Notes from the Library

Sat, 30 Aug 2014

I have finished reading some chapters of The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith. Keith was a vegan for twenty years, and the book is a convoluted combination of the story of the medical problems she experienced that she believes resulted from her veganism; a radical feminist pseudophilosophical narrative about what she sees as our unsustainable masculine spirituality; and an attempt at a scientific case against vegetarianism. This scientific case is meant to support the need for a new culture or spirituality in place of the masculine one that she blames for all the woes of mankind and the planet.

Keith is trying to argue for several things and she does state that she's trying to argue for them. However, the structure of the arguments are permanently unclear, her arguments for the different things she wants to establish are mixed together, and it's all punctuated by childish emotional appeals and patronising rhetorical questions and other annoying literary devices. If you're an expert you might contend with some of the particular scientific claims she makes on various pages. But for my part, I can't see how to begin to assess the book and figure out if she might be right because I think I'd basically have to rewrite it first. Never have I felt so keenly that a little education in analytic philosophy ought to be part of compulsory schooling, or at least every university degree course.

This all being said, reading the book has given me some new ideas about vegetarianism that I'd like to try to develop. I'll first try to state Keith's manifesto by way of background. Then I'll outline my ideas.

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Thu, 28 Aug 2014

If you're spending well below your income and you don't have anything in particular to save for, then you've got a powerful kind of financial freedom. You don't have the millionaire's freedom to buy flights to anywhere in the world whenever you want to go, but you do have the important freedom not to have to think about how much individual things cost. It doesn't matter that something is a bit overpriced. You don't have to think about how much your gym membership costs. All you've got to do is establish the habit of spending, in general, well below your salary. I'm in this position right now.

Tue, 26 Aug 2014

My step-brother Alex had a shaking hand he couldn't hold still, and he couldn't walk in a straight line, so he was referred for an MRI scan which he had last Friday. About ninety minutes ago, on today the following Tuesday, hospital staff started prepping him for a six hour piece of surgery to remove the brain tumour. If he wasn't to have it, he'd be dead before the end of 2014. I want to write about what specifically I find sad about this situation.

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Sun, 24 Aug 2014

Something big that's changed in my life recently is that my girlfriend has finally fallen for me. This means that I no longer ever really feel lonely here in Korea, even though my social life has dwindled to my girlfriend and one other solid foreigner friend, with a few other foreigners and Koreans who I see from time to time.

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Tue, 29 Jul 2014

The Franck Report, June 11, 1945

I'll be in Hiroshima next week.

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