0358 – red in tooth and claw

A couple of days ago I found myself looking at some pretty graphic, grotseque images of nature in action. There was a baboon eating a deer or fawn of some kind while it was still alive. He just picked it up by its hind legs and started eating it as though it was a piece of fried chicken, and there was blood everywhere, and the creature was still alive and struggling. And then from there I went on to see a group of hyenas attacking a pregnant zebra– again, eating it while it was still alive, and then pulling out the unborn baby and eating that too. And another of a bunch of otters drowning a monkey underwater, while other monkeys tried to intervene but couldn’t.

This happens over and over again, every single day. Mother nature does not give a fuck. A bunch of Singaporean children were climbing Mt Kinabalu when an earthquake struck. At least one little girl is dead, and a bunch of them are missing. I hope they’re found alive, but you know what the outcomes for these things usually are. And that’s nothing compared to what happened in Nepal recently. And then you think about what happened in the tsunamis, and just epic disasters every day. And even outside of all of these disasters, you know, nature is just mercilessly slaughtering itself. It doesn’t give a fuck. It’s interesting to go back to thinking about how earlier humans tried to make sense of the senselessness of nature, attributing it to Gods that could be both kind and full of rage. None of it makes sense, and trying to impose sense on it I think can be a really insulting thing. Insulting to everything, actually– to reality, to god or gods if any exist, to our own minds, to anybody who’s ever suffered or died and so on.

And it just makes me think that I’m so incredibly sheltered. So many of us are so incredibly sheltered. Everybody who has the time and energy and inclination to post anything on the Internet is incredibly blessed and lucky. If we live under the rule of law we’re incredibly blessed and lucky. I mean, I’m thinking now about all the injustices that people complain about– legitimate or otherwise, I don’t want to make any value judgements. I’m thinking about social justice and the manosphere and SJWs and blogs and men’s rights and rape victims and the horror of rape– now I’m thinking about the horrific rape and murder of Jyoti Singh– and really, ultimately, we’re all a part of nature. We talk so much about philosophy and morality and good and kindness and we make movies and write novels and plays and all these things to cope with our feelings, but ultimately we’re a part of the same system that coldly murders babies and keeps moving on.

I guess what I’m trying to do with all this is steel myself and give myself a broader context for things. We live in a universe of atoms and spaces between and within atoms, a world of energy and light and darkness (way more darkness than light, way more space than matter, we’re the ghosts in someone else’s universe). And truly, the nature of things is to get raped and murdered in the most horrific way. I’m not saying that’s a good thing, I’m not saying that’s how things should be, I’m saying that that is reality. And most people are inclined to pretend that that isn’t the case. We sanitize things. Civilization, in many ways, is the process of sanitizing things. People don’t really die in the open, they don’t die amongst their families– they often die in hospitals, hidden inside institutions. We have prisons and hospitals and mental institutions and we put all these people away, these people who are different. We compartmentalize. And every day when I go to work and there are all these seemingly fit young people on the trains squeezing and going to work to try to make some money by selling shit to each other, and then buying shit from each other… the whole thing is a circus and a zoo to a degree that I don’t think I ever truly realized, even when I think I get it I really don’t.

Even when I think “aha, I realize how absurd everything is”, I really don’t. It might be egos and selves and personalities that get in the way of processing what’s really going on, which is a whole bunch of atoms just moving around in great big patterns. A bunch of neurons, mostly, with a bunch of senses and stuff connected to them… I don’t really know the details and nuances as much as I’d like, but if you take away illusion of self, of experience, and so on, then it’s all just this big dance. We use words and phrases like good and bad and selfish and altruistic but they’re all really perspectives, constructs, games. I’m not saying they don’t matter– they do, especially when you’re a human living amongst other humans, or you’re a social creature of some sort and you care about your own survival– but if you want to make sense of what’s going on (and I think this is a necessity if you want to thrive at scale, beyond just operating at your own immediate level in your own immediate social circle), then it helps to at least temporarily suspend or try to suspend your own feelings, your own butthurt, your own anger and outrage and injustice, and just pay attention to what is going on as if it were natural phenomena, like water flowing down a mountain. After all, everything that exists is phenomena, no? So even if we’re talking about things like incest and cannibalism and necrophilia and other things that are typically taboo, frowned upon, gross, disgusting, etc, they’re still Things That Happen, and Things That Exist, and if we want to make sense of wtf is up, then we’re going to have to sit down and pay attention to it and figure it out.

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