Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The preciousness of human life

The basis of all philosophical arguments about the direction that humans and nature are moving in always hinges on a certain assumption: that human life is actually precious. If one were to look at the world as a host to various forms of nature, human, plant and animal it sometimes seems almost arrogant to suppose that humans are more valuable than the other forms of life. Species come and go. Where there was once dinosaurs and mammoths and sabre-toothed tigers and dodos there is now cloned sheep and ligers.

The problem with this direction of thought is that it is at worst entirely nihilistic and at best so intricately interconnected that the soul supercedes all belief in the physical manifestations of our reality. Either way - it reduces the concept of the acceleration and maintenance of the human species to nothing but dominion.

This does not bode well for a belief in sustainability or our paternalistic need to protect the Earth, or more acurately ourselves.

A more positive way of seeing the world is more epicurian. We are here to enjoy our lives on this planet - and the happiness and lack of suffering should be spread to everyone on the Earth - every species and every human alike.

In this regard, there are a lot of things that make sense - no one wants to breathe in smog and polllution or eat food that isn't really food. Nihilistic or not, it doesn't make sense for any kind of immediate enjoyment of reality. There is no reason to keep slavery going in countries torn by civil war by buying products from the manufacturers who have established sweatshops there to capitalize on suffering and slave wages.

It isn't really neccessary. So human life, precious or not in the long run, must still be respected for our most ephemeral moment on this planet.


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