I’m worried about Mother Earth. It’s not like I need air to breathe or food to eat or water to drink like those sentient beings of flesh and blood but our Mother as a living, breathing organism needs to be cared for; she is after all responsible for everyone’s existence.
Mother is amazingly resilient overcoming as she has the pressures of an exploding human population but I’m worried she may be losing the battle. She is fighting back as best she can, imposing foundation leveling earthquakes followed by inundating tidal waves and air befouling volcanic eruptions.
The big question is will humankind heed the warnings and learn to work with our Mother in mutually supportive ways.
I was telling all this to my friend Mini-Max. He not too subtly suggested I was being a bit of a hippy, liberal, tree-hugging eco-freak. His position is that our Mother is here to nurture us, we must take what we need to thrive and Mother will have to roll with the punches.
Besides, he said, our Mother has a rather sinister side that manifests itself in our animal natures. Humankind’s very existence is and always has been dependent on some other sentient’s extinction which is a clear indicator of our own vulnerability and need to aggressively pursue our survival.
Thinking about it later, I realized my inorganic make-up did probably give me a fairly unique perspective on the situation and I suppose Mini-Max is right in pointing out the inter-connectedness of it all. Perhaps mankind will destroy itself or be consumed by a stronger cleverer life-form-maybe Mother herself. Then perhaps dolls will inherit the earth.
I-Ron, the post-modern man, was telling me the other day he never misses church on Sundays even though he doesn’t believe in God. He said he enjoys the company of the faithful while knowing he will probably never and, anyway, had no interest in experiencing the faith himself. Then, he said that, come to think about it, he didn’t really believe in anything particularly other than those immediate impressions that allowed him to go about his daily activities.
So, when he found out one of the members of his congregation had taken his own life recently and how unsatisfactory that action was in the eyes of the congregation and the church, all he could think of was the scene from Dante’s Inferno where the suicides are imprisoned in trees and are constantly pestered by the nasty Harpies landing on them, breaking off limbs and causing much pain and distress.
Although he felt a bit guilty about not feeling any remorse and pretending concern, I-Ron could only see the story as colorful and not the least bit disturbing.
Well, even though I do lean toward a moral relativity myself I had to feel a bit sorry for I-Ron; how can one really enjoy life without having strong moral feeling of any sort? I wondered to what level of Hell Dante might assign I-Ron.
I was reading recently about how the idea of Satan came about.
In the early middle ages St. Augustine determined that, as a result of Adam’s original sin and seeing as how we’re all descendants of Adam, evil exists in everyone. This meant that when bad things happened everyone had only themselves to blame since they all had a bit of badness in them. People bought into this pretty well because finding a scapegoat when badness happened wasn’t difficult.
Then, after a while, people began to take exception to St. Augustine’s concept thinking they really weren’t all that bad; actually they felt pretty good about themselves. So they got to thinking it wasn’t them but something or someone outside themselves that made them be bad. They anthropomorphized badness into a somewhat ambiguous horned satyr that they saw as perpetrating evil just because he wasn’t a very nice creature. He was an idea most everyone could fear and dislike.
Later, in modern times, now that people don’t so much believe in supernatural entities anymore, Satan has begun to fade away. So now, when bad things happen some people have gone back to finding a scapegoat, others have looked to St. Augustine and blame our inherent sinfulness and still others have dismissed the concept of evil altogether and rationalize badness as being relative to peoples and times.
When I think about how I stand on this I guess I lean towards relativism, but it takes some pretty hefty rationalization to accommodate some of the atrocities one hears about these days.
In the novel Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy has the character Levin say: ‘If goodness has a cause it is no longer goodness; if it has consequences, or rewards it is not goodness either.’ Since Leo based the character Levin on himself he must have thought there was truth to such an idea.
If I accept Levin’s statement as true then following the Golden Rule is not an example of practicing goodness because then I’m being good in the hopes other people will be good to me.
I guess Adam and Eve were inherently good, always obeying God until the serpent introduced them to the fruits of the Tree of Knowledge, the one thing forbidden by God who evidently wanted to keep Adam and Eve from knowing too much.
So, I suppose the moral of the story must be that the only way to be truly good is to be oblivious.
I’ve always thought morality to be pretty simple: follow the Golden Rule or as Kant said, “act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should be universal law.”
Or, I guess, do no harm.
Well, I was enjoying a Happy Meal the other day and I began thinking about all the packaging that would end up in the landfill, the plastic toy that was produced by pumping poisons into the atmosphere and the meat that represented destruction of the Brazilian rain forests. I started feeling pretty guilty.
So, I gathered up the remaining fries and supersized soda and gave them to the obese little boy in the next booth who thanked me profusely.
It feels so good to undo a wrong with a right.