Friday, July 07, 2006
but we are too wrapped up in conveniences
or even be aware of it
how many animals are used as we please
to serve our whims and 'needs'
how many vehicles pumping poison into the air
and into our bodies
go to work and make money
spend it on luxuries
to make your neighbor envious
to make him covetous of what you've got
and what the others do not
we in the opulent west
accept fast food and car advertisements
as a natural way of life
it doesn't have to be this way
it is so because we've made it
we must stop the madness of property
the lunacy of profit
of ripping others off
capitalism is not fair exchange
there really is only one arrangement
for all people to live in harmony
with one another and the rest of the living world
believing the truth of concern
for all sentient beings
of existing while causing the least amount of harm
we are creatures capable of guilt
of reflecting upon our actions
perhaps the universe is moral
i don't know
but i know i am
and you are
stop justifying your cruelty
it need not be
today or tomorrow
the dream is this
the larvae and the leopard
the disciple and the shepherd
shall exist together
not in conflict but in unity
it could be if we want it
if we all woke up and got it
it's all really very simple
and the solution is this
what do we need
we can do without this
we can live without that
if one being who is capable of suffering
we must lavish attention
with real love and devotion
no one is an outsider
in a closed universe
no one need feel unloved
in a field of blue grama grass
underneath white puffy cumulus clouds
breathing in the unpolluted air
all observances are no longer observed
unquestioned traditions are wholly absurd
that one looks like australia
and that one looks like europe
the whole world is above us
no longer in fear
she is in love with us
it's a vision that could be
it's a way of life that should be
that would be
if we weren't so greedy
some folks live above us
and some of them live below
some people read the tao te ching
but others take longer to know
some people look for love
at the bottom of a bottle of gin
some people find their path
on the road that never lets 'em in
it doesn't have to be this way
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
how many would consider having the opportunity to contemplate the wonder of life to be a luxury? unfortunately too often for a great number of beings, all their time is spent wondering where their next meal is going to come from, or where they are going to sleep tonight or why am i trapped in this cage without being able to turn around. what is it we hope to achieve for ourselves while causing so many billions of living beings unbelievable horrors? why do we choose to turn a blind eye to their suffering and think the sky has fallen in on us when our favorite sports franchise has not brought home some cherished chalice?
what is it that occupies our belief system? is the world nothing more than causing others to suffer and then have suffering to endure yourself?
it is nice to have someone or something to blame for all the hardship in the world and god is the ultimate scapegoat. is he to blame for the cruelty of nature and for the holocaust? how come man is never to blame for any of the pain and suffering he inflicts? suppose for a moment there is no god, are we then responsible for the choices we make or is our DNA to blame?
let's say that from this moment on we stop. we stop retaliating, we stop pretending that we are not a part of the problem of air pollution, of water pollution, of human overpopulation, of war, of indifference to homeless people, of the cruelty inflicted on farm animals when we destroy their lives for food, of the millions of animals tortured so we may have another cosmetic item, of using animals to serve our medical needs so that we may continue to consume foods which give us cancer or heart problems or that we may continue to smoke or drive cars or the myriad other unhealthy lifestyle choices we make.
it's not god that is cruel or nature, and even if we think that these things are cruel we are certainly more than qualified to make that determination and recognize cruelty. the problem is we are shifting the blame away from ourselves and transfering it onto another entity. if we recognize an act of god as cruel or an act of nature as causing harm how much more cruel is it when a human consciously makes the choice to hurt another living being or to turn away from the harm which is caused.
if we are not aware we are causing others to suffer you would think that once we become aware we would find alternative methods of doing whatever it is we do in order to minimize the harm caused. sadly however, this does not seem to be the case. for even when confronted with the problem we may theoretically agree that the harm we cause ought to be lessened, too often overriding desires become more important to us. our conveniences outweigh the vital interests of billions of sentient beings. when will we learn
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
equal consideration of the interests of all beings
Veganism means refraining from the consumption of animals for food or the use of animal ingredients in clothing or any other products. It means avoiding all products which make use of animal testing.
