Life and Death in the Predatory Universe

His broken body crushed into the soil so closely resembled a tiny green human, he gave me cause to reflect upon my dirty deed.  Those dying remains matched perfectly the leaves of the newly planted Valencia Orange tree, upon which he had been happily feeding, only moments before the sole of my sandal abruptly ended his short life.  Tiny legs still contracting in his final death throes, the three inch long grasshopper no longer posed a threat to my future orange crop.  A wave of guilt and remorse swept over me, causing momentary nausea and light-headedness.  Poor little guy was only doing what it took to live another day, to find love, reproduce, and experience joy in his grasshopper world.  In the grand scheme of things, whether or not there is a scheme and whatever that scheme may be…was his life any less important than mine?   And how do we know that, if there happens to be a god, she doesn’t look more like a grasshopper than a human?

It’s dog eat dog out there, as they say.  Survival of the fittest, strongest, smartest, most voracious, and greediest determines the fate of our tiny blue sphere, and has likely been repeated, on a zillion planets within the unfathomable predatory universe, since the beginning of time (if indeed time had a beginning).  If I really was the kind, empathetic soul I claim to be, I’d have shared the little orange tree with the tiny being whose body would now instead, decompose and enhance its growth and food production. Dust to dust, orange trees to oranges.  Time to face facts:  That gentle, kind man in my bathroom mirror is a merciless predator, simply obeying universal laws, protecting the tree which will someday feed him.

I’m a vegan, and a sometimes smug, self-righteous vegan.  I don’t kill, nor condone the killing of fellow sentient beings, for my consumption.  Friend to bovines, brother to pigs, comrade to chickens, I don’t knowingly eat their flesh, drink their lactations, nor consume their unborn embryonic progeny.  In full disclosure, I’ve done so in the past, but I had an epiphany.  I’d truly love to show you my halo, and prove that I’m Buddha or the second coming of Jesus, but truth be known, it was “The China Study”, the most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted, and written by T. Colin Campbell Ph.D., and Thomas M. Campbell M.D. which convinced me that the consumption of animals and animal by-products by humans, is largely responsible for a vast majority of all of the killer diseases of our era.  So, prove to me otherwise, and show me conclusive evidence that Big Macs consumed daily will help me live a healthy life well into the next century, and I’ll join you at the bloody table under the golden arches.  We are all predators in this predatory universe.  Even Hindu sadhus must occasionally swat a pesky fly or mosquito, clumsily step on an ant, or at least inadvertently swallow a gnat or two.

So it seems to me that there are questions all thoughtful humans must answer:  Where do we draw that line in the sand?  Why are the lives of puppies and kittens so much more important than those of cows and pigs?  Which sentient beings must die so that we may find comfort and sustenance?  As earth’s top predators, we hold the power of life and death over all species, and must at some point decide whose throat gets cut, who gets skinned/plucked, gutted, sliced up, cooked, and consumed, and whose bodies get nourished by all that lifeless, yet life-sustaining flesh.

Enter writer’s block.  Four long months of writer’s block.  This intermission was brought to you by Arby’s.  We’ve got the meat.  Resume article:

Here we are again, well into a new year, with the season of peace on earth in our rear-view mirror.  I vaguely remember something about Christmas being the time when the lion lays down with the lamb.  Bullshit.  The lion ate the lamb, and she’ll eat it’s siblings and parents if she gets half a chance.  And I might just join her, since I’ve recently discovered that my veganism has caused a severe Vitamin B-12 deficiency, which has created some serious discomfort and life threatening symptoms.  Fuck this veganism.  I’m back in the game.  Bring on the fajitas…maybe a bowl of menudo for starters, pepperoni pizza, and oh, my God…an In and Out Burger and a chocolate milkshake.  This predator is back on the prowl.

There will, however, be no human flesh or body parts on my menu in the days to come.  The line must be drawn somewhere, and it will not, under any circumstances, include any sentient being with whom I share DNA.  This includes, and is mostly limited to, the seven billion fellow humans, along with whom I occupy this marvelous swirling blue sphere.  Of course gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans, and pretty much all primates are off the table.  And I don’t want to even think about chowing down on puppies, kittens, koalas, pandas, ponies, or hummingbirds.  With a few exceptions, all else is fair game.  I see mucho meaty mastication in the near future of this born-again omnivore.  In full disclosure; I should warn my fellow humans that I’ve obviously changed my mind in the recent past, so watch your backs if there’s ever a food shortage here in the belly of the beast.

