I had spent the night in the upstairs of a house with some other fellows. When we awoke in the morning we waited a while before going downstairs and I thought of doing some handstands against the wall. I only saw one place where the handstands might be done and there was a picture on the wall there where my feet would hit the wall. I walked over to the picture and took it off the wall.
The picture was an original oil painting. It depicted a boy and girl looking up toward the sky. They were surrounded by large flowers bigger than their heads. The painting had been done on a broken piece of plywood and had never been framed. Apparently, an artist had once lived here and had left it. I looked on the back and saw another painting of flowers. I had the impression the paintings were practice works. Yet apparently someone had thought they were good enough to put them on the wall.
Before I could begin the handstands someone called us downstairs to eat. All of us (about six or seven) walked downstairs to the kitchen and sat down to eat breakfast. The others began eating some meat. Some soup was brought to me which had some large hunks of meat in it which I took out. One fellow sitting directly across from me said he was interested in knowing exactly why I was a vegetarian. He said he had asked me before but had never really gotten a response.
In the past I had often stated that I was a vegetarian for health reasons. But I knew that wasn't actually the reason. So I said, "The reason I'm a vegetarian is not because of the health reasons, although I think it's unquestionable that vegetarianism leads to better health. Well anything can be questioned. But in my mind there's no doubt that a person who does not eat meat is healthier. That is a good reason in itself for being a vegetarian. But that's not my reason.
"The reason I'm a vegetarian is because I think it is morally right to be a vegetarian. When a person acts in a moral manner he can feel morally good. And the reason I am a vegetarian is it just makes me feel morally good—good in the sense of not being righteous or upright, but just a good feeling. I have a good moral feeling when I do not eat meat. And that is the reason I'm a vegetarian."
About three people were eating at my table. A couple guys and a woman had also sat down at another table. I hoped they had also heard me because I wanted them to also know why I was a vegetarian.
I thought I had finally expressed well my reason for being a vegetarian. And that was my reason. It made me feel morally good not to eat meat. I knew it was morally incorrect to eat meat. I had the feeling that the people around the table had understood what I had said and basically agreed with me even as they sat there eating their meat.
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