Vegans believe that to intentionally cause harm to another living being is morally indefensible; that all sentient creatures have a right to live their lives free from harm that people infict upon them. Humans do not need to consume any animal products to sustain a healthy, happy and active lifestyle. In fact, many vegans are substantially healthier that those who eat animals or their byproducts however the primary reason for veganism is not the health of the individual person but the health of the animals who are not killed for food, exploited for their skin, fur, bones etc. or used against their will in countless experiments.
There are many alternatives to using animals for food, clothing or various other products. Fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and soy products are, in addition to being delicious, all the body needs with regard to proper nutrition. There are synthetic materials available for clothes which again obviates the need for any animal products.
There are also many safer methods, both for ourselves and certainly for the animals, to test for the safety of various goods and the reliability of drugs. The main problem, aside from the immorality of using animals as mere tools for our benefit, is the difficulty if not the impossibility of extrapolating the data obtained from these tests on nonhumans to humans.
Anarchists believe in the autonomy of the individual. They believe in self-government. They seek to obtain a just balance between personal freedom and social responsibility without the external constraints of artificially imposed rules and regulations that protect the strong at the expense of the more vulnerable.
To be an anarchist means living ones life in such a way that one is aware of the suffering of others. An anarchist believes that one should always be mindful of the choices he or she makes so as to minimize the harm that could be caused to another person. This would mean avoiding those products or companies which make use of unfair labor practices (eg sweatshops). It means not supporting military action to resolve conflicts. It means repudiating the use of retaliatory violence which can only lead to more revenge and bloodshed.
There are many goods and services available to an individual which enable him or her to maintain a comfortable lifestyle which need not cause suffering to other people. Do not support those businesses which profit at the expense of the suffering of another. Buy clothes from stores which do not use sweatshop labor or amass tremendous profit on the backs of the toil of their employees.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
independent thinking can be scattered and chaotic without the twin disciplines of logic and compassion. without basing inferences on premises known to be true people can engage in very dangerous and foolhardy activities. the problem is how to know what the truth is. whatever we believe is real, whatever we are convinced is fact becomes for us the truth, but whether or not we believe in something, the real truth, which is often quite independent of people grasping it, nevertheless exists.
the truth of any situation and whether an action is right or wrong must depend on the circumstances one finds himself in. very often what is wrong in one situation is right in another and vice versa. if one can apply kant's categorical imperative to his particular situation at that particular time chances are very good he will arrive at the rational and correct decision. the imperative states 'always act by that maxim through which you can at the same time will to become a universal law'. if all were to act as you in this situation how would the world be? is this something you would have all people do? would it be the best action for anyone to engage in who finds himself in this particular situation? if you can answer these questions and feel assured that anyone in your situation could act this way and it would be the best for all those concerned then not only should you do the action but indeed you have an obligation to do the action.
it all comes down to this. do not do those things to others which they do not like just as you do not like to have those things done unto you which you do not like. our duties to all sentient beings are mainly negative ie refraining from performing a particular act which would cause harm, however, when we are in a position to lend aid to a being who is suffering we most assuredly ought to.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Time: 1966 12:30pm Friday June 24th
As Robin McDurly returns from the restroom he notices his friend, Sarah Joslyn, reach into her pocket and remove two blotters of LSD-25.
Robin: (sitting next to her on the sandy beach) Sarah, is it now time to fly?
Sarah: it's always time to fly Robin it's the way we make the angels cry
Robin: then let the old ways die and the new waves begin
(she gives him one blotter as she places the other irreversibly on her tongue and swallows. Robin swallows his and the festival is at hand)
Robin: perhaps this is the time (a harmonica can be heard in the distance playing no discernable song but the melody is falling upon their ears like a shooting star amid the sound of the ocean) maybe this is the only time
Sarah: It's all so very simple, the wind, the cool heart of the waters beating, the gossamer sky all around, the words, it's all music y'know
Robin: The words of the....(he thinks to himself in moment which lasted a year if it were a second...
how can I write anything without experiencing anything in that moment. the memory is gone, That time is before.
