"If the ordinary man may not discuss existence, why
should he be asked to conduct it?" - Chesterton
Definition of Life
Premise: Our culture, our
religions, our institutions and our laws are all being very HYPOCRITICAL
and DISHONEST in the way we define "life" and how we relate to it.
Below is an article, a polemic
written by Barrie Singleton, another spiritual warrior.
"It is well known that our
body-chemistry can be adversely affected by our mental state. How is
gestation–specifically the physical wellbeing of the foetus–affected
by a mother who does not want to carry, and give birth to, a child? This
is a lot more serious than stress-indigestion.
"A society that uses war to
solve differences; increasingly “successful” in preventing the “escape
of life function” from terribly shattered, mutilated and truncated
bodies; and one that uses similar expertise to condemn, barely viable,
premature births to a life of infirmity is, at best, confused and at
worst, evil. If all possible life is so valuable, why not invite a
copulating free-for-all among the young (possibly already under way)
"In the final analysis: do egg
and sperm, respectively, have the right to be brought together to create
a brief few decades of consciousness, trapped in an unreconstructed ape,
above all other considerations? Or do they have equal (or greater) right
to be left in un-quickened bliss? What of all the sperm destined (in
natural terms intended) to be
sacrificed, and eggs likewise? Do they not have some bearing? Nature, it
seems, has no qualms about non-expression of potential, any more than
she has over the ejection of “errors”.
"Having, apparently, culturally decided that unconscious, and barely
conscious, foetuses deserve absolute respect, how do we justify the many
indignities that our culture inflicts on the already-made-conscious,
namely: babies (urging mother back to work) toddlers (further denial of
mother through pre-school) young kids (more school that crushes the less
able) and teenagers (accent on academic learning wholly unsuited to some)?
"Then there is child neglect
and abuse and wars with their mutilation, rape and terror.
What of the far end of life when the misery of Alzheimer’s and dementia,
etc, impinges on all concerned, while our culture denies release except
through starvation to prison-camp-cadaver; and then only if the
necessary criterion of terminal illness is fulfilled? This is
imprisonment of an–often proud–spirit in an all-too-often useless
body. As the saying goes: “You wouldn’t wish it on a dog”–and the
telling fact is, you don’t–the dog gets merciful release! And on the
subject of imprisonment: nominal adults of all ages, often in
pre-existing mental anguish, are put into prisons for failing to conform
to society’s “norms of madness”. There, they are subjected to a thousand
times the hell of foetal termination; able to cognise every uncaring
nuance of “criminal justice” and the exquisite pain of enforced,
unsought associations. Meanwhile, through it all, having understanding
(albeit sometimes minimal) of just who has inflicted it upon them and,
unlike the foetus: just what the future holds (or doesn’t hold.)
"Foetal termination is to man’s total inhumanity, as cruelty to
individual domestic pets is to factory farming. We are a deeply confused
and dishonest species; and I would warn egg, sperm and foetus to stay
well away from what is ironically termed “a life”."
25.10.2007 Barrie Singleton
In this world we most often have to make our ethical and behavioral decisions
not between what is good and what is bad, but between the lesser of two evils.
"We are a deeply confused and
dishonest species?" Well, we ARE! Partly because we avoid definitions
that would clarify the ultimate issues. Consider the term "life" and how
it is used. We say things like, "My life is a mess right now" or "My
life is on the upswing" or "Get a life". In everyday life we very seldom
use the term for biological functionality, but overwhelmingly use the
term to apply to the unfolding of the pattern, content and quality. Even when
someone dies and we say their life is over, we are primarily referring
to the spiritual reality of their consciousness and ongoing experience,
not their physical biological vitality.
Abortion and the destruction of life
For the issues surrounding
abortion, we have no hope of coming into unity without decoupling life,
which everyone would hold as sacred, from biological functionality,
something that every individual on earth terminates on a massive scale
each and every day. Not only do we kill or contribute to the killing of our
fleshly food, but we terminate with impunity everyday pests such as
houseflies, mosquitoes, ants, ticks, roaches, etc. On a lower level of
biologic strata but on a more massive scale we kill thousands of body
lice every time we take a shower or bath, not to mention the gazillions
of unicellular organisms that we deactivate through sterilization
procedures and antiseptic applications.
We are quite willing to kill anything that threatens the quality of our
lives, from viral organisms to "alien" or too-criminal homo sapiens.
We are even willing to kill our own cells if
through cancer or infection they challenge our comfort, health or longevity. Most
everyone, via some unhealthy habit or activity–like smoking,
alcohol use, over-indulging, etc.–is willing to damage or kill on some
level their own cellular functionality just for a fleeting span of
pleasure against the boredom or a little dulling of the human situation angst!
We are routinely ready to shorten the length of our own
biological functionality to enhance the quality or perceived quality of LIFE.
Quality of life is paramount
So, why are we so dishonest?
Who are we kidding besides ourselves? Biological functionality holds
little sacredness for us! It is the quality of life that is sacred, not
the quantity of zoologically viable units be they microbial or humanoid.
To say that a zygote, embryo or fetus has life is to prevaricate on an
important issue. What the term "life" represents does not begin at least
until birth and the developing of consciousness. The fetus does not have
self-consciousness and has no capacity–beyond a limited way of reacting
to discomfort–of appreciating the quality of life. The fetus DOES have
potential, but this potential can be POTENTIALLY developed into a
wonderful human being OR a criminal monster.
Ethical decision involve lesser of two evils
No psychologically healthy human being is attracted to the idea of
destruction and killing, but what needs to be understood
clearly is that we cannot think or act as if we live in an ethically
black and white world. Here is another way of describing the evil–a no
win situation–of our world: We most often have to make our ethical and behavioral decisions
NOT between what is good and what is bad, but between the lesser of two
evils. This takes judgment, and mistakes will be made. Nobody has an abortion
because it is fun, and most can see that it is–outside of a rape situation–a last
resort for failed responsibility. In the case of a rape pregnancy or a teen pregnancy it's
practically a given that the level of responsibility is not there for
good parenting to develop anything but a psychologically crippled,
troubled and more likely, a troublesome soul.
Now some already have said and many
additional would say to me with self assured disgust and confident conviction, "Oh
my! Surely you are not pro-abortion!" To which I invariably reply,
"No! I am not pro-abortion. But abortion is often done under the VALID conviction of
it being ethical by being the lesser of two evils. I am pro-responsibility yet pro-choice
and pro-freedom, and therefore pro-life by the meaningful definition of life! Therefore,
sometimes I support abortion."