Just the other day I finished a task that was assigned to me in one of the software programs used by my team at work. After finishing each task the software plays a gif that has confetti exploding and I have to admit it makes me feel kind of good. The software we use is Monday dot com. Monday is project management software and uses project boards and to do lists. To do lists are powerful hacks that, when used properly make us very productive.
The reason that lists are considered a hack is because of dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical that the brain releases and makes us feel good. Dopamine helps move signals in our nervous system. A healthy happy person will have an appropriate level of dopamine in their body. When we cross off a list item and see confetti we trigger a dopamine release in our brains. Other ways to trigger the release of dopamine are, eating foods that are high in magnesium and tyrosine as well as engaging in healthy habits that make us happy like exercise meditation family time and petting a happy pet. Checking off things from a to do list is probably one of the closet things we can do at work that resembles petting a happy well behaved dog.
Besides dopamine, lists offer focus. So until we can bring our dogs to work I will stick with my to do list. No if they allow me I would bring in my four legged friend and keep the to do list.
My wife and I are excited, we are in the midst of planning a road trip. We love to get in the camper and explore. There is a lot to be seen and when we are out exploring it feels like we are doing what humans were meant to do.
About 10,000 years ago is the first time humans started engaging in agriculture and abandoned there nomadic nature. People began to settle and domesticated the ancient wolves. Humans developed more food than they could eat and were able to free up time and other resources to build shelter, cities and modern infrastructure.
Its odd yesterday I pet my dog and cooked some bacon and eggs. Yes I washed my hands after petting the dog but I also thought about the action of cooking and eating animals right after petting one.
In 2020 Joaquin Phoenix won a Golden Globe and encouraged the venue to go vegan then thanked the venue when they indeed did go veagan. Later that same year the actor won an Oscar and made an impassioned speech about how he came to the realization that being a vegan was for him a moral choice.
Joaquins’ speech had mixed reviews. Some people took it to heart and others dismissed it. I was tempted to totally dismiss it myself on its face, however I have watched it twice now an I have also had moments like the one I described at the opening of this post.
Earlier this year I heard a venture capitalist in an interview mention that Patrick O. Brown reached out to him and told him that the current world state of agriculture was unsustainable. The venture capitalist asked the founder if he had a plan to make it sustainable he said that he did and then the venture capitalist forked over the money to put that plan into motion. Essentially the most unsustainable thing is the rate and way the the humans on our planet consume other animals on the planet. This is a pretty interesting article that speaks to how and why agriculture in its’ current state is unsustainable.
Sustainability aside I am having a real hard time understanding why I was able to eat a pig and not my dog (same applies for chicken, cow, duck, quail …. man humans eat a lot of animals). Annually in in Yulin, Guangxi, China there is a dog festival where dogs are the main course. Culture has a lot to do with why dogs are eaten in some places and not in others but living sentient beings should they be eaten at all?
It is feelings that make something sentient. The act of dismissing a cow because we don’t understand their feelings or how they express their feelings is a little bit arrogant and dangerous. Cows are highly social animals and seem to have complex feelings, the same applies to chickens. With knowledge comes power and responsibility.
As a world we no know much more about our fellow species on the earth like cows chickens, dogs and horses. Most species survive on earth for about 100,000 years, that’s the pattern formed through studying evolutionary biology. Man has been on earth for 300,000 years. Cows have only been around for about 10,500 years, part of me wonders if humans will survive if we continue to kill other species at the rate that we are killing them now.
Again above all else I kept coming back to the fact that animals have families and friends. I am not trying to be all “Pollyanna: here but I mean I am really almost ready to stop eating other animals.
I often like to try and put myself into another person shoes or this time another animals shoes. I imagine the cows life on a ranch and their interaction with each other before and after they realize their fate…
A cow named Jim: “So Bob is gone?”
An enlightened cow named Frank: “Yep, I heard that the cow with no hair that stands on two legs took Bob to the red building shot him in the head, chopped him up and froze his body parts.”
