Tigers With Wings

My brother told me to do it.

Category: thought

Is the right to life human?

Who here wants to be good?
Who thinks this is the same as being a good human?
Is the highest good for humanity whatever benefits the human species?

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Is there universal good?
Is there a state of goodness that would include living beings from other solar systems and dimensions?

Who here thinks they would changeĀ if they learned something about themselves that turned out to undermine their standing as someone who wants to be good?

Is killing a Nobel laureate worse than killing a homeless person?

If what makes killing wrong is not the mental or social status of the victim, then what about their state of being self-aware justifies killing non-human beings?

We only take life in war because we see no other option. Many have sacrificed their own lives to defended our right to life. This contradiction points to universal values that go beyond the utilitarian view of morals.
The difference between killing in war and taking life when there is a choice is not subtle.
We who want to be good, know that needless killing is the deepest wrong.

We know intuitively and rationally that taking life does profound harm to goodness. What is the value of a world without good?
When there is no other option but to kill, we do not say that killing itself is right. All killing holds the shadow of an incompatible action that is only provisionally justified by the good lives we must then live – a burden that is too bright for many war heroes to bear the sight of.

What if the right to life is not ours because of our arguably undefinable state of self-aware consciousness?
What is our right to life, if it is not conferred on us by our superior evolutionary status?

Without technology how human would Steven Hawking be?

Do superior powers: of thought, of tech, of strength, or of awareness, bestow on their holder special exemptions from moral responsibility?
Or, do responsibilities increase with these abilities?
What ethical decisions come with the gift of our consciousness.

Is it morally wrong to normalize unnecessary death?
Is “humane” defined as “kind to all humans” or “kind to all”?
Is “humane killing” humane if it is unnecessary for humans?

Is the right to life weighted by the degree to which a member of “species X” fits into his/her own self-defined criteria of “species X”-ness?
Humanness is mired in circular solipsism.

What technology tells us about non-human animals is that they are also beautiful and complex, challenging our understanding no less than the mysteries of our own human species.

When we discover an exoplanetary alien species with complex brains and senses equivalent to those of farm animals, will we be moved to celebrate them and marvel at the wonder of their lives?
Would we be justified in taking alien life to sustain human life? What if they were incapable of defending themselves? What if we could eat beans instead and live in peace?

How much intellect does it take to leap beyond human biases to the simple insight that the universe is better with living beings than without? A respect for life is the universe respecting itself.
Respect for our own lives is morally inconsistent with disrespecting the lives of others.

Is it wrong to inflict unnecessary suffering and death on beings who’s only deficiency is their inability to defend themselves from us?

Is normalizing the taking of lives that lack higher consciousness compatible with my own right to life while I am sleeping?

Decency

Morning flight to New York, my seat marinated in thousands of colony forming units per square