I will write about this moment
Setting: the pale yellow basement amid reminders of duties, past mistakes and present happenings of a typical house on a rainy street in a town too big to be clean and too small to be important.
the music playing on the harmonica is vaguely american psychedelia and the air is pungent with old socks and spring lilacs.
a thought occurs...if I met Janis Joplin and a Nazi Zepplin. The influences of one in turn influence another.
food gets caught between the teeth a puzzled look crosses the mind an itch in the ear an itch in the eye now an imagned itch alover altogether
a scratchy beard
the blink of the eyes and the music resumes
the sunlight is good for us cause we're the fishes and all we do
is move about
a drink gets tasted
and another itch becomes a lower back problem
my harmonica is filled with things
a fart gets blown and the smell is god awful
the feeling of piss bloats the bladder
with each clear of the throat the visions of the moat grow more vivid
a memeory a thought a misspleed word
so many itches
how many in a moment count now do you feel one
a san francisco map northbeach was found
neal cassady was bound to go furthur
michael learned and the beach boys
the music slows and becomes ...
my memeory is fading...
capns lock for big letters
the mind is active but so is the environment
who needs government
so much control so little we know
gravity folds a shirt hanging on the clothes rack
not another itch crawling down my...whats that
you say the wind is low
it is a low wind
who knows the wind
where does it blow
a jazzy number
lost and lonely amid the the noontime twilight
summer is here its always here depending on where you are
whats more important
thoughts or the external envionment
you can't stifle a beat
it will arise again in a different form
a beat is a beat before it was ever repleat with words
of that i can assure
and the music plays
the itchy back remains
a piss needs to be taken
another good idea is mistaken
a scintillating notion
a divinely potent...
a combinely frozen synthesis
the star map on the wall is two
the printer on my right
janis tries a little bit harder
she gives it to ya
i got them old cosmic blues again mama
you've never had it so good
janis joplin...indescribably delicious
the moment is sound
the moment is around
the moment is visual
the moment is gustatory
telling so many stories
of what we injest
ahhh please the rest outside the door
I can't take no more
the ruins become renovated
the newly constructed becomes delapitated
my heros head is decapitated
and resting on my lap
a stomach churns
and the child learns what to avoid
the stories abound amid the colorful boxes
with bursts of devotion and fits of intoxification
a pen points west north west
its ink waiting to be deployed in some fruitful adventure
or some indolant reminder
turn turn turn
mr tamborine man is from the book of daniel
1 2 3 numbers calibrate
a bc the letters enumerate
creation or destruction
a warm drink is better than no drink
a dirty white sanyo telephone with micrologic attributes
a mini globe of the constellations with some of them missing (conspicuously)
a mug full of pens half empty
(the pens not the mug)
a coil binder longing to be written in
and all along the air is still...
air the thread of time weaving through
steven hawking is wrong
the universe had no beginning
how could it?
each day is depleted
each moment is as we leave it
only in those who have the capacity
everything has memory
who says life is life
some bullshit musical idiot whose name escapes me
probably the kinks
i hate the kinks
i'm not sure why
but i think it has something to do with the name
the members of the band the music their country of origin
so many reasons for hating so very few for loving
why ought one love
the shadow lies still
until it's animated by it's host
humans are a vector for the trees
to disperse their seeds
and contribute to their biomass
everything written and spoken
is but a camel and a token
for all the dinners you had
and all the death you consumed
words aren't meant to be spoken
they're meant to be wheeled
as soon as their gotten
neal cassady was a fucking genius
a verbal jazz pianist
the noble prince of keseiness
the sun sets
and the daytime rests
waiting for tomorrow to fall
the stars come out
of poitillistic pall
each sunset is like the next
brides in flight
each sunrise has gone before
she rises and sighses
like it's all a trial
she smiles shes kidding
shes beridding the baggage
the lost saggage of her olden days
and so she crawls and forestalls
the future into her pastersbys
they don't know her anyway
but how could they
why should they
it's all a little...
