[Thoughts from   ~burning woman~  by Sha’Tara]

Quote: “I’ve led such a little life, and even that will be over pretty soon. I’ve allowed myself to lead this little life when inside me there was so much more and it’s all gone unused and now it will never be. Why do we get all this life if we never use it? Why do we have all these feelings, dreams, hopes if we don’t ever use them?” (from Shirley Valentine, the movie)

I’ve been doing much introspection these recent weeks, and months, leaving all those other lives alone (the past ones and the future ones that present themselves to my awareness and too often create more confusion in my overworked mind) and concentrating on this one life of seventy four years.

Yes, as Shirley says, that life will be over pretty soon, no matter what. These Earthian bodies have a certain lifespan and do not stretch far beyond it. When we’re young it’s easy to dismiss our end, it seems such a long ways off. But at my age this end is something very real, to be seriously contemplated. What makes for a noble death, then? That’s assuming, of course, that an individual cares whether s/he dies such a death?

Is it noble to have been an obedient servant/slave of the system and tried one’s best to fit in and even to some degree benefit personally from it? Is it nobler to have lived the life of a rebel; a dissident, always rejecting out of hand any system solution to societal problems? Of course, if one cannot see how it is the very system one is expected to support and approve of that creates these problems, then one can always use to old excuse: I followed orders, huh? How else could the wars of the elites that kill millions through the centuries be fought? The question comes up, “what if they ordered a war and nobody came?” Is it noble then to die in such wars while refusing to take personal responsibility for engaging and killing people because your masters declared them the enemy and their propaganda “proves” them right?

As a life-long dissenter I’ve always opposed war, all types of wars, on the basis that there is no such thing as a just war. But to the topic, does that make me more noble than those who fought in such wars and either died in them or survived, came home, and were left wondering what it was all about? I honestly don’t know but at least I know why I don’t know.

So I haven’t killed anyone in this life. But for many years I ate meat and fish. That required the killing of innocent creatures, some of which I participated in the killing and “dressing” myself. Are Earthians so exceptional that outside of master-mandated mass killing as in war, the killing of one Earthian is murder but the killing of a pig, a chicken or a salmon is just business and the eating of their meat considered a pleasure? Where did the idea we were more worthy of having our hides spared from the knife or gun? It is Earthians who are the destroyers, the insatiable predators and gratuitous killers. Their chosen prey are helpless creatures who suffer in atrocious conditions and die by the millions simply because they have no power to realize and break out of their enslavement.

OK, I’m a vegetarian now. Is that a more noble attainment? Until recently I thought so. But now, as I watch my hands handling that knife chopping up vegetables for salads, I “see” living things again being killed by my hand. Now here’s the problem: how far can one go in order to avoid any and all killing on this world? Based on the construct of these meat bodies, one would have to die. Sure, I’ve heard of “breatharianism” but I’ve seen no actual proof that such a lifestyle is sustainable. Our bodies aren’t made that way, though I know that some are… but not on this world.

My problem is “allowing” myself to think that my lifestyle is legitimate because it avoids the direct massacre of animals. My own hands aren’t clean. I still kill living things, mostly insects now but still, the need to take life from a living thing remains. That is a huge problem because it means I remain a predator. I still kill, or benefit from killing.

Therefore to this point, I remain tainted by the predatory mindset that plagues this particular world. Earthians as a rule accept that predation is the unavoidable and even pleasurable aspect of life on Earth. I suppose they conclude, if they even think about it, that it is how it is; unavoidable; necessary; granted from a divinity’s fiat or a “natural” requirement from some “evolutionary” process.

I can’t accept that any longer. I know too much now. I know, not just suspect but know, that predation, however expressed and for whatever reason, is always an illegitimate process, a tool of suppression, repression and enslavement. Even nature has to operate in cycles to keep a balance between prey and predator – it doesn’t maintain itself at a steady pace as you would expect. I don’t need to go into detail, we all know about the simple deer-wolf or rabbit-coyote cycles. As a crude and unreliable system, predation works for lack of a better way in worlds programmed with social injustice as their modus operandi.

