Incomplete thoughts about veganism

carnism, fake spiritual epiphanies, and lobster pets

Narayan Subramoniam
3 min readDec 17, 2021


3 ones this time, folks.

1/3 Carnism is a cool, dark word.

The word vegan isn’t just a diet choice. It carries a lot of carry-on baggage. What this person values. What they’ll talk about at the dinner table, to you, when you don’t ask. Their stance on animal welfare, social welfare, communism, organic fair trade coffee, and — probably — abortion. But a person who eats meat. That’s a blank human-sized and scented canvas. They could be a poet, a humanitarian, a neo-nazi or an old fashioned one. It carries no baggage. It’s the default mode. And you can’t attack a philosophy without honing it down to what it implies and giving it a name. And lo, carnism. I came across this word while reading Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows by Melanie Joy. What is it? From their website:

Carnism is the invisible belief system that conditions people to eat certain animals.

I love this word. It brings to light the singular issue we have: eating meat. It places it opposite to veganism, like a philosophy. It removes meat eating from a state of sleepwalking acceptance and onto a nice chopping block.

2/3 Unnecessarily spiritualizing the pathos of veganism

When I think about it, eating meat sends the heebie jeebies down from under my tongue, up to the base of my brain, and down to my stomach. Seeing a rabbit hopping about in my building’s lobby brings me joy and imagining it’s carcass in a tureen terrifies me. I imagine the animal, their life, their possible past idiosyncrasies. Was this one more afraid than his sisters or brothers? Or was he like a cool rabbit, jumping off carrot trees to show off his hops? Many carnists don’t think about this when eating meat. Or maybe they do and repress it. They are focused on more important things, like effective altruism, and not paying much attention to what they’re munching on.

What is definitely a wrong reasoning for the heebie jeebies is this: Deep down, I believe in some sort of a “karmic reaction”. There’s the cow walking around. There’s it getting dehorned without anesthesia. Screaming, thrashing, crying. There’s it headed to the slaughterhouse: kicking, bleeding, pissing, shitting. There’s it dying. All of that negativity, that pain and suffering. I don’t think it goes nowhere. It inhabits someplace and when carnists eat meat, they get it inscribed on their soul. A karmic reaction of sorts. There’s no equal and opposite reaction in a Hindu sense of karma in my head. More of a silent seeping, weeping guilt floating within. You stop doing the things that are cognitively dissonant, and you feel better. Or you change your cognition. Or you suffer its consequences.

3/3 Lobsters are fucking cool.

This guy went ahead and did what I always wanted to do. Head to a grocery store’s section where they have live lobsters, pick it up and put it in a dope tank:

And this brings me to the last point. Veganism doesn’t and should not make you feel guilty about your life. It often does. But it can be so cool! You can go around raising a sea monster in your bedroom! Make some other pets! Treat all animals like your bros. Right now, the whole veganism and carnism debates has shards on the wrong side of the playing field. We need more fluffiness on the vegan side. Show ’em how cute it can be instead of guilting them with fleeting damnation.