Wednesday, August 22, 2012


"life feeds on life, feeds on life, feeds on life - this is necessary"
 from Disgustipated by Tool

You are not your body. You are a parasite. The self, the self-aware pattern is only the mind, not even the brain itself except in its closer purpose to prolonging the pattern between neurons, between matter. Everything else, hands, eyes, feet and genitals, exists as it does for other life, and it is expendable to the self; no other life has resulted in self and the self owes nothing to the grand concept of life.

It's a wonder that this doesn't come up in discussions (ok, slogan-shouting) by vegetarians. The cries of the carrots are not the surest means of debunking the 'all life is sacred' mentality. We have a simple, physical, thermodynamic need to keep destroying complex organic compounds acquired through destroying other living beings. This is commonly pointed out. We ignore the fact that most of our own ape body is also alive and constantly sacrificed for our existence. Cows murder grass, sure, but the genitals of a cow, in their grand purpose of creating more cows, also constantly murder trillions upon trillions of skin cells, gut lining, blood cells and other appendages of the cow's own body. Predation and parasitism, murder and exploitation, began when we were still unicellular. The cells which make possible our existence as thought patterns feed on the other cells of our body. Nature does not create or imply morality.

So, as always the thorny question: where do you draw the line? I've tasted both foie gras and simple foie. I must admit that usually when i get a hankerin' fer goose liver, the extra-buttery taste and texture of foie gras does not justify the pain felt by a goose as its internal organs crush each other for weeks on end. I do not however, regret eating it as a delicacy a few times in my life. A goose is not my equal. It is in fact a fairly stupid animal. I cannot condone torturing geese for my enjoyment on a day-to-day basis, but the minor personal growth afforded by the experience of eating foie gras once or twice in my life weighs evenly enough against my share of guilt in the physical suffering of a couple of geese.

I sometimes think that if the pile of self-delusional nonsense commonly known as religion were to have some explanation, it could only be this. We are geese to gods, and all our suffering is just the fattening of our souls for tastier consumption. What gluttons gods would be then, to need so much human misery.

Divine digressions aside, the same precept of balance holds true in society. The desires of superior individuals must be weighed against their superiority. We must be careful in deciding whether the quirks and demands of a Napoleon, Newton, Socrates or Alexander are worth their contribution to our lives. The twist is that of course, inferior minds cannot be trusted to determine the value of superior minds. We are left with the ideal of democracy to ensure that no ubermensch eats more than his fill.

Where am i going with this? Nowhere really, because the whole thing gets pretty damn circular. Gotta let superior minds determine who are superior minds who then determine the best course of action for everyone but which must be approved by inferior minds who, let's face it, have to live in this world too. That course of action would ideally lead to improved quality of life and intellectual advancement which would increase the proportion of superior to inferior minds.

Thorny problem though: we're out of that circle now. It's a bad penny with no flipside, just two losing tosses. One: thanks to mass-media brainwashing and political pandering, we have a system designed to let inferior minds out-breed, out-shout and out-vote their betters. Two: consumerism and capitalism are philosophies of excess, so even when abuses of power do happen, they are lauded instead of scrutinized. See American expansionism in the past decade.

There is a way out of it and that's to keep encouraging individual thought, resistance to external control. It's damn near impossible to get the average idiot to think. It may still be possible to get most people to be too durned ornery to be led by the nose in too large numbers at a time. It's not much but it keeps the door open. We have to resist the idea that those little people out there are somebody's by definition. Nature, the law of the jungle, does not create or imply morality. They have to be their own until someone comes up with the right way to oppress them, until the necessity can be defined. The self-serving greed and sadism of bureaucrats and capitalists ain't it. They are not calculated predators. They are petty scavengers living off sheer destruction. If you don't believe me, there are quite a few shanty-towns and landfills worth visiting just a dozen miles outside the richest cities.

Yes, it's an old conclusion, but i'm very amused at being able to reach it from a standpoint that's not normally considered, inspired by a song. When i started this post, i thought i'd be making the opposite argument. Peace, reverend Maynard.

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