I recently picked up a book I read many years ago, Diet For A New America by John Robbins. The copyright is 1987. Here’s the 2012 second edition. Many of his topics continue to be discussed today, almost 30 years later.
Here’s an excerpt from his chapter called All Things Are Connected, p. 350:
There is an old story which tells of a man who lived a long and worthy life. When he died, the Lord said to him: “Come, I will show you hell.” He was taken to a room where a group of people sat around a huge pot of stew. Each held a spoon that reached the pot, but had a handle so long it couldn’t be used to reach their mouths. Everyone was famished and desperate; the suffering was terrible.
After awhile, the Lord said: “Come, now I will show you heaven.” They came to another room. To the man’s surprise, it was identical to the first room – a group of people sat around a huge pot of stew, and each held the same long-handled spoons. But here everyone was nourished and happy and the room was full of joy and laughter.
“I don’t understand,” said the man. “Everything is the same, yet they are so happy here, and they were so miserable in the other place.
What’s going on?”
The Lord smiled. “Ah, but don’t you see – here they have learned to feed each other.”
It’s romantic, isn’t it? Romantic in the sense of an idealized view of reality. But the kernel is that we are not, as much as we envision ourselves, independent. How many of us eat only the food that we have grown and cooked? Every day, other people are feeding us. We depend on each other. Maybe a better way to say that is we are interdependent. All life depends on all other life. In fact, the word “life” embodies this interconnectedness. What do you think?