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What is food? It’s nourishment. It’s comfort. It’s culture. It’s art. For millions of people, it’s not something you waste much time thinking about. You eat what you’ve always eaten. What everyone around you eats. What you can afford. For others, every bite is a careful, conscious choice motivated by the drive to be thin, to impress your friends, or to do the right thing. 

In 2018, whatever our motivations, most of us live at a vast remove from the places and the ways our food is produced. We meet it gleaming and uniform on the shelves of our supermarkets. It’s cheap and it’s plentiful. Why look a gift horse...or cow...or pig...or chicken...in the mouth? 

Here’s why: While we slept, the farms that produce our food have grown and morphed and metastasized into something worse than sinister. Something that if you look too closely at it might just put you off your dinner. With every meal we eat, we’re making ethical choices that define us and shape the future of the planet. How long and on what grounds can we justify looking the other way? I’m here today with the writer Jonathan Safran Foer. He’s justly celebrated as a novelist, for books including EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED and HERE I AM,  but he’s here today to discuss EATING ANIMALS. It’s a new documentary narrated by Natalie Portman and based on Jonathan’s book of the same name.

Jonathan Safran Foer Quote: It doesn’t require loving animals to find the torture of animals abhorrent. There’s a kind of baseline human decency that I think is truly universal. I think it requires a kind of extreme act of repression not to care about somebody kicking a dog. What would we call somebody who is indifferent to that? We would call them a psychopath. 96% of Americans want for animals to have legal protection against unnecessary cruelty. Can you think of anything that that many Americans agree on? I don’t think that many Americans agree that there’s gravity.

Surprise conversation-starter clips in this episode

Joscha Bach on why the days of addictive tech are numbered

About Think Again - A Big Think Podcast: Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. Since 2015, the Think Again podcast has been taking us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview archives.

You've got 10 minutes with Einstein. What do you talk about? Black holes? Time travel? Why not gambling? The Art of War? Contemporary parenting? Some of the best conversations happen when we're pushed outside of our comfort zones. Each week on Think Again, we surprise smart people you may have heard of with short clips from Big Think's interview archives on every imaginable subject. These conversations could, and do, go anywhere.


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