Sunday, March 20, 2011

Final Thoughts

Reading the ending of The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan was much more uplifting than reading the beginning. I suppose this was because Pollan's focus was shifted from a corporate view on food to a much more personal view.While reading the final section three bits stuck out to me and I'd like to share them along with sharing my thoughts on them.

"Here, I decided, was one of the signal virtues of hunting: It puts large questions about who we and the animals are, and the nature of our respective deaths, squarely before the hunter, and while I'm sure there are many hunters who manage to avoid their gaze, that must take some doing" (358).
I have never wanted to hunt before, but now I'd like to do it just once. We are by nature animals. We are built to survive by instinct and part of our survival requires that we hunt other animals and make them our sustenance. Maybe for once I'd like to do this for myself and face what Pollan says all hunters must confront: death and our correlation to other animals.

"In the garden almost every species you encounter engages with you. Nobody hides; nobody means you harm; your place in the local food chain is established and acknowledged" (385-386).
Pollan brings this point up while foraging for mushrooms in a place where a forest fire had destroyed the forest. I think he raises a very interesting point: for the most part, no not for the most part, we just don't have to work for our food. We, as much of us have learned, are extremely far removed from the production of our food and truly the supermarket is the average Americans equivalent of a garden. It's a shame that very few people can say they consume food they had a role in producing.

"Oh, it can be hard work, hunting and gathering, but in the end it isn't really the work that produces the food you're after, this effort for that result, for there's no sure correlation between effort and result. And no deserving of this: I felt none of the sense of achievement you feel at the end of a season of garden, when all your work has paid off in the bounty of the harvest. No , this felt more like something for nothing, a wondrous and unaccountable gift" (389-390).
I think this quote underscores the utter magnificence of the food chain. It is incredible to me that we are able to find all the nourishment we need in nature. Why is it that we should try to go about and change that? Sure I see why we should domesticate animals and create farms. But why go further than that? I see no reason why we shouldn't eat all natural and not the all natural defined by the corporations.

These are just some of my thoughts that were provoked by this book. Which I recommend reading. At first the book can seem slightly depressing/enraging and stuffed overly full with information while lacking on pure thought. But in the end Pollans reflections on the journey he has made by investigating food prove to make a page turner out of The Omnivore's Dilemma.


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