In his earlier blogs, Pliny held that virtue, as is the case with all significant human phenomena, self-esteem, self- worth, growth and understanding, perception of success or failure, are internal, and all-important in our life-long private conversation with ourselves; especially in the perception of our personal identity. Good and virtuous actions and exercises of judgment, as noted, add to our ever accumulating account balance of self- esteem, while negative or wrongful ones would seem to diminish that all-important balance.,
Our earlier writings extolled the priceless value of all life and chastised people who hunt and kill animals for sport and pleasure. There is no rational or cognizable justification for the killing of animals for sport under any and all circumstances.
A brief review of the evolutionary process or general anthropology would reveal that mankind has eaten meat since his debut on the planetary surface. His physiology, including his dental inventory and his digestive and metabolic systems reveal that his slow progress and development towards a sentient being, capable of reason and understanding, has not yet resulted in the declaration that those features have become vestigial, (like the appendix). It is clear that from his most primitive days, man has always considered the eating of meat and fish to be the major source of his sustenance and survival; fruits and vegetables, apparently less so. Our digestive and dental phenomena, however, do indicate the innate capacity to digest and assimilate vegetation.
Recently, Pliny was the guest at a July 4th celebration on a farm in Connecticut. He was engaged in an interesting and enjoyable conversation and was eating an excellent hamburger. In the course of the conversation, Pliny interrupted and said, “This is a great hamburger, maybe the best I have ever had.” In response, one of his hosts replied, “It should be, it is” Tiny.” (explaining that “Tiny” was a young, challenged cow, incapable of ever producing milk). Once made aware of the identity (by name too!) of the source of his lunch, Pliny suddenly stopped chewing, felt guilty and disappointed in himself. At that point (if not many times before) Pliny realized that he has always been hypocritical, in this respect, at least, in that he often eats meat, while, simultaneously shutting his mind to the source and the practical logistics of its being brought to table.
Such hypocrisy has been so finessed that the perception of a quarter of a cooked chicken and some rice, appearing on a plate, is “dinner” and not the end product of a butchered bird. Accordingly, Pliny shame-facedly apologizes for this inconsistency between his moral averments and his actions in such instances. Under no circumstances, however, could he, himself, ever kill an animal (nor will he refrain from the chastisement of those who hunt and kill animals for pleasure).
In all other aspects of life, Pliny continues to derive pleasure and self-esteem in his dedication to living his life virtuously and encouraging others to do so.