We bring you a review of Will Tuttle, Ph.D., The World Peace Diet. . This is a story about how humanity began to exploit animals and how the terminology of exploitation has become deeply embedded in our language practice.
Around Will Tuttle’s book A Diet for World Peace began to form whole groups of comprehension of the philosophy of vegetarianism. The followers of the author of the book organize classes for in-depth study of his work. They are trying to convey knowledge about how the practice of violence against animals and covering up this violence is directly related to our diseases, wars, and a decrease in the general intellectual level. Book study sessions discuss the threads that bind our culture, our food, and the many problems that plague our society.
Briefly about the author
Dr. Will Tuttle, like most of us, began his life and spent many years eating animal products. After graduating from college, he and his brother went on a short journey – to know the world, themselves and the meaning of their existence. Almost without money, on foot, with only small backpacks on their backs, they walked aimlessly.
During the journey, Will became increasingly aware of the idea that a person is something more than just a body with its instincts, born in a certain place and time, which is destined to die after a certain time. His inner voice told him: a person is, first of all, a spirit, a spiritual force, the presence of a hidden force called love. Will also thought that this hidden power is present in animals. That animals have everything, like people do – they have feelings, there is a meaning to life, and their life is as dear to them as to every person. Animals are able to rejoice, feel pain and suffer.
The realization of these facts made Will think: does he have the right to kill animals or use the services of others for this – in order to eat an animal?
Once, according to Tuttle himself, during the trip, he and his brother ran out of all the provisions – and both were already very hungry. There was a river nearby. Will made a net, caught some fish, killed them, and he and his brother ate them together.
After that, Will could not get rid of the heaviness in his soul for a long time, although before that he quite often fished, ate fish – and did not feel any remorse at the same time. This time, the discomfort from what he had done did not leave his soul, as if she could not come to terms with the violence that he had done to living beings. After this incident, he never caught or ate fish.
The thought entered Will’s head: there must be another way to live and eat – different from the one to which he was accustomed from childhood! Then something happened that is commonly called “fate”: on their way, in the state of Tennessee, they met a settlement of vegetarians. In this commune, they did not wear leather products, did not eat meat, milk, eggs – out of compassion for animals. The first soy milk farm in the United States was located on the territory of this settlement – it was used to make tofu, soy ice cream and other soy products.
At that time, Will Tuttle was not yet a vegetarian, but, being among them, subjecting himself to internal criticism of his own way of eating, he reacted with great interest to the new food that did not contain animal components. After living in the settlement for several weeks, he noticed that the people there looked healthy and full of strength, that the absence of animal food in their diet not only did not undermine their health, but even added vitality to them.
For Will, this was a very convincing argument in favor of the correctness and naturalness of such a way of life. He decided to become the same and stopped eating animal products. After a couple of years, he completely gave up milk, eggs and other animal by-products.
Dr. Tuttle considers himself uncommonly lucky in life to have met vegetarians when he was quite young. So, quite by accident, he learned that a different way of thinking and eating is possible.
More than 20 years have passed since then, and all this time Tuttle has been studying the relationship between the meat-eating of mankind and the social world order, which is far from ideal and in which we have to live. It traces the connection of eating animals with our diseases, violence, exploitation of the weaker.
Like the vast majority of people, Tuttle was born and raised in a society that taught it was okay and right to eat animals; it is normal to produce animals, restrict their freedom, keep them cramped, castrate, brand, cut off parts of their body, steal their children from them, take away from mothers the milk intended for their children.
Our society has told us and tells us that we have a right to this, that God gave us this right, and that we must use it in order to remain healthy and strong. That there’s nothing special about it. That you don’t have to think about it, that they are just animals, that God placed them on Earth for this, so that we can eat them …
As Dr. Tuttle himself says, he couldn’t stop thinking about it. In the mid-80s, he traveled to Korea and spent several months living in a monastery among Buddhist Zen monks. Having spent a long time in a society that had been practicing vegetarianism for several centuries, Will Tuttle felt for himself that spending many hours a day in silence and immobility sharpens the sense of interconnection with other living beings, makes it possible to more acutely feel their pain. He tried to understand the essence of the relationship between animals and man on Earth. Months of meditation helped Will break away from the way of thinking imposed on him by society, where animals are seen as just a commodity, as objects that are intended to be exploited and subjugated to the will of man.
Summary of The World Peace Diet
Will Tuttle talks a lot about the importance of food in our lives, how our diet affects relationships – not only with the people around us, but also with the surrounding animals.
The main reason for the existence of most global human problems is our mentality that has been established for centuries. This mentality is based on detachment from nature, on the justification of the exploitation of animals and on the constant denial that we cause pain and suffering to animals. Such a mentality seems to justify us: as if all the barbaric actions performed in relation to animals have no consequences for us. It’s like it’s our right.
Producing, with our own hands or indirectly, violence against animals, we first of all cause a deep moral injury to ourselves – our own consciousness. We create castes, defining for ourselves one privileged group – this is ourselves, people, and another group, insignificant and not worthy of compassion – these are animals.
Having made such a distinction, we begin to automatically transfer it to other areas. And now the division is already taking place between people: by ethnicity, religion, financial stability, citizenship…
The first step that we take, moving away from animal suffering, allows us to easily take the second step: to move away from the fact that we bring pain to other people, separating them from ourselves, justifying the lack of sympathy and understanding on our part.
