The Ethical Salad Dilemma

“Are two salads distinct entities?”

Doctor Datz mused. He looked at the meal in front of him. A big bowl of salad was in the center of all the cutlery and glasses, with a smaller bowl where the bread plate normally resided. When he had asked for ‘Just salad and water’ he did not think he would be taken that literally. Each of his glasses had water, as did the soup bowl. But it was the salads that bothered him.

“Is everything to your liking, sir?” A waiter asked. Doctor Datz looked them straight in the eye.

“Are two salads distinct entities? They are the same thing, yet they are in two different bowls. Are they actually different? As far as I can tell, they have no differences. Both have iceberg lettuce, romaine, spinach, arugula, diced tomatoes, feta and parmesan cheeses, cucumber. The difference could be in the amounts, but the ratio of the ingredients is the same. Like two triangles that are different sizes but have congruent angles. I am assuming they came from the same bowl back in the kitchen, and then they were put into these bowls to be served to me. One bowl was filled before the other, obviously. Unless there were two peopled filled these bowls, but that seems inefficient. There are plenty of other things to do in the kitchen. So you have one person scooping salad from the mother bowl into the baby bowls. That’s it! The mother salad had two salad babies, that is how they are distinct entities! Think about it. We all have the same parents as our siblings, but we are each different people. Even identical twins have differences. So even though these salads are made out of the exact same physical components, they have different minds, different personalities.” Doctor Datz leaned back in his chair, satisfied. The waiter just blinked and slowly backed away. Datz finished his meal, content.

Later that night, the doctor told his cat about his revelation about salads. The cat just looked at him with an expression that seemed to say “Seriously? That is not profound. At all. Go to sleep.” So he went to sleep.

The next morning, Datz reflected on the previous day. He ran his fingers through his hair. “Man… The time allergy thing really messed me up. Maybe I should take some time off. Take lots of naps and go back when I stop trying to have ethical epiphanies about salads…” He called in sick, said it would be a few days before he was well enough to come back.

For breakfast, Doctor Datz went to a little cafe down the street. He ordered a regular glazed donut and a rainbow donut. He was surprised to find that the donuts tasted exactly the same.

“How can these donuts look so different on the outside, but be the exact same flavor? This is so befuddling…” He settled back in his chair, ready for a good, long wondering…


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