I've said it before
and I'll say it again :::
We go streaking [into] the 21st century with the capacities of angels and gods and the brains and hearts of scarecrows and tinmen...
Today I am traumatized. Today I am praying though I believe in nothing. I am weeping at inappropriate moments. My cheeks are chafed and red. My heart is broken. It is in shards. I've been here for days. I want a delete function. An eraser for my mind's eye. I want counsel (and have it). I want relief from our wretched doings and leavings. I want blessed peace and balm of reason. I want someone to explain our blood lust.
I want a pill. I want a skill. I want a tool. I want a pill...
Something to help me overcome the world. The world as grotesque vat overflowing with old familiar horrors, the way we treat one another, our knowledge on hold, regurgitating cruelty; empathy failing; soul quitting; ignoring heart; abandoning any hint of civility-- and all the while calling ourselves higher beings.
I have had for all my life a feeling, a close embracing bond with creatures. I told my son a few years back-- "If I were King of the Forest, all of the animals would eat salad." They'd be kind to one another. They'd be more intelligent, more compassionate... like us...
The "higher" life forms.
As every goddamned schoolboy knows: The emotions are a sensation, a thick steaming soup of feelings, created by the brain's miraculously teeming cortex. I have one, you have one, all mammals have one. All mammals feel. All mammals feel terror, and fear, and joy, and fear, and love, and fear-- all mammals feel. It's a science thing, and it's been shown. There are of course people who don't "believe" this, but then it's hard to have a rational conversation with virgin births and white-haired gods in the mix.
But today I want to reach in deep and tear the beliefs out of each and every one of us. Crutches-- OUT! Seven Billion Weak, and counting-- each of our own culture, our own upbringing, and our own revealingly arbitrary world-views, all dead-in-the-head certain in our Rightness about our Reason for Being about our Status as those special few who know better than all the rest. And the jackals and holy wars and endless brutality and selfishness all hurling back the curtain and showing us how infinitely small we really are.
Insects. No better than insects. We eviscerate and devour our own. In ceaseless variation. With glee.
But these days I'm swamped with images of bovines awash in vomit and foam, flailing on their sides unable to stand, being beaten and prodded and whipped and led to slaughter; mothers bellowing as their young are pulled away to the veal pens, the round glaring globe of the terrorized eye recurring in steady rhythm as the film I'm watching tracks the viciousness I see in all of our failed connections. The guys have a job to do. Keep it under your hat. Don't mention it. Wrap it in plastic, shine a fucking light on it, and eat up. Don't bother me kid.
[Peter Cheeke, PhD, Oregon St. U. Professor, in "Contemporary Issues in Animal Agriculture" 1999 ::: ]
"For modern animal agriculture, the less the consumer knows about what's happening before the meat hits the plate, the better. If true, is this an ethical situation? Should we be reluctant to let people know what really goes on, because we're not really proud of it and concerned that it might turn them to vegetarianism?"
And we all pay no mind. Endlessly baited with absurdist opiates that give us lifetimes of wasted moments-- bug-eating reality TV, shopping 'til you're dropping, Toys'R'Us, Kahuna Burgers, special sauce I said SPECIAL sauce, the latest greatest thing you gotta have, games and sports where the thrill is the kill, desensitize a word a few taps beyond our syllable limit and hence of no use, Nascar left turns! left turns! what's a little oil spill here and there?, cheap beer swill and saucy bowls of tripe and a bucket of hot pig hocks-- pop culture spinning useless trivialities to stuff our heads and quiet our minds, so-called, keeping us all as swollen as foie gras and busy as hell so we can continue, continue spending, continue gorging, continue... All this noise oozing through our backgrounds, the garble helping to drown out the sounds in our own heads, perhaps to avoid a deep and utter disappointment.
I need a news conference where the fellow mouthing the word "compassion" isn't some politico with a carving knife held behind his back. I'm tired of sneers and swagger. I want some wisdom. I want a new world where there are no arguments about "that's the way it is" or "that's the way it's always been". I want a new agenda with purpose. Only love will kill the demons. I'm tired of waiting for y'all to catch up. Time to evolve.
I should have known this was coming. A few months ago I'm on the thruway and I glance to the side just as a truck sweeps by, a small buff-colored calves' head poking through the horizontal bars and braying at me, one wild eye gone up in it's head, that round glaring globe of the terrorized eye, and I later told my wife I felt it was pleading with me for help, to get it the hell out of there. And I couldn't.
I should have known. A few weeks ago I see a few quick scenes of unbearable cruelty on the local access channel and I quickly changed the station-- my tolerance for such things notoriuosly low, and a short time later while passing through the channels again I see a young man who looks familiar-- and he is speaking calmly about "what you've just seen" and it's possible effects on the viewer. I am shaken by his calm. It seems alien to me in face of such mayhem, which makes me feel absolutely murderous, and a few days later I see him at the local Whole Foods Co-op and call him over. I tell him I couldn't do it. I tell him I react too emotionally. I tell him I cannot. I cannot. I can not look at those images. And yet later when he informs me of another program to be presented on the same themes, I find myself preparing for it, somehow.
I don't know what I was thinking. I am unable to process what I saw. I'm admitting as much. I don't know how I got here, or how I'm going to get out. I've sent out a few checks. I've filled the bird feeders. I'm paying a ridiculous amount of attention to our cats. I want it all to stop. I want to save them all, each and every one. Fifty-One Billion a year. And I want to stop weeping.
I love you all. / RL
[The film ::: Peaceable Kingdom; sent checks to Vegan Outreach and The Farm Sanctuary; Trying to calm down. Here we are then.]
In closing for this difficult week-- I say it is always best to side with the Wise Men :::
"If a man aspires towards a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from injury to animals... Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be measured by the way in which its animals are treated."
"The highest realms of thought are impossible to reach without first attaining an understanding of compassion."
"If man wants freedom why keep birds and animals in cages? Truly man is the king of beasts, for his brutality exceeds them. We live by the death of others. We are burial places! ...The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men."
-Leonardo Da Vinci
“I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals…”
-Henry David Thoreau
"For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love."
"Not to hurt our humble brethren (the animals) is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission--to be of service to them whenever they require it... If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men."
-St Francis of Assisi
"The human spirit is not dead. It lives on in secret . . . It has come to believe that compassion, in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind."
-Albert Schweitzer- Nobel Peace Prize address: The Problem of Peace in the World Today