The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

TO SERVE MAN

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Let me first say that I am only a “closet-vegetarian.” I put my morality and scruples aside and venture into the meat department and pick up some lifeless piece of flesh that will become my dinner. If I didn’t have that option and had to kill something for supper, I would be on-line with Amazon ordering every vegetarian cookbook they had for sale. (I already own a number of them and use them at least three or four times a week).

I do try to minimize my meat consumption and I don’t waste anything that I have purchased out of respect for the animal that was sacrificed for my meal. And I assuage my conscience by saying to myself – that even vegans and vegetarians kill something in order to sustain themselves.

When I was watching an episode of “The Twilight Zone” I realized that this particular story was not a Rod Serling original but was based on a story by Damon Knight that I had previously read. Nonetheless I was interested how this had been transformed for the small screen.

The story was set during the Cold War of the 1950’s. Three representatives of an alien race, the Kanamit have come to earth with their stated purpose of bringing humanity the health and peace and plenty that they had brought to many other races throughout the galaxy.

The Kanamit are as good as their word – quickly eradicating disease, showing us ways to get unlimited energy which results in the elimination of conflicts between nations because of the new plenty they have bestowed on us. Earth has truly been transformed into a Garden of Eden.

The Kanamit offer humans the opportunity to visit their home planet through ten-year long exchange programs. Many are anxious to travel through the stars and accept this invitation.

Shortly after their arrival, a UN translator (through whom the story is told) gains access to one of the books that the Kanamit have brought with them. The Kanamit have provided humans with a Kanamit-English dictionary and he begins translating this book. After several weeks of labor, our translator concludes that the title of the work is “To Serve Man.”

It takes several more weeks of effort but he finally realizes that the work which he is translating is actually a cookbook – and we’re the main ingredient in the menus.

We live in an unimaginably vast universe where anything can, probably has or may very well yet happen. It’s something for us who consider ourselves the “top dogs” – my apologies to my canine friends – to think about.

Bon Appetit!

 

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Comments on: "TO SERVE MAN" (9)

  1. Ha! What a great story! “To serve man” haha! How clever! The Twilight Zone is the best, isn’t it?!

  2. Yes, I recall this episode. That revelation in the closing frames of the episode – I remember vividly.

    • Although I think that the episode was translated well for television, the original story was even better. In fact, Damon Knight won a Hugo Award for it. Good, as always, to hear from you, Eric.

  3. Omg, that is my all-time fave quote! Bar none! Okay, now I have go finish reading the post. Be back in a sec…

  4. Okay, I’m back. That TZ episode is one which I think should be required viewing in all schools. There’s a 1st person-experience lesson in there that hits hard, you know. It hit me hard the first time I saw it; as a kid, my Dad made me & my friends watch it after we proudly brought him a jar of lightening bugs to show off. I never trapped another lightning bug again after that!

    • It’s strange that you mention lightning bugs. I remember trapping them as well, putting them in a glass jar whose cover had holes punched in it. But I noticed that when they were in the jar they no longer gave out their illumination – and in the morning they were dead. We need to learn to respect all those with whom we share this planet – not force them to our will or momentary enjoyment.

  5. I think the Beatles said it better than I in their song, “Let It Be.” They were geniuses.

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