dum dee dee dum dee diddle dee dum
she flies with no particular place to go
she doesn't even know
its her alone and there is nothing to worry her anyway
her body and eyes can see her come out and play
the slide in the park where it's dark
used to frighten her all the time
but now she is old and it only enlightens her in her believable mind
it's all okay
i think she will stay
i think she will say it's a play
la la la la la la lalalalala la
it's all alright to me
there's a vibe in the middle
there's a vibe on the coast
there's a vibe on the ripples
of the pubicisoap
my foot is in a cast
and the cast of characters refuses
to partake in the show
it's a play about her y'now
suppose for a moment
the city sticks out like a whore nun
like a door wrung
of it's old hinges
like a song sung of it's adjectives
it's all alone y'know
she said i said she lied on the beach and said she was dead
the seagulls ring and the beachboys bring the summer again
the same old refrain
dit dit dit, dit dit, dit dit doo
who says people are bound to be used
who said such a thing is liable to be sued
by the time it catches on
it's too late the moment's gone instead)
Robin: ...letters are so silly y'know
Sarah: of course...they are all around us. I see them all the time. Dancing, weaving amongst the trees like the spirit of a dead redwood haunting the forest looking for it's stump.
maybe I don't need a home.
maybe the whole world is my home.
the greener grasses of hope ought to be the impetus of movement..
the more you know your own position the less you can know your velocity.
the more you know your velocity the less you can know your position.
what the hell does that mean?
i'm uncertain, but it doesn't matter.
what matters is hope, a desire.
the buddhists have got it wrong.
desire is not the cause of all suffering it's the cause of life's migration toward something better
something more creative.
each individual is his or her or its own God
a creator of his own life his own surroundings.
we are not slaves to our past or to our genes
or for that matter we are not slaves to the future to what we think is so liable to happen.
now is the only time we have to make things good and right for ourselves
and here is connected to everywhere and thats where i want to be...everywhere.
What will you eat where will you sleep and then there's the little matter of money?
I'll eat what I can when I feel hungry and if there is nothing available i'll go without people eat too much anyway. When I get tired i'll find a quiet place where i can sleep as far as money goes I'll sell everything I own and go from there.
Imagine no possessions?
No just the least amount necessary for one's happiness.
And if i need money beyond that, which i'm sure i probably will, i'll work at odd jobs here and there to make enough money to move on. You know like washing dishes if i have to or waiting tables or building the odd chapel for a group of nuns here and there
so thats it then you're really gonna do this?
Why not life as far as we know only comes around once and even if it comes around more than that we might as well make the most of it each time while at the same time causing the least amount of harm to all those other beings who are trying to do the same as you
the same as you...which is?
Locating their fair advantage, you know
trying to find their place their niche their happiness i suppose.
You could get awfully dirty
maybe but there's campgrounds around where i could shower every now and again
what about your clothes?
What about 'em. I don't need much. a few shirts some underwear, socks a couple pairs of pants a pair of shorts there's places i can do laundry, it'll be fine.
Why now or why at all?
I'm sick and getting sicker
Not necessarily from, although that certainly is an interesting question, but it's more of...
of the noise of the smells of man made decay
and yes it is actually making me and you and everyone physically as well as psychologically sick.
You can't go outside for more than two minutes on any given day in this city or any city for that matter and not be bombarded with car exhaust, hissing tires, roaring engines or all assortments of man's destructive machines. Bombarded with mans hatred of all things wild and untamed and his insatiable lust for control over living beings, for dominance over all other animals and plants that try to get a foothold in any available crevice he has left untouched or neglected to fill in with poison or cement. This creation man is evil and if God has any kind of conscience He must surely grieve over this piece of work called mankind. Man kind?
So are you travelling toward some place in particular where this pollution does not exist or just away from where it does?
Perhaps both. I'm not saying I'll wander forever but for however long i bounce i just want to bounce into a place where i'm surrounded by things, people, an environment a little less thoughtless and cruel.
But didn't you just say man is inherently evil or words to that effect?
Yea...but perhaps he doesn't have to be
so if he doesn't have to be why not change your present environment by attempting to enlighten those around you of a better way to live with one another?
