Have you ever felt concern about global warming? Have you ever gotten depressed when you see footage of impoverished people around the world? Have you ever been saddened to see an animal get mistreated? Have you ever gotten angry at all the trees being cut down?
Now, have you ever driven a car? Have you ever bought fruit from the grocery store or a cup of Guatamalan coffee? Have you ever eaten a burger or chicken wings? And do you live in a house?
If you answered yes to questions from both of these paragraphs, then you’re a hypocrite.
Many of us are frustrated with the human species for our effect on the environment. Yet we continue to watch TV, take hot showers and heat our residences. We continue to drive our automobiles up to the mountains. We continue to fly a jet home to see our family at Christmas.
Many of us don’t like to hear about human suffering around the world. But we still buy delicious fruit that was cultivated by poor struggling migrant farmers and we still drink fresh organic Guatamalan coffee, while down there they drink Nes Café. And much of our clothing was made in sweatshops around the world.
Most of us would never harm an animal. But we still eat meat that lives in conditions more awful than we could ever imagine.
Most of us would never chop down acres of trees, but we live in houses, work in buildings and drive on roads.
Depressing, isn’t it? Well, it doesn’t have to be. There are three ways you can deal with this dilemma. One, you can stop caring about anything in the first paragraph. Two, stop doing any of the activities from the second paragraph. Or three, embrace your inner hypocrite.
I say, choose option three. This will save you from being a selfish creature without feeling and it will also save you from suicide.
Still, depressing though, right? Again, it doesn’t have to be.
We can choose to make little changes in their habits in order to alleviate some depression that comes from our actions.
For example, I recently decided to look further into where my meat comes from. What I found was terrible.
Cows that are trucked across the country, stuffed in the back of a trailer for days at a time, so close they can’t even lie down; no food, no water; often till they can’t stand up anymore and collapse in their own urine and feces. And when they finally arrive at the slaughterhouse, there is no circulation in their legs and they can’t walk. So they are fork lifted to the chopping block.
Or, chickens that have been fed hormones that make them grow three times as fast as normal. So as they put on weight, their young legs can no longer hold them up anymore, and they fall to the ground immobile.
What did I do? First I considered suicide. But luckily, I decided against this. Instead, I embraced my inner hypocrite.
Then I cut my meat consumption in half and now buy only natural or organic, more humanely treated meat. To my surprise, my grocery bill actually went down. And that belly I was starting to develop, flattened out.
And now when I pass a Taco Bell and visions of what that beef went through to get there run through my mind, I don’t feel quite so depressed. At least I’m not directly contributing to it. And every organic meat purchase is my vote for an improved industry.
So you don’t have to save the world to make yourself feel better, just think about making a few small changes in your lifestyle.
But first and foremost, embrace that inner hypocrite. If you care about anything in this world, hypocrisy is a part of the human condition.
Andy Kruse is an anthropology graduate student. His column appears occasionally in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.