A cow named Jim(after throwing up in the field): “Holy crap cow! are you serious?”
A cow named Frank: “Yep reputable source told me so.”
A cow named Jim: “Man three years old too. Wait how old are we?”
A cow named Frank: ” 2 and a quarter and we are breaking out of here tonight”
I tried to make it a little funny and light because that is how I roll but there is really nothing funny at all about the way animals are slaughtered and processed. Keep in mind that a cow will live for about 15 years if they are not slaughtered too.
I am not trying to convert everyone I am not even converted myself (yet). I just think that I need to learn more about the animals I decide to murder and eat before I decide to murder and eat them. Knowledge is power and should make me act more responsibly.
Is a person who knows right and wrong more wrong for doing the wrong thing? If we know that animals have feelings, families and lives and we end those so that we can eat are we wrong? These questions have been gnawing at me for quite some time now.
I don’t have an answer. I really don’t know but I do know that Chipotle has a plant based chorizo that I plan on trying tonight for dinner.
“Gentlemen, we will chase perfection, and we will chase it relentlessly, knowing all the while we can never attain it. But along the way, we shall catch excellence.”
― Vince Lombardi
Happiness is? Subjective right? I mean a memory from Sunday school growing up was the youth pastor explaining heaven. “My dad imagines heaven as a farm in the country and I imagine that heaven will be a beautiful city with sidewalks.” – youth pastor Block (courtesy of Johns childhood memories)
Heaven is like happiness. My happiness and your happiness probably do not line up. I don’t know many people but there are some that do not enjoy petting a happy dog (I know crazy right?)! Our idea of happiness changes as we live our lives too.
When I was younger I was happy at my friends house watching his snake in the aquarium, now the snakes kind of make my skin crawl a little. I saw one on a walk with my dog two days ago and nearly jumped out of my skin.
Some say that being happy is a choice. I am not sure about that. I can choice to pursue things that I believe will make me happy however if I do not receive these things will I still be happy? Also, what things will make me happy? Lots of questions no answers.
I find joy in the unknown and the search for the truth. I really do. I think that this is good because I spend a lot of life with unknowns and looking for truth. If we are completely honest with ourselves well all do.
Enjoy every moment as much as you can because we never know when we will not be here anymore.
My favorite time of the workday is when I get home and see my wife. She is my best friend and I love spending time with her. My second favorite time of the work day is when I get home and see my dog.
Even when I worked from home and had to run out my dog would love seeing me. It could be an hour or 3 hours and he was always giddy to see me. Tail wagging ears up he just loves giving and receiving attention. I don’t know why he loves attention. I mean I know that wolves have evolved over time and there was a split. The dog became humanities best friend and the wolves are out there doing there own thing. I also know that dogs have been breed and were literally made for human companionship and it shows when I get home.
Originally dogs as companions had the major duty of protection and when the moment arises dog parents will tell you protection is still high for a dog but as humans lives changed so did the dogs. We now live longer and need more than protection we need affection and love and dogs show that in spades.
The thing about a dogs love is that it is present no matter what we do. If we deserve it or not. Our dog doesn’t care about how good or bad we were all day it will still greet you at the door show you an enormous amount of love. I think only when a dog is scared will that dog not show you love. When you are down the dog will find a way to physically position his or herself so that you can pet them. Many people who suffer trauma have found helpful therapy in being a dog parent.
I think this all out love we see in our pets that has been breed into them is something we need to learn from them. There are the terms “kicking them when they are down” and “piling on” and “even Killing them with kindness”. All these terms involve hurting someone. It is easier to harm someone than it is to help them. We pile on or kick people because we feel they deserve it but do they?
Deserved implies that we earned something. I don’t think anything is earned. I think that God, nature, the universe has given us everything, including a role model in our dogs. The giving nature of God and our dog should be our guide when we begin to decide what we and others deserve.