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"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 is 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) removing contraception?

"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

Misguided definition

"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."

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