I've tried but either no one listens and thinks of me as some kind of flake or I just end up yelling either to them but mostly alone out of earshot about what ignorant assholes they are. No... i'm not the world's savior or even my community's redeemer. I'm no teacher or guide or even role model for that matter.
I'm tired of trying to change my current surroundings to suit me, so i'm going...
Wait I thought you said that each individual was a creator of his own life his own surroundings?
Sure, he is, he can change those things in his environment to suit him or he can change his life by doing what I plan to do, to see if i can find some other surroundings where i can feel and be more at ease with the world
and turn your back on suffering and leave behind a mess for others to worry about?
I can't be held responsible for this shit city i was born into and i sure as fuck can't be held responsible for trying to change it
i'm not saying you alone but jesus christ if you feel so strongly that what is going on around you is wrong and harmful don't you have some kind of obligation to at least try to stop it. I mean if you saw a group of bullies beating up a child wouldn't you intervene or at least notify others so they could put an end to it?
If i saw a group of bullies beating up a child then yes certainly i would try to stop them somehow but when you have hundreds of thousands of bullies beating up your local living world one tends to become a little overwhelmed and just wants to go somewhere where he can find like minded people who see the wrongness of it...so in that respect perhaps i am getting help by joining these like minded people wherever they may be to let them know how it is in the area i came from
and together we can find ways to prevent these bullies from doing what bullies do best which is taking advantage of others for their own personal gain without regard for the others' interests.
So your leaving is strictly for altruistic rather than egoistic reasons?
I care for the happiness of myself and for other beings as well so i guess i'm an egoistic altruist.
look, the bottom line is, i've lived here all my life and now i want there, wherever there is, to be here and tomorrow to be now until the day i die and quite frankly I would rather die in the wilderness than serve my master.
my master, your master, everyone's master. the economy, ownership, culture, tradition, God, the state...shall I go on?
and being on the road will rid you of your masters clutch?
perhaps it may lessen his hold
so it's freedom your after?
more an avoidance of control or rather a hearty hiyo fuck you to all those people and things, all those mental hang ups that prevent me from doing what i ought to do with this precious gift of life.
what kind of hang ups?
I don't know, you know like go to school or get a job, a career, survival of the fittest, be greedy, or fear
fear of death or worse of pain, of poverty, of looking weird of not being liked...I'm tired of being afraid.I mean I suppose a certain amount of fear or caution is necessary for any risky action but when it becomes crippling and prevents you from taking action then it's time to snap out of your comfortable funk, which more often than not is quite an uncomfortable funk, and become alive for Christ's sake you know. I mean Jesus all life is chance or at least taking a chance, where would we be now if Darwin never took a chance and sailed on the Beagle around the globe to solidify his theory of common descent, or if Martin Luther King never took a risk and stood up for civil rights or going back further if the first mitochondria or chloroplast never had a symbiotic relationship with some prokaryotic cell. Life involves risk and anytime fear of looking stupid prevents you from achieving your dream you have just destroyed another potential flowering of a beautiful existence.
so is this trip you're Beagle?
this trip is more than a trip and this journey is not simply an exploration, its an experience.
and the experience begins now.
well I hope you find or lose what you seek or have..or something like that.
this shell is already cracking, the skin is shedding now let's forget the way it's supposed to be and begin to learn anew...like a child enamoured by his senses and soaking up his world for the first time. Hey, why don't you come with me?
responsibilities you know.
toward who.. toward what
my job, my family, myself.
hey look man, I don't want to force you into doing anything you really don't want to do but in a couple of weeks after i sell all my shit i'm hittin the open road baby and I 'aint lookin' back and I'd like you to come with me...so, you know, just think about it okay?
ha, yea sure.
so anyway, I put an ad in this week's paper for a garage sale, actually more of an apartment sale, and put up a bunch of messages and so forth around town, so starting tomorrow all my furniture, cd's, dishes everything it's going
what about all your books?
those too, gone except for three
okay I'll bite...which three?
