Tag Archives: justification

One Cause Alone: envelope sonnet

One cause alone cannot sustain our reason.
Quite surely in one lifetime are enough
good reasons to press on; that is the stuff
of all our myths and legends, in their season.

Besides, one grows and passes out of childhood;
the dreams of youth must cede their place, as age
begins fresh chapters and with each new page
discovers strange and new forms of the good.

What good is life’s extension but for learning?
If nothing changes, why bother at all?
A candle’s wasted if only left burning
to chase away the shadows as they fall.
To change, evolve, is living’s constant yearning;
it cannot breathe if tethered in a stall.

31 MAY 2017

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Treating the Symptoms, Not the Cause

Something to think about in the context of today’s America and unrest around the world (emphases mine):

Hitler was able to enslave his own people because he seemed to give them something that even the traditional religions could no longer provide; the belief in a meaning to existence beyond the narrowest self-interest.

The real degradation began when people realized that they were in league with the Devil, but felt that even the Devil was preferable to the emptiness of an existence which lacked a larger significance.

The problem today is to give that larger significance and dignity to a life that has been dwarfed by the world of material things. Until that problem is solved, the annihilation of Naziism will be no more than the removal of one symptom of the world’s unrest.

— Konrad Heiden, Der Fuehrer, 1944

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Thoughts on Vegetarianism

Here’s a quote from something I received today:

Vegetarianism is a natural and obvious way to live with a minimum of hurt to other beings. Hindu scripture speaks clearly and forcefully on vegetarianism. The Yajur Veda (36.18. ve, p. 342) calls for kindliness toward all creatures living on the Earth, in the air and in the water. The beautiful Tirukural, a widely-read 2,200-year-old masterpiece of ethics, speaks of conscience: “When a man realizes that meat is the butchered flesh of another creature, he will abstain from eating it” (257). The Manu Samhita advises: “Having well considered the origin of flesh and the cruelty of fettering and slaying corporeal beings, let one entirely abstain from eating flesh,” and “When the diet is pure, the mind and heart are pure.”

And here’s my question for the vegetarians (and spiritual leaders) in the house:

Most eastern religions emphasize that vegetarianism implies non-violence, and that killing animals is violent. However, if the Divine life force is present in every single object (animate and inanimate) that exists, then certainly pulling a carrot from the ground is killing just as cutting a bull’s neck is killing. BOTH are violent acts. In fact, the bull is not being pulled out from the roots, so it seems the killing of the bull is in fact less of a system shock.

So it seems that some killing is more important than others. Some is violent, and some is not.

Not to pull an Uber-Jain sentiment out of the hat, but isn’t it more important to recognize the sacrifice made by ANYTHING that provides you with life, rather than insisting that some sacrifices are more meaningful than others? In other words, in order for you to live, SOMETHING must die. Only in the case of an apple falling to the ground (from a tree that you did not shake) are you not directly involved in killing that something.

What is more important, the sacrifice, or the recognition of it as such?

It seems to me the focus of this kind of vegetarianism is on the repercussions on you as a killer, rather than on the suffering of the victim (be it bull or carrot). In which case, it doesn’t matter what you kill, you are guilty of the offense. Alan Watts said he was a vegetarian because “carrots scream softer than cows.” That is a different motivation than because killing a bull is worse karma than killing a carrot. That is not a moral choice, it is a choice that makes the negative act easier to live with.

And that, my friends, does not seem like a valid basis for a spiritual diet to me.

What seems valid is that no matter WHAT you eat, you are indebted to it for its biomass — without which you would not survive. Perhaps you did not personally end its life. But you are taking advantage of its death. To deny that is to perpetrate a lie. To not accept the consequences of living when other living things must die for it to be so, is to misunderstand karma altogether.

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Question Posted to the Ishmael Community

Posted this evening to the Ishmael Community, a web community devoted to the principles set forth by Daniel Quinn in his books Ishmael, The Story of B, and Beyond Civilization, among others:

My question is the result of a conversation I had this evening with a couple of Latter Day Saint recruiters on my front lawn. I was able to describe for them very well (using the ammunition provided by your books) an alternative to their explanation of “how” things got this way, including acknowledgment from them of the accurate interpretation of the Tree of Knowledge and Cain and Abel. However, I found myself in a quandary when attempting to describe “why” our culture, as opposed to the lions and bears, the Maoris and Navajo, would choose to take divine right into their own hands and take their lives out of the hands of the gods. In other words, what was the impetus that caused the Takers to become Takers? The explanation in your books very clearly identifies the myths (now borrowed by the Takers) trying to explain “how” things got to where they are now, but what seems to be missing is “why” anyone would make what seems like a giant leap and decide they were above the law that brought them through the evolutionary chain. So I pose the question to you — WHY did the Takers stop becoming Leavers? Where did this seed of self-delusion germinate? And more importantly, why would a group of Leavers (for that is what we all were, at some point) believe such a lunatic? Why would anyone assume that their way was right for everyone in the first place? There had to have been some event, some epiphany that led first to this ill-founded conclusion, and then to its growth into a shared delusion.

I’m just not sure what it is, and that information seems critical to expounding “why not”.

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wealthy men decide
worldwide military dependency
whitehouse motives dubious
war means death
without meaningful direction
wholesale media duplicity
wanton mercenary demonstrations
willful misinformation dissemination
wrongful misuse doctrine
winner molded demographics
warped mission definition
wholly moronic defense
whitewashed mind denial
well manufactured destiny
whipped mainstream democrats
wanting more dialogue
well meaning dictatorship
without much decorum
will made dull
we miss democracy
winning means deception
wasting my dollars

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Sometimes We Forget

The world is often close around, its taste upon our breath
filling our dreams with noble schemes of unknown width and depth.
It gives us of its bounty and leaves us deep in a debt
that we must somehow then repay, but sometimes we forget;

and in a blur of flurried action, we race and we build,
improving transportation and keeping our produce chilled.
We change the summer’s heat to cool, and deserts we make wet,
and though we know there must be balance, sometimes we forget.

Around us all the world is changing, still becoming born;
and in the face of our extinction, we become forlorn.
Some look for change to right all wrongs or some learn to regret
the inconvenience of our past, or sometimes we forget.

And despite our advances in the arts of sport and war,
we leave behind the slower paced, the hungry and footsore,
advancing truth and righteous causes on a palimpsest
that we all know will fade to naught, yet sometimes we forget.

In quiet times of desperation, each of us may pause
and wonder why the world won’t rally there behind our cause.
We speak in words meant to disguise our selfish reasons, yet
sometimes believe in common good, still sometimes we forget.

And in our speeches we say freedom and personal rights,
then by the grace of others’ toil, we pine for vain delights,
crying out “’tis oppression” when we must earn by our sweat.
We know the means define the end, but sometimes we forget.

02 AUG 2003

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