I think that predation is at the core of all our mega social problems, including our current virus-o-phobia. Predation causes fear and fear creates a plethora of side effects, most of which we remain not-so-blissfully unaware of: blaming and scapegoating, of course. But it goes much deeper. It leads to paranoia which can cause genocidal tendencies. It leads to rape in men who fear they might miss out on their “allotted” sexual pleasure or release. It leads to religious bigotry and yes, misogyny and racism enter into that picture big time.

As a life-long dissident, I’m anti-almost-everything that society chooses to indulge in, including totalitarian fascism and fake democracies. I reject state-enforced mass medical treatments such as vaccines, drugs and of course “the endless war.” I despise patriotism or any fawning after ruling authorities and powers, hence I don’t vote and I’m not a fan. Time and again I’ve been the “enemy” of my society for not joining in the predatory fun as perpetrator or victim. Maybe there is some “nobility” in that, I don’t know, but what I do know is that Earth and her Earthian problems are irresolvable as long as homo sapiens resides here, as a species, as a collective, as an all-controlling predatory force. It’s a question of ability or desire to engage in fundamental change of mind and “man” is loathe to do this.

Quote: “What bothered him [Pamir] – what eventually kept the young man awake at night – was the persistent and toxic idea that a human being could live for so long and see so much, yet despite standing on all that experience, he still couldn’t change his simplest nature. If that’s true, the boy realized, then we’re all doomed. Forever. – from  “Marrow” by Robert Reed

But I know in my heart that isn’t true because I was able to change “my simplest nature” and become someone else than what I’d been. It was, for me, a mental evolution as drastic as a sea creature one day crawling up upon the land to live there. And while I was busy going through my processes of adaptation to this new person I didn’t have much time to think about the rest of the world’s problems. Background noise mostly. But as I got settled into my new life’s ways, as I started to look around and to listen those problems came crashing upon my shore in tidal waves. Now opened to compassion and a growing sense of empathy I am finding these last years almost unbearable, and there is no place to hide or shelter from any of it.

I think therefore that my final effort at ennobling my life, after turning away from my “little life” to a much broader one, is to finally and honestly give up on society, as a civilization; as a collective. Perhaps at the very end of this Earthian predatory cycle this world can be helped once again to regain its natural sanity. It’s a thought, not a pleasant one, but a thought nevertheless. Meanwhile, since my vision has changed from seeing only the forest to noticing individual trees I can focus on helping those individuals who come my way and can benefit from my knowledge and my skills. I will still walk in sorrow but there will be enough joy to make my last miles bearable.

Quote:Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges or beliefs.  This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking; where it is absent, discussion is apt to become worse than useless.” – Leo Tolstoy

Somewhere along the Fraser River, Aug. 23, 2020

8 thoughts on “Have I Led such a Little Life?

  1. franklparker

    I’ve said before – though not necessarily here – that predation is the natural state of all life. Every living thing exists as the food for other living things. You can argue that humankind, with their greater intelligence, both reasoning and emotional, ought to be above that. But (s)he cannot live for long without food and all nourishing food starts out as a living entity, either animal or vegetable. We now know also that other living creatures exists inside our bodies to assist with the process of breaking down this once living material into the various substances that facilitate cell growth without which life ceases.
    So far as I am concerned there is no need to feel gjuilt about the natural process of killing and eating for food. On the other hand, hunting and killing purely for pleasure is something we should be above. Similarly, the animals we breed for no other purpose than to feed ourselves and which would not exist otherwise, ought not to be ill treated or over-crowded, The traits bred into them ought not to cause pain and suffering.
    As for war, as I have also said before, that is driven, like all violence, by the natural desire to protect such sources of sustenance as an individual or group has gained access to. That instinct, allowed free reign, becomes the kind of greed that drives all criminal activity. The various ‘systems’ to which you object have been devised both to curb and to mitigate against that instinct. The only truly free man (or woman) is one who lives on an otherwise deserted island with an abundant supply of easily accessed food and water. As soon as one or more additional individuals arrive some form of contract, formal or informal, has to be arrived at. That contract will take away some of the freedom previously enjoyed by each. Arriving at the details of the contract will involve conflict as each tries to retain as much freedom and access to food and water as possible. Subsequent breaches of the ‘contract’ will inevitably lead to further conflict.