In defense of animals, because it's the reason I became a vegan and it holds a special place for me, Shelley's prose and rounding it out the Electric kool-aid acid test just because I'm reading that now and I want to see what happens.
ahhh the Merry Pranksters.
that's right Radar
I didn't say ahhh Bach
hee hee hee well I gotta split, so listen I shall give you a dingle tomorrow after my FINAL DAY OF WORK and we'll go out for a bite to eat, alright?
yea you bet, sounds good.
Alright talk to you later man bye bye
(I overheard this conversation like I have all his conversations with himself and with others ever since he came into this world some forty odd years ago. What made this chatter unique was it was one of the few times in recent memory he actually meant what he said and collected his remaining neurons in a compact arrangement, utilizing them to their fullest capacity and logically and wholly with complete devotion to principle began an experiment in destiny, which would not alter his life in any way given he has no free will or any real choices given the laws of physics and biology, but it would reveal a dimension to his cowardly being which previously was lacking up to this point.and which he was entirely unaware of. Who am I? Who is he? Right now these questions are not as important as what will happen in the next few weeks to his and my unutterably tedious existence. This is merely the introduction to his and my real beginning. His friend was too deeply wrecked by his own incorporation to be able to muster the energy of now, to create his own life and join him so our hero, ahem, chose to go it alone and it's a good thing he did for that was all he could do. Our story picks up as he crosses the border into Montana from Alberta in a 1969 VW van at the port of Peigan. Little does he realize
he has forgotten one extremely important item back home in Edmonton which as it turned out was quite a stroke of fate because it did in fact save his life as we shall presently see)
Good afternoon sir, could I please see some identification
Certainly, I'll just give you my drivers license
(as he unzipped the side pocket of his favorite pair of cargo shorts and removed his wallet a most peculiar notion occurred to him, wouldn't it be funny, he thought, if instead of giving him my drivers license I reached into my pocket and then upon taking my hand out I gave him the finger. While he was pondering this he mistakenly gave the border guard his novelty Osama Bin Laden drivers license)
sir this is not a valid drivers license. could you please pull around to the front of the building into stall number five.
oh wait sorry uhh here is my...
(but not only did he not have his real drivers license with him [being so pumped about leaving he had both the novelty DL and the real one on the table and given the remarkable similarity between the two he grabbed the wrong one in his haste] which he doesn't realize yet, he also has in his wallet a curious little item which the authorities might find extremely interesting to say the least. He pulls into stall five and exiting the van
he opens his wallet to try to locate his actual DL when lo and behold he discovers a joke application form for an al qaeda Edmonton chapter terrorist cell which his friend planted in his wallet in his jacket on the day they went out for a bite to eat when our protagonist got up to go to the washroom)
what the fuck (he loudly whispers in pants shitting amazement)
(he quickly tries to stick the form in his pocket when off in the distance he sees a semi-trailer racing out of control on the Montana side of the border smashing two cars waiting in line to cross into Canada. The semi-trailer is carrying a highly radioactive and extremely flammable or perhaps inflammable substance. A huge explosion occurs throwing our hero a fair distance away, I would say about maybe 100 feet or so, and he lands in a field of rye which is infected with ergot. Had he had his real DL with him the border guard would have let him through and the semi-trailer would have struck his van killing him instantly. Instead our hero's life has been spared although he is now a paraplegic, and because of the ergot rye which he ingested as he was laying face down in the field, he is also viewing the world in a most fragmented form which coincidentally is also the form in which I see it. Who am I you ask again? I am your FUCKING destiny freak!
many people believe that it is our dog given right to have children, indeed it is our obligation. they believe that to make the world a better place we must fill it up with more humans to find solutions to the problems created by those already existing. in many ways it is similar to defiling an area where you live then going somewhere else to leave the problem for someone else to take care of. there are many areas of the world that are overpopulated, there are many that are underpopulated. perhaps the population of many western nations is stabilizing but there are many others that are growing at phenomenal rates. are the underpopulated countries willing to allow those from the overpopulated to reside in their country? are the wealthy nations willing to allow those from the poorer countries to come in and make a home? look at what is happening in the u.s. with people fom mexico wanting to come over the border into america. perhaps instead of selfishly filling the world with humans of our choice, the ones that spring from our bodies, we ought to have that same compassion for every being on this planet like we do for 'our own' children and attempt reconciliation and understanding with the people of the earth who already exist rather than tossing more fuel on the fire by filling it up with more humans, vegan or nonvegan.