The mentality of exploitation, suppression and exclusion is rooted in our way of eating. Our consumptive and cruel attitude towards sentient beings, which we call animals, also poisons our attitude towards other people.
This spiritual ability to be in a state of detachment and denial is constantly being developed and maintained by us in ourselves. After all, we eat animals every day, training a sense of non-involvement in the injustice that is happening around.
During his research for his PhD in Philosophy and while teaching in college, Will Tuttle has worked on numerous scholarly works in philosophy, sociology, psychology, anthropology, religion, and pedagogy. He was surprised to note that no famous author had suggested that the cause of our world’s problems could be cruelty and violence against the animals we eat. Surprisingly, none of the authors thoroughly reflected on this issue.
But if you think about it: what occupies a greater place in a person’s life than such a simple need – for food? Are we not the essence of what we eat? The nature of our food is the biggest taboo in human society, most likely because we do not want to cloud our mood with remorse. Every person should eat, whoever he is. Any passer-by wants to eat, whether he is the president or the Pope – they all have to eat in order to live.
Any society recognizes the exceptional importance of food in life. Therefore, the center of any festive event, as a rule, is a feast. The meal, the process of eating, has always been a secret act.
The process of eating food represents our deepest and most intimate connection with the process of being. Through it, our body assimilates the plants and animals of our Planet, and they become the cells of our own body, the energy that allows us to dance, listen, speak, feel and think. The act of eating is an act of energy transformation, and we intuitively realize that the process of eating is a secret action for our body.
Food is an extremely important aspect of our lives, not only in terms of physical survival, but also in terms of psychological, spiritual, cultural and symbolic aspects.
Will Tuttle recalls how he once watched a duck with ducklings on the lake. The mother taught her chicks how to find food and how to eat. And he realized that the same thing happens with people. How to get food – this is the most important thing that a mother and father, whoever they are, should first of all teach their children.
Our parents taught us how to eat and what to eat. And, of course, we deeply cherish this knowledge, and do not like it when someone questions what our mother and our national culture taught us. Out of an instinctive need to survive, we accept what our mother taught us. Only by making changes in ourselves, at the deepest level, can we free ourselves from the chains of violence and depression – all those phenomena that cause so much suffering to humanity.
Our food requires the systematic exploitation and killing of animals, and this requires us to adopt a certain way of thinking. This way of thinking is the invisible force that generates violence in our world.
All this was understood in antiquity. The Pythagoreans in ancient Greece, Gautam Buddha, Mahavira in India – they understood this and taught it to others. Many thinkers over the past 2-2, 5 thousand years have emphasized that we should not eat animals, we should not cause them suffering.
And yet we refuse to hear it. Moreover, we have been successful in hiding these teachings and preventing their spread. Will Tuttle quotes Pythagoras: “As long as people kill animals, they will continue to kill each other. Those who sow the seeds of murder and pain cannot reap the fruits of joy and love.” But were we asked to learn THIS Pythagorean theorem at school?
The founders of the most widespread religions in the world in their time emphasized the importance of compassion for all living things. And already somewhere in 30-50 years, those parts of their teachings, as a rule, were removed from mass circulation, they began to be silent about them. Sometimes it took several centuries, but all these prophecies had one outcome: they were forgotten, they were not mentioned anywhere.
This protection has a very serious reason: after all, the feeling of compassion given to us by nature would rebel against the imprisonment and killing of animals for food. We have to kill vast areas of our sensitivity in order to kill – both individually and as a society as a whole. This process of mortification of feelings, unfortunately, results in a decrease in our intellectual level. Our mind, our thinking, is essentially the ability to trace connections. All living things have thinking, and this helps to interact with other living systems.
Thus, we, human society as a system, have a certain kind of thinking that enables us to interact with each other, with our environment, society and the Earth itself. All living beings have thinking: birds have thinking, cows have thinking – any kind of living beings has a unique kind of thinking for it, which helps it to exist among other species and environments, to live, grow, bring offspring and enjoy its existence on Earth.
Life is a celebration, and the deeper we look into ourselves, the more clearly we notice the sacred celebration of life around us. And the fact that we are not able to notice and appreciate this holiday around us is the result of the restrictions placed on us by our culture and society.
We have blocked our ability to realize that our true nature is joy, harmony and the desire to create. Because we are, in essence, a manifestation of infinite love, which is the source of our life and the life of all living beings.
The idea that life is meant to be a celebration of creativity and joy in the universe is quite uncomfortable for many of us. We don’t like to think that the animals we eat are made to celebrate a life filled with joy and meaning. We mean that their life has no meaning of its own, it has only one meaning: to become our food.
To cows we ascribe qualities of narrow-mindedness and slowness, to pigs of carelessness and greed, to chickens – hysteria and stupidity, fish for us are simply cold-blooded objects for cooking. We have established all these concepts for ourselves. We imagine them as objects devoid of any dignity, beauty, or purpose in life. And it dulls our sensitivity to the living environment.
Because we do not allow them to be happy, our own happiness is also blunted. We have been taught to create categories in our minds and put sentient beings into different categories. When we free our thinking and stop eating them, we will greatly liberate our consciousness.
It will be much easier for us to change our attitude towards animals when we stop eating them. At least that’s what Will Tuttle and his followers think.
Unfortunately, the doctor’s book has not yet been translated into Russian, we suggest you read it in English.