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What Meaning of Life?

June 21, 2011

I don’t understand all this fuss and fury by the animal rights people about killing.  It’s the most natural thing in the world.  Nature slaughters animals in astronomical numbers.  Death is more common than life in the natural world, but the two are so closely related in that twisted ball of worms we call life that they are probably just different aspects of the same phenomena.

Thousands, millions of sea turtle eggs are laid so that  scant dozens can survive to reach maturity.  Extravagant, enormous amounts of life squandered in a wager that enough will survive to preserve the species.  For what?  All those eggs laid to that for a couple of day’s, when they hatch, the gulls and fish can stuff themselves on baby turtles?  Only enough surviving to repeat the sordid business next year.  And those flies, the impossibly fragile ones that cloud streams at certain times of the year, mayflies and such.  Is their only destiny, purpose in their hour long life to reproduce and continue the nonsense so that trout may feast?

Is this whole business a system set to feed fish and birds?

We learn as we go how little we know about life on this planet.  New research puts the lie to old assumptions and we must admit that deer probably do dream and feel pain.  Still I think we limit ourselves with the simplicity of our questioning.  Should we begin asking if granite lives?  Does it think?

I’ve written elsewhere that the world is now so inter related that if I am to buy my Levis cheap at Walmart, there must be brutal child labor in Pakistan.  Their misery isn’t only necessary for my life style, but for my very survival.  Now I’m beginning to think that it’s organic, natural if discomforting, just like the turtle egg business.  Every human action affects the fabric of the world in some way.  Busting a new union in Romania is somehow connected to my making coffee in the morning, if I shift my weight from one leg to another I am somewhere causing pleasure or pain; maybe to a president, maybe to a dung beetle, but something somewhere.

This all makes me think that those Gaia people, the ones who claim that all life on earth is one interrelated organism, are on the right track, but I find little evidence that this is necessarily a good thing.  It seems to me more a machine we’re stuck in and there is not an English word sufficient to describe the worthlessness of an individual life, a blur of motion that for all practical purposes is merely an obstruction blocking the view.

In the view of this nihilism what can a person do?  I think it must be an individual effort, to each his own.  Everyone has to construct a life as best they can and build their morality, their philosophy and what they value.  Do not rely on dogma or the lessons of others.  Open your eyes, look around, consider the information and make up your own mind.

This is a rather tough and sort of existential stance (make up your own mind, decide what to do and accept the consequences, no excuses), and, I feel, incomplete as it takes the spiritual out of the conversation.  A flaw, but this position is a work in progress and I hope, as I learn, will blossom more fully.

In a sentence, I can find no point to life and think each must come up with his own or fall into despair.


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