Are dolphins sentient beings?

So, in a recent work discussion it emerged that there is a movement to grant dolphins similar or the same rights as those afforded to humans because of their general cleverness and ability to do backflips and walk on their tails.  This led to an anecdote on vegetarianism.  At a dinner with an unnamed author (I asked, they wouldn’t tell) a bizarre argument about vegetarianism took place.  There are several vegetarians in the office (I’m one) and this author also happened to be a vegetarian.  However, when he was taken to dinner he committed the cardinal vegetarian sin of not warning his hosts (Swedenborg Soc) of his dietary needs.  So, they merrily set off to a restaurant that mainly served meat dishes, leaving him stuck with soup and salad (I personally like this choice – but I suppose it can be a bit boring).  Inevitably this led to a discussion of vegetarianism at the dinner table which culminated in him asking Nora point blank if she would eat a ‘disabled child’ as if this was the same as eating an animal…

Anyway – needless to say I avoid such militant, insane sounding vegetarianism and feel that eating habits are an individual choice.  Clearly I would like the world to be a bit friendlier to veggies and would appreciate a bit more choice (if I see another goats cheese and caramelised red onion tart I WILL scream) I did find this comment at once hilarious and completely inappropriate – it’s people like him who ruin it for the rest of us and make the omnivores hate and fear us.

Interestingly a prominent swedenborgian Isaac Pitman was, among many other admirable accomplishments, the vice president of the Vegetarian Society.  So possibly Swedenborg inspires rethinking of dietary preference.  Or possibly not.

Anyway, we also had the opening of the Remnants exhibition last night.  It was brilliant – loads of people, great atmosphere, excellent talks by Alex and James and Richard (with little evidence of nervousness).  Alex was especially informative.  Jan gave a little introduction as well and Steve worked hard on an improvised lantern slide show (mislabelled slides that claimed to be a history of the society but turned out to be a collection of Swedenborg’s drawings and plans) with an excellently varied commentary.  Nora and Diane and me were in the shop.  Nora was on crowd control and seemed to be everywhere at once, Diane sold ridiculous numbers of books and guarded the staff’s grapes carefully.  At one point I was left in sole control of the book selling and learned how to use the card reader and had been entrusted earlier with various really important tasks, such as cleaning up, proofreading the blurb and card cutting for the displays (more fuel for the CV).

There’s a sort of calm after the storm in the building today – but the exhibition’s still here and still most worthy of a visit thanks to the hard-work of Jan, Steve, James, Alex and Nora.


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