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    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks for your comment, Frank. What you state here is undeniably true but what is a person to do when she develops a deep and ostensibly “natural” (unavoidable) sense of empathy towards all life? When it becomes all but impossible to “kill” in order to feed the self? Should such a state of mind happen at all if there were no available alternatives to predation and innate violence? If it happens, and I’m a living example that it does, then it must mean that “something” in the way we perceive life is changing for all of us. If that is the case then what I’ve been taught is also true: that those who cannot adapt to their changing environment, be it mental or physical, are truly doomed? I have known for a long time that man’s civilization predicated upon taking with as little sharing as possible and with even less returning to the source, was unsustainable. Is the current turmoil and upset world-wide, as well as the moral and mental corruption in all the “high places” a sign that man’s, i.e., homo-sapiens’ civilization is doomed? I’ve taken the stance that it is; that it is no longer fixable beyond short term tweaks I no longer choose to be a part of. But I see it more as a beginning than an end. Something quite new and unexpected is the wings waiting for a scene change… more likely for an entirely new play. So when I mention my little concerns and discomforts it’s not out of despair, quite the opposite. If I can just remember; if we can all remember, it always seems colder and darker just before the dawn. What I try to communicate is that we are facing the inescapable inauguration of something magnificent, magical but also deadly; something that will not broach resistance from old-thinking minds. It’s going to be, ‘Adapt, or die” and those who open their minds freely to this inexorable force will discover within themselves the means and the power to adapt.

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  2. Hyperion

    I entertained these same thoughts in my tenderfoot phase of life. Not many 8 year old boys pondered the righteousness or injustice of living. We grew up after the world was devastated by WWI-WWII-Korea-Vietnam. We had only known the bigger world as violence overseas and political wrangling and economic disparity at home. Then we were educated in every class room about our civil duty to fight the Communists who are godless devils. Domestic roles were harshly divided and in the Southern tradition an insult to property, family, or self should be met with an overmatched of violence as the only honorable response. I was taught to take dominion over every living creature but with conservation and respect. My grandfather was a famous naturalist in his area and kept up with national and international leaders in the natural conservation community. I remember him tearing into me about my carelessness when I flipped over the canoe off its rack and disturbed a birds nest. The lesson was that I should always think ahead before acting as every step I take in nature is potentially a wrong step with consequences to nature. I was a lucky child in that my extended family were conscious of their role in the balance of nature. We were all farmers too, but we farmed for subsistence and community support in hard times, of which there was plenty, was fed from our farms out of the abundance of harvests. So, my programing was vast and effective and in time I ran my program with steady upgrades along the way. I’ve openly shared some of my journey and carried the scorn of those that disagree with my choices. I’m okay with that now. I did it, I learned from it, I have no plans to do it again. I understand war and conflict at the personal level all the way to national authority having been an integral part of each level of planning and execution. I know precisely what choices are made today that cause endless war and I know precisely why this is a failed policy poorly executed. We are back to the War of the Roses in a precise remake of what caused that war, we are planning a 30 year conflict that will drag on for 100 years. This is the definition of failure to achieve or even understand on any level the tenets of war or the necessity to enforce peace in defense as opposed to venture out into conflict without the most base understanding of how to end it. This failure is extrapolated into every system you mention Sha’tara. The rot and ineptitude is through and through in every aspect of life as a system where human beings are concerned. It is to your own destruction to take on this burden. You cannot turn the tide. You can certainly discuss it and even show the depth of your scorn for all of these failed systems of society and civilization and rightfully so, but you know you can’t change it. Don’t despair of the things outside your circle of influence. If you nourish your mind, body, and spirit in a sustainable way without excess and give thanks and respect to those things that sacrifice for your continued life you have formed a bond with nature and nature will provide for you willingly. The predator-prey relationship in nature is cruel in our eyes but if you watch carefully you will see the conflict of this relationship turn to willing sacrifice after the initial will to survive is surpassed. You will see the prey stop the battle and allow the predator to take their life and consume their body. The plant world is the same. Invasive species have the ability to displace native plants to establish their own colony and with that the entire biosphere in that area makes an adjustment. You are invaded by what you know to be wrong and the vastness of this wrong is too much to bear. Consider these things the invasion of your personal biosphere and adjust within. Allow it to advance no further into the realm of your thoughts and as long as you live the example you set and give dignity and respect to those things sacrificed to nourish you, you do them honor if you in return nourish them by your actions and words. Symbiosis can exist beyond the physical plane. Synchronicity gives power/energy beyond the the individual. The nice thing here is we can choose to fight if we must, we can choose to bow out gracefully, we can choose to remove ourselves from it all in a life lived that pleases us because we choose respect and thankfulness to that which sustains us and gives us the energy to perform or noble purpose until such time as we graduate and move on to our next stage. The ancient belief in Samsara allows us to believe we will continue on until we learn to achieve the ultimate peace and the divinity of that peace lives on. Surely, you will return to your ancient shores with your kind with a global knowledge of what went wrong and what would make it right and that is your beginning in the next cycle. It’s okay if you dismiss all my ramblings. That isn’t important. What is important is You chart your course in a way you are content to follow.

