Reverence for Life
To continue on with the theme of humans being incredibly smart and incredibly stupid at the same time, two ideas come to mind. One is the “food chain” idea where we know, and almost everyone knows that every form of life on earth depends upon other forms of life to live. It seems that this is not too difficult a concept to grasp. However as I ponder this concept, and think about society and customs, that simple truth seems to get lost. We are here because we eat other forms of life. And yet, to feed our delusion of grandeur, we do our best to shield our delicate psyches from that simple undeniable fact.
“Ethics is nothing other than Reverence for Life. Reverence for Life affords me my fundamental principle of morality, namely, that good consists in maintaining, assisting and enhancing life, and to destroy, to harm or to hinder life is evil.”
I am disturbingly aware of all of the death and suffering involved in bringing us to this current moment, but it appears that that fact may be eluding the average person. Our dissociation and delusion that we are somehow above all the riffraff and superior in all ways, causes us to virtually ignore the concept of reverence for life. Our society is based upon abundance and waste. Think about grocery stores. “In 2010, U.S. supermarkets and grocery stores threw out 43 billion pounds, or $46.7 billion worth, of food, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).” Try to imagine what happens to all that prepared food or slightly overly ripe produce that no longer sells, because we are presented with such abundance. Can you imagine how long it will take to change this custom of insisting that we be presented with unimaginable choices whilst shopping so that we can exercise our superior ability to discern which products to leave to rot while we smartly “pluck” only the ones at the pinnacle of “freshness”? Just ponder it a while, and let it sink in. This is just one example of how we shield ourselves from the truth.
“Standing, as all living beings are, before this dilemma of the will to live, a person is constantly forced to preserve his own life and life in general only at the cost of other life. If he has been touched by the ethic of reverence for life, he injures and destroys life only under a necessity he cannot avoid, and never from thoughtlessness.”
The second concept that we may be aware of is “symbiosis”. this is defined in wikipedia as a “close and often long-term interaction between two different biological species”. An idea of how to illustrate this is our discovery of bacteria. We become sick because of bacteria. The simple ignorant knee-jerk reaction to that truth is to therefore assume that all bacteria is bad. In fact, only a small fraction of bacteria is bad or harmful. Life as we know it depends upon bacteria. It is on our skin and in our stomachs and intestines. Hand sanitizers that kill 99% of all bacteria and over-use of antibiotics gives rise to “superbugs” or bacteria that is resistant, leaving us with no cure for certain infections.
So again , ponder these two concepts. Food chain, and symbiosis. Hopefully, it will lead to a glimmer of understanding that we are here only by the grace of everything under us and that being above only means that we depend upon more to exist.
The concept of striving ahead and pushing forward of 7 billion humans on this planet, most without reverence or regard for the simple truths and concepts that brought us here, is proof of the fact that we are still un-evolved and ignorant. We cannot go back and re-evolve, so we are currently stuck with our limited half evolved brains. We must use logic to overcome our desire for survival at the expense of nature. It is exactly like sawing off the branch that we are sitting on.