addendum: if one is 'offended' by the term breeder, calling one by a prettier name does not take way from the fact that that is precisely what they are. a rose by any other name
Let us for a moment imagine that we know nothing of our past. We know nothing of evolution or of the ways and wants of God. What then do we know? We know pain. We know it is something that when it occurs it is unpleasant and we want it to be discontinued and not to occur again. This is what we know of ourselves (if we are not masochists). When we experience something painful our behavior reveals our feeling of discomfort. If others act or react in a similar way, it is reasonable to infer that what they are experiencing is something undesirable. Even if humans or nonhuman animals are pretending to be in pain, they are still using that kind of behavior which experience tells them is indicative of those who are suffering pain. So whether we are actually in pain or just pretending to be in pain, our behavior reveals what pain looks like. In fact, all behavior (whether consciously or involuntarily expressing pain, pleasure, hatred or love) is an external illustration of an internal disposition in much the same way that the sounds and symbols a human would refer to as language and writing when describing her own species (but inane utterances and instinct when referring to nonhumans) are an external communication of an internal idea. We do not then like to experience those things which cause us harm and with sympathy and reason we can make the determination that others too do not like to have things done to them which cause them harm. This we know to be true of ourselves and others.
Now who but the most die-hard Cartesian1 would make the determination that a nonhuman animal does not experience pain in a similar way that a human does when she is reacting in a way not so different from how we would act in a comparable situation? We need not have any detailed knowledge of anatomy and physiology to know that when we see a dog or a cat or a cow or a bird limp or cry out vociferously in such a manner that is unusual for her normal way of being2 that the animal is in distress and experiencing something unpleasant and would, just as we would, desire it to be discontinued.
Why should we therefore deliberately cause suffering to another human or nonhuman being who is capable of suffering, when that suffering in no way contributes to that individual's well-being? Some may argue that the suffering caused is necessary to serve our (individual, "race", national, "species") end, whatever that end may be: be it to create wealth for us or protect ourselves from some real or misperceived danger or to serve as food. The question then arises, what makes our position in the universe more important than the position of those we inflict suffering upon? If moral progress or kindness or compassion is to have any meaning at all it must mean that we consider all beings' suffering, whether they walk on two legs or four legs, fly in the air, creep on the ground or swim in the water, as just as important as our own suffering. If something is absolutely necessary for our well-being, like food consumption, then let us consume in such a way that causes the least amount of suffering to others. If shelter and clothing are absolutely necessary then let us house ourselves and clothe ourselves in such a way that causes the least amount of suffering to other beings. Whatever the activity let us perform it with the same kind of mindfulness that causes the least amount of harm to other beings just as we ourselves desire to live a life where we experience the least amount of suffering to our own persons.
When once we gain a clear perception of the wrongness of causing harm to other beings, we ourselves will not only no longer want to take part in this injustice, but we will also seek to actively help those who are suffering. What criterion should we use to determine what kind of help we ought to employ? The criterion for all thought and action is that which accords with the demands of justice. Justice being defined, according to Martin Luther King Jr., as love correcting everything that stands against love3. If we have a surplus, or if we have the means and talents to help those who are not so fortunately endowed as we are, then the demands of loving justice make it incumbent upon us to do for them as we ourselves would like to have done for us under similar circumstances.
If this idea, this belief, this clear perception of the wrongness of causing harm to other beings and the rightness of helping those who are suffering becomes apparent to all people, then all people will no longer accept the injustice of doing otherwise. Slavery of humans is now understood to be a harmful institution, which we ought not subject one another to, because it was realized that using people merely as means to serve the ends of others is unjust. In the same way, our conception of the slavery of nonhuman animals to serve the human end, as an acceptable way to treat these sentient beings, cannot be maintained and will pass to oblivion because it is unjust. Injustice, like any imbalance, is not sustainable. A just weight is inevitable when we no longer express indifference to the suffering of those around us but use empathy and reason as a lantern to illuminate our path toward a more fair and caring world.