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    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      What can I say here? Thanks for that in-depth reply. Great way to flesh out the original post. To respond point by point would be to say, yeah, I agree… or yeah, now I understand. Thank you for taking the time to write this. I’ve read it twice over now and I’m glad you’re interacting with my blog. To get a deeper glimpse of where I want to go with these ideas, if time permits, I invite you to read my response to Frank. Thank you again.

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      1. Hyperion

        Thank you Sha’Tara. I am willfully and with some effort, changing myself and how I see the world. I was always quite flexible and adaptable in the past but my joints aren’t having any part of it now. I’m having to bend my brain more. Neural plasticity is supposed to be possible and I’m giving it a real go. I read today that our favorite eggheads are postulated the meaning of a 3 billion light year wide dark spot in the universe and after some virtual slide rule play, they think it’s an intrusion point from a parallel universe. I had to laugh, because I remembered you had already declared it so. But, it’s nice to know the eggheads are coming around to seeing things your way. I’ll wait patiently for when you have time to tell us the real deal.

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  3. Phil Huston

    Holy shit. I woke up one day and felt the karmic impact of throwing trash out the window of my car. So much so I retrieved said trash. Is it better, though, to let it find a land fill? All of those questions come back to haunt us. I don;t like to send a red ant down the tub drain, but I like less having it crawl up my leg and bite my ass. And that is the yin yang of our existence. Regardless of our motives, rational, irrational, humane, even divine, every act of this existence, as you suggest, seems to have a bite us in the ass component. We need to live, we must kill. We inflict pain randomly, often without regard, without knowing. But to overthink it is to make more of this run through than it requires. Consider the humor in the situation and all we can do is minimize our impact and shine a light in our own corner of the universe. Coming to some understanding of how it is to be us, and the value of other life is one of life’s little merit badges. Hopefully it will account for something when the accounting is called.

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  4. Sha'Tara Post author

    Just a brief comment on my “featured image” of the Fraser and my kayak which came out blurry – thank you so much WordPress! – which I replaced with another view of the Fraser River and her infinite moods. This one seems to have copied normally…

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