A Clear Mind: Perpetuating Life

10Jul11

Almost everyone decides to perpetuate life.  They don’t necessarily decide this consciously.  They find themselves alive, and it seems natural to continue in that state.  In fact, it is pretty hard to stop.  They may have never even thought about it.  If you ask them why they continue to live, they may wonder what’s wrong with you.

Staying alive means participating in life’s arrangement for the use of water and other essentials.  This arrangement is not especially pleasant.  The food you eat is food that some other human, animal, or other living creature will not get.  When people perpetuate their lives, they take jobs and spouses that other people would dearly love to have.  For that matter, the seeds and eggs that you consume are potential living creatures that will never get a shot at life; they are food that some other creature won’t get.  The ants under your shoe on the sidewalk, the insects that want to eat the grain in the field, the bacteria that die when you wash your hands:  intentionally or not, staying alive means hurting and killing other living creatures.

It’s easier to feel compassion when the creature being killed is cute, intelligent, or otherwise appealing.  But compassion does not determine what is actually happening.  Regardless of what humans may feel, the cockroach seems to consider it very important to produce offspring.  No matter how lovely or obnoxious a creature may be — no matter how much other creatures want it dead — it wants to live.

In their struggles to perpetuate their preferred form of life, living creatures use a remarkable variety of strategies.  They develop bigger teeth, sharper claws, and other weapons to become better killers; they camouflage themselves to deceive predators; they steal from one another; they cheat.  The one that gets the resources survives.  It doesn’t matter how he/she/it gets them.

It’s an ugly situation.  Yet people are able to find beauty in life nonetheless.

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One Response to “A Clear Mind: Perpetuating Life”

  1. 1 Ann Moulding

    Yes, to live we participate in life’s arrangement – of taking resources from other living beings. This is why gluttony is one of the 7 deadly sins….but we don’t talk about gluttony much any more.


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