1 a follower of Rene Descartes, the seventeenth century philosopher and mathematician who suggested that nonhuman animals were simply mechanized automatons incapable of feeling
2 we can determine "normal way of being" for these individuals through prolonged observation using our five senses
3 p578 "Testament of Hope", 1991. The entire quote is " Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love."
Monday, June 05, 2006
yes certainly being a vegan minimizes one's impact on the planet but if the worst thing that has happened to a vegan breeder today is that her feelings have been hurt because someone has implied that she was a part of the problem of overpopulation, GROW UP for christ's sake thank fuck you're not a part of the millions of animals everyday who are losing a home to human expansion, thank the lord dog almighty you are not a battery chicken or a veal calf. how in the hell is it out of order to say to someone who is having children to consider the impact this sprog will have on the planet. again if i am to put myself in the position of an animal left without land i would say precisely what i said today.
i do not hate children there are just way too many people in this world and we are all suffering for it. by the way i made the comment that perhaps we should put this in the "breeders who are a part of the problem of human overpopulation but don't want to be confronted by it" category, well let me tell you, suddenly the shit hit the fan. who wants to admit that they are not the great thoughtful people they thought they were and indeed play a role in many of the problems which surround them. are all people who have children a part of the problem? let me just say, here in the middle class to rich west we are very comfortable with our exploitation of the rest of the world or even our own backyard for that matter. we can make the choice to breed or not to breed. and we are all so happy when we have a new addition to our little happy family. so keep driving your SUV sweet pea keep working on your race of atomic supermen because whether you like it or not and whether i'm here to throw it in your face or not, the problem of human overpopulation will always exist if people continue to breed. then when misery and vice rears it's ugly head i'll be shaking mine saying, 'fucking selfish breeders'.
as long as my family is taken care of fuck it, it's natural. okay then if it's natural get pregnant every 10 months and see how enjoyable that is, hey it's natural. just because something is natural that does not make it desirable or beneficial.
so look the bottom line is this, think, do the right and kind thing, care about the impact your decisions are going to have on all other creatures on earth including humans.we do many hurtful things to other beings without even realizing it and yes over breeding is THE major issue confronting us today. I am sorry if i offended you, it was not my intention but when one is a voice for the animals he will indubitably offend people, whether vegan or nonvegan.
that is all.....for now
many people love cute animals. we like fluffy kittens and adorable puppies, little furry creatures of the forest and so forth. we like to hear stories of rescued animals; a goose freed from the ice on a frozen lake; a beached whale being hoisted back into the ocean (beached probably because he was attempiting to escape the unbearable sonar frequencies underwater) ; or a cat rescued from a tree. all these creatures we consider to be pretty animals and enjoy admiring them just as we enjoy the aesthetic pleasure we receive from the pretty plants that we adorn our gardens and living rooms with.
but what about the ugly animals and plants? why is it that we find some animals attractive and some plants desirable and others hideous and unappealing? do these so called ugly beings not deserve a fair shot at existence too without our attempting to eradicate them, especially in the case of what people have deemed to be...WEEDS 'ARRRRGGGGG , not a weed, kill it, get rid of it, poison it!'?
I am a vegan not because i love animals (which of course i do) or because of their appearance but because i respect the fact that they are individuals who are capable of having a good of their own (ie things can fair well for them or things can go badly for them). they are beings capable of experiencing pain and suffering. our skewed sense of what we think is desirable leaves all those plants and animals (and many humans) who we have selected to be undesirable, on the outside of our circle of those we consider worthy of existing and so we eliminate them, perhaps not even directly by killing them but by ignoring them (which in many cases amounts to the same thing).
perhaps we should admire plants, people and nonhuman animals not so much for their external beauty or usefulness to us but rather come more to appreciate the fact that they too have an existence which like us simply wants to be.