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  • Writer's pictureCrone

What is necessary?

So here’s what I have been wondering.

Why do we humans seem to think life SHOULD be happy, pain free and really long?

Why do we think we should have that, that in a moral universe we would have that?

I know this is a bit weird. Of course I’m not saying that we should be unmoved by broken legs and septicaemia and heart attacks and AIDS and so on. Of course medicine is a good thing and access to food and water is a good thing.

I’m not saying we SHOULD starve and suffer and die young.

But….. well, I am saying that maybe we need to think a bit more carefully.

If a planet’s resources are not infinite. If there are certain zero sum factors. If perfection for all is not possible.

Maybe we need to compromise.

Right now, the animals and the natural world are being asked, no, expected, to carry the whole burden (in the same way that the poor often support the rich, the powerless the powerful) while we reap the reward to extend our lives and enhance our medical capacities and get more choices and more luxuries and more free time and more rights and more space and more freedom and more bloody talking at the expense of everything else.

Now, to me, as well as being stupid and unsustainable, this isn’t fair.

It’s theoretically difficult too. If you start from the basis that a human person should have all this excess and then realise that, oh yeah, we are animals and so really there’s no morally relevant distinction between humans and other animals, then – if you’re unwilling to let go of all the things that are already unsustainable for 7 billion humans – you are in the position of having to argue that all the everythings should have access to all this excess.

How about the other way round? In a working system, no one gets the excess. Not the humans nor the other animals. You have to scale down what you think is necessary. And much of what we now expect is way, way beyond what is necessary.

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