The man from Utopia: story of a win-win ethical mindset

Let’s assume we could provide everyone on Earth with an appropriate quantity of high-quality proteins, with no environmental impact. No air and water pollution, no need to grow huge amounts of corn whatsoever.

Let’s assume we could do that without even causing pain to any of our friends animals.

Would you still be vegetarian?

On top of that, let’s add a growing body of research showing that “current dietary protein recommendations may not be sufficient to promote optimal muscle health in all populations.”

How would you deal with that?



Some days ago, I was having lunch with some new friends after visiting a cognitive science’s class in Rovereto. You know what’s going to happen after half the group orders a vegetarian sandwich. Well, that’s what happens in Italy most of the time. “Vegetarian” label might have done more harm than good since it was adopted as an ethical choice.

Everyone would come up with their sincere stories, providing reasonable arguments backing their own decision to join the vegetarians, whether to try any other diet. There’s so much fun and discoveries to talk about, and that surely is a great conversational topic. Still, I miss the ambition of striving for a win-win solution.

When I told my friends about Modern Meadow, a culturing cells research project, everyone stared at me like I came from Utopia. I asked them to reconsider their opinions with this new piece of information. No way. Where they just scared of such a futuristic perspective blowing away all of their ethical positions, suddenly so out of date?



I believe in win-win solutions. I believe we may solve any big technical issue, given the tools we are empowered by nowadays. This is what I call innovation. But there’s a huge amount of mental energy and monetary resources blocked by our fear to question basic assumptions. We ain’t tools to overcome self-imposed obstacles. We need a new attitude.

To everyone who’s not demanding from him/herself and from people around him or her to rethink what’s taken for granted: you’re not helping the world to develop. You are not less a valuable person, but I won’t support you while affirming you’re acting for a better cause. I won’t support you while pretending to polarize opinions for good’s sake.

Being vegetarian is cool until it makes you feel good and less ashamed about the negative impact mankind seems to have on planet Earth. Plan to be vegetarian until new technologies won’t be developed and appropriately tested. But please do not tease who’s coming up with alternative solutions. What we really need is people who are able to think inclusively, to convince themselves that choosing out of a scarcity mindset is not a conscious choice.


Enjoy the title’s inspirational source!


[…] he has been searching for patterns in what affects people’s “inner” lives the most dramatically. The answer, it turned out, is simply progress. A sense of forward motion. Regardless how small. Minor victories at work were nearly as psychologically powerful as major breakthroughs.

Shane Snow

At this point of the reading, I remembered my dropped-by practice of the Five Minute Journal. That practice was great, but I somehow stopped doing that. (I ended up having a short reminder about habits and how to not stressfully deal with them at

The important breakthrough was, I started to see progress as a sense of motion. But how could I tell if the motion is actually forward? I like to think about time as a spiral…how does forward motion fit into such a view of time? What about backward motion, for example? I’m referring to that dreadful quote, saying “If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward”.

Backward motion is to pick-up old reactions in order to respond to present circumstances. Going forward is the ability of successfully addressing what the present moment requires. Going together with time is a way of moving forward… have you ever thought about the fact that human beings can only see what stands in front of them? I believe this biological issue is strictly related with the psychology of progress.

Every time I respond to any situation in a slightly better way, every time I can feel a little better than usual about any kind of idea or event I am facing in the moment – that is progress.

Innovation is about doing something differently rather than creating something from nothing (invention) or doing the same thing better (improvement).


You don’t have to do something Bigger or Better to be happy. Just have to keep moving.

Shane Snow

How do I relate progress to simple change? That’s a tough question. I see the improvement (doing the same thing better) as the very beginning of change and innovation (doing something differently). In fact, perceiving a standard event with different emotional engagement is a change. I would call it improvement, if it makes me feel better. But the real point is, it is not enough. Moon walkers got depressed because doing Better was far an impossible task. They just had to keep going with what was coming up next. Probably the Better I’m talking about it is not task-related. Is something that is much more life-related. Little things and big deals. Here it is where mindfulness arises as a full answer to complex issues. Gotta go to practice. Now.