for a comeback.....but appears you are out of steam.

    Comments were not posting hence suddenly multiple post took place...just like they were disabled.

    Its fine bro I finally got the POINT and ya its worth ignoring.....

    Cheers...

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  15. i have only one thin to say .... had early humans being exclusive vegetarians.... u wudnt be writing this post in the first place.... and ther is nothin called inferior animal or superior animal... its called survival of the fittest. Humans aren't that fit compared to a chicken even, i am sure even Bolt will have hard time catching a running chicken. Btw, chimps are not exclusive vegans they eat each other some times.... youtube it.....i will give u one more insight. imagine if all the humans in the world were vegetariain we are talkin about 6+ billion ppl can u think of the ecological disaster tat wud cause ..... were wud u grow so much rice or wheat.... in sahara desert may be !!! . Nature tries to balance every thin out, thats why u have vegetarians and non vegetarians..... criminals and good ppl ( very few these days may be ) so that system is balanced.well i am sure the cream or shampoo u use are mostly gone through a animal testing, ever thought how they feel then... even the simple drugs u take....

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  16. I see this as an emotional outpour where the author seems to want to believe that he is right. The facts stated and the arguments may be right, but one cannot enforce something on someone when everyone has a choice to practice what they like.

    For me, it's simple:

    a. I need not justify all my actions. Whether it has to do about the clothes I wear or the food I eat, it's about respecting people's individual/collective wants. Whether someone else thinks it's being violent/barbaric/insensitive is not my problem. Neither should I be held guilty for a "wrongdoing" defined by others, nor should they feel what they believe is solely the universal truth.

    b. When I am pushed to justify why animals are killed for food, I do believe it helps in the natural balance of things. Everyone being a herbivore may cause an imbalance in the given order of things. Our bodies have the capacities to intake both. However, one is accused of being selfish and eating meat for taste and appetite. If so, refer to point a.

    c. It's all about making choices and respecting the choices others may make. Whether I choose to eat something is my choice and I have the freedom to indulge in it or not. Nothing else matters or comes in the way. Forming opinions and judgements is a natural human tendency and there is nothing wrong with it. Everyone has the right to choose his "intelligent" way of living.

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  17. Everybody should live how they best understand or want to. I am not forcing my point of views on anyone. I am only expressing them.

    Have a great day.

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