Ah yes, ’tis a predatory universe…and what all this is leading up to is the simple concept that, up until now, tribes-kingdoms-nations-empires of humans have made a common practice of preying on neighboring groups…of burning crops and villages…of raping the women, killing the rest, and stealing all the good stuff.  Dog eat dog, and no real rules other than survival of the fittest.  But…and correct me if I’m wrong…it seems to me that a perfectly nightmarish storm has led us all to the brink of a disaster with the potential to wipe earth’s slate clean of all life forms.  Humans included and foremost.

I’d love to blame this situation on the jackals who run the U.S. Government which is, arguably, the most violent example of a crop-burning, raping, killing empire in the history of the world.  But the poor saps we elect to public office are there to carry on the old tradition of warfare (mass-murder) for profit.  No matter how honorable their intentions in the beginning, they soon learn that bucking the system means losing the next election.  So all the homicidal nuclear weapons, which we’ve authorized with our complacency, now have the power to erase us all.

There is only one social issue of any real importance.  My mentor, John F. Rohn…”Pops”…the last honest lawyer…told me when I was about five, that killing another human being is, far and away, the worst, most heinous and unforgiveable crime.  He said that nobody gets away with murder.  Nobody.  He was wrong.  If we humans have any intentions to survive into the distant future, we need to stop cannibalizing our brothers and sisters.  The earth has shrunk…we’re all electronically connected now…all major religions teach that homicide is verboten…and yet the wars rage on.  The bombs are falling now.  Silently, unnoticed by the compliant media.  Hatred stirred violently…an aura of fear of “the other”.  Render unto Caesar, my ass!  Lock Caesar up some place where he can do no further harm.

Seems to me, and as always…correct me if I’m wrong, that it’s high time for an abrupt end to business as usual, and for a rebirth of a concept which tried to gain some traction about a century ago, in the bloody wake of the war to end all wars.  That is the outlawry of war.  An end to the mass murder and cannibalization of our fellow humans.  Forget global warming, racism, women’s rights, LGBT rights, equal pay for equal work, GMO’s, saving the whales, dolphins, and manatees…for until we cease raining death down upon our fellow human beings, all else seems meaningless, and eventually some power-hungry nutcase is going to push the envelope far enough to release the nuclear fires of Dante’s Inferno upon Pachamama.  And we’ll all go out wishing our asses were in a sling, rather than being vaporized before our melting eyes.

Can’t exactly remember the quote, or whether it was Vonnegut, Abbey, or Twain who said it, but it was something like…When you think about how few people are capable of running their own lives, what makes you think that anyone is capable of making decisions for a whole country?  Thing is that the well meaning predators we elect are all going to do exactly what is expected of them, and that is not upsetting the apple cart.  Of not biting the bloody hand that feeds them.  Of voting for ALL so-called “defense” bills and perpetuating the system of wars for profit into perpetuity…or the end of the world as we know it.

Live in peace or die in pieces.  Our choice.  Although not a choice which can currently be made at the voting booth.  Do I have a plan?  Of course:  A mandatory worldwide ban on ALL homicide, to be signed by representatives of every nation on earth.  The outlawry of war and the end of capital punishment.  A treaty to cease and desist the slaughter of our neighbors.  A mandate to sanctify human life.  A plan to stop this suicidal spiral into oblivion.  And if there’s really any semblance of a democracy left in the U.S. of A. (a concept which I seriously doubt), we must demand support from those who we’ve chosen to trust with the keys to the kingdom in Washington, D.C.  All of them.

If our scions are to see the sunrise a century from now, we must draw this line in the sand, honor it, obey it, and embrace the life we’re so lucky to have.  I know a lot of good Christians who know for certain that it is the peacemakers who are the children of God.  And yet, come election day, they settle for what appears to be the lesser of two evils…sending wolves in sheep’s clothing to vote for more mass murders for profit.  It’s a rare aspiring politician who’d want to end up like 2 or 3 Kennedys, King, Evers, Malcom X, or Wellstone.  So if we’re to have a future, we’re going to have to find some folks with giant testicles or ovaries to change the way this empire to end all empires does its business.

Peace.  It’s more than a dream concept.  It is within our grasp.  If it is our will, we shall have it.  We’re fast approaching the obvious alternative, and nobody’s going to be happy.  So I’m keeping the grasshoppers at bay, but plan on sharing my orange crop with my neighbors.

John R. Hall, having finally realized that no human being in possession of normal perception has a snowball's chance in hell of changing the course of earth's ongoing trophic avalanche, now studies sorcery with the naguals don Juan Matus and don Carlos Castaneda in the second attention. If you're patient, you might just catch him at his new email address, but if his assemblage point happens to be displaced, it could take a while. That address is: Read other articles by John R..