When approaching philosophy as a practice or means of life expression or the desire to gain wisdom modern humans have become complacent. Common approaches have become extremely biased or worse, religious in approach.
Now before you make assumptions understand that it is my biased opinion based in selfish motivations that have lead to this view. Unlike almost every other philosopher since the beginning of time I am able to accept that selfish behavior is both natural and irresistible. There is no species on the planet or likely in the universe that does not act for its own desires in everything it does.
If you follow religious philosophies such as Abrahamic monotheism and Buddhism etc., you are told that selfishness is wrong and the cause of all evils. However, if you simply observe life without allowing your chosen religious views to be inserted you will quickly realize that all actions by everyone at all times are selfish in nature. You see, as commonly defined selfish behavior is simply acting in ones own interests. It is how this is applied that matters, not that it occurs.
There have been no selfless individuals in the entire course of history, go ahead, name one and I will show you how the actions taken were meant to fulfill their desires first. Every action we take is for self preservation, or desire, from sex through eating and more everything we do benefits us first and occasionally others as a result. Once you understand this, religion, whether it be mythological or state based becomes non-essential and pointless.
Per definitions I have chosen to define myself as an atheistic pagan, using common definitions this is easily the approach that makes the most sense. It includes the atavastic leanings of pagans with the belief in self primarily over myth or state. One could easily say that my approach is counterintuitive, however, the reality is simple. Take Buddhism for example, modern followers are often seen to discard the use of meat because they believe taking life is wrong. However, they eat living plants and call it healthy? Just because we cannot hear a plant scream out in pain does not by default mean that plant feels nothing. Rather, through science we have found that plants indeed have a distributed nervous system which results in the default reaction of pain. There is a reason plants wilt when not cared for properly, or when mistreated.
Life exists, just as we do, after all we are life too. Death is merely a stepping stone in the circle of life, after all, energy can be neither destroyed nor created which means simply that upon death all organisms energy is recycled or redistributed in a scientific sense. I eat meat and plants, I do so without thought because to do so is to sustain my life. For the same reasons militant vegans and or raw food adventurers approach the eating of plant based material alone, I can say that eating meat is not wrong. The wrong is how it is done, not that it is done. By stepping outside of the sharing of energy we are in effect disrupting what is a natural flow.
It is true that some animals do not eat other animal life, however, it is also true that others do. Humans are built to digest both types of matter and always have been. We are apex predators, this by default creates for many a paradox that they cannot avoid but seek to for selfish reasons. Their reason is always based on what they deem as best for themselves and through their infinite wisdom they attempt to utilize their words and actions to affect this selfish approach on others. This is why you have the religion of state, it allows the selfish nature of humans to complete what they believe is their duty.
As a human who treasures life, especially my own and that of my children and those closest to me, I see no reason to take that same life lightly. Hence my pagan approaches to eating, rather than pray to a mythological deity or even thanking the state, I choose to thank the being whose life I take to sustain my own. Whether plant or animal based, my selfish desire to continue living overrides the need to see that which I choose to sustain myself with continue living. So I thank those entities for allowing me to take their lives and continue the circle of life.
Instead of viewing hunting as evil and cruel, I see it as the purest form of life continuing. It is in my hands to take life or allow it to continue. This is why religious philosophies are so skewed and ultimately wrong. Instead of following the natural circle of life they choose to attempt to elevate themselves above life itself and what is natural. They call selfish desires evil and work hard to mentally enslave the followers of whichever religion they choose. This is why wars exist and why those who fight in these wars end up killing themselves in record numbers or becoming mental vegetables. We as a species know subconsciously that war is in itself wrong always, however, we have been taught as a species that it is a necessary “evil” as if there is such a thing.
Instead of embracing what makes us sentient, we choose to reject that and utilize endlessly looping arguments based in false premises to reason and indoctrinate those around us into believing we need other humans to tell us how to live or worse, we invent a being that is supposedly above us, though those beings curiously always has the same aspects of the humans that created them. I enjoy the study and approach that is the old Norse gods and the pagan ways of the Shoshone, Cherokee, Sioux and Apache. I am as stated previously a realist, and I know that their old ways were in fact fatalistic in nature. Both embracing life, living it fully and celebrating completely. This versus the modern usage of Abrahamic monotheists and state worshipers who both fear and worship death, you see these approaches are cults of death, for every aspect of the approaches they take are laced with threats and implications of what will happen when we die and or that we may die.
Life, our lives more importantly is what matters the most. This is the pure nature of man, because this is pure nature. Nature is a selfish bitch, a narcissistic asshole and a wonderful compilation of beauty and fresh beginnings daily. Embrace the true you, temper it with a simple approach, only do to other humans what is voluntary in nature and voluntarily agreed upon by all involved, try this for a week. Try not following the tenants of your precious monotheism or buddhism or state for one week, live your life with yourself as center in it. You may be pleasantly surprised, for myself, I long ago chose this approach.
I know who I am, I know what I am and I know that these combined exist, because good and evil are creations of religious philosophy and not real. Yes, there is unnatural and natural, however, this applies only to the taking of life or others simply to satisfy ones mental desires and not to sustain oneself physically. If these actions are taken to sustain oneself physically, and done so voluntarily by all involved there is no wrong attached, except for those who embrace their myths or state.
This is why while I may have studied and engaged in philosophical meanderings over time I have also come to a realization personally, and that is simple. I choose to be who I am, a selfish animal who is an apex predator and proud of myself, my children and more. Some say pride comes before a fall, or that my eating meat is cruel, I say these people are deluded and incomplete. I do not expect others to understand or agree, however, I would hope they at least attempt to move beyond what everyone does and enter a stage of life where they think entirely for themselves. Eating only plants is not delusion alone, nor is assuming with regards to personal feelings. Rather it is the belief that this should apply to all or does somehow apply to all that is deluded.
We are all individuals, we are our own animal, and it should never be up to any other to design, appropriate or otherwise order another’s life. It is this approach that makes selfish behavior wrong, when we allow our naturally selfish desires to lead us to demand of others around us that they follow what we do alone.
One thing about myself that those closest to me will easily support, I will never force another individual to commit or do anything that they do not willingly desire to engage in. On the other hand I will never bow to the whims of the few simply to satisfy their antiquated desire to lead, rule or otherwise gain some form of superiority over me.
Be yourself, selfishness is natural, what is unnatural is creating the dichotomy of failure where this is none. It is not failure to desire sex, sustenance or a life we want. It is a failure to expect others to want exactly what we want and to use our religion be it myth or state to control that.
Free the mind and the body will follow.