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  • Writer's pictureCrone

The predator path

OK.


I am thinking that there are two overlapping conditions.


One is the moral and the other is the amoral.


Let's start with the latter. Life is not moral. It is dynamic and relational. It involves symbiosis, parasitism and the ingestion of the dead. Life flows from the currently living to the future living. It is like time. We cannot own it. We have no right to it. It just is. Life builds on death. Evolution, another amoral process, binds life and death together. The conditions of the environment (including predator/prey relationships) determine what works and what doesn't... change arises through successes and failures. That which does not change is not alive. Creatures who did not have to seek food or escape predation would not need brains. The ideal world would be a world without sentience. Sentience is part of the process for dealing with challenges.


All lives and dies.


All consumes and is consumed.


All suffer at times.


All seek to flourish.


Power resides largely external to the being.


All life is in this condition. Including humans.


But humans have - through abstract thought (enabled by writing) and technology - sought to distance themselves from it - to lessen the environmental impacts. Clothing and fire and shelter mean temperature matters less. Food stores mean travel to and life in inhospitable realms is possible. Killing technologies and buildings extracted us to large part from the cycle of being eaten. Morality can extract us from the cycle of killing. Medicine can relieve suffering and extend life - offering the 'ideal' of extending life more and more... even indefinitely.


We are in part techno-beings. We are in part moral beings.


Because we have reduced the power of the external conditions over us and increased our power over other life forms we have created a certain incommensurability.


There is a disconnect between us - at a certain conceptual level - and other life forms, over whom we wield power.


This imposes a certain responsibility. He have the button - all the buttons - and have to consider carefully whether we press.


We have (well, we don't yet but think we could or should have) the power to change all animals to fit our image of what moral life is.


We think, baboons are miserable in their very hierarchical groups. Deer suffer when they are eaten. Tiny baby fish don't live more than a few seconds, minutes or hours before they are killed.There is all this pain! We must end it!


But in order to do what we have done for us, we have, over the course of our history, stomped on the lives and rights of millions - to become rich and leisurely enough to come up with theories and technology 'we' have made other humans and billions of animals suffer. Our expansion to techno-moral-beings has come at a cost.


And to alter the rest of the amoral world would cost even more - the costs to other creatures of experimentation, the deaths of all unmodified predators and carnivores and insectivores. The financial cost which would be repurposed from other causes in which good could be done without cost. And all to impose our imprint on the rest of the planet.


And that is assuming that it is possible. That life is possible without the consumption of life.


It is assuming that plants and trees are not in any way morally considerable.



It is assuming that sentience is what matters most outside of a human framework.


It is assuming that we know all there is to know and have the wisdom to judge.


And when we cause harm all the time anyway, surely, surely, the priority is to clear up our own backyard? Surely the priority is to stop harming first, before legislating for those outside the human community?


Maybe life without suffering is possible. For my part, I think it is not for creatures made of carbon. Perhaps silicon life, silicon sentience, could have it better. Perhaps. But I don't think the silicon beings should change us without our consent. And the animals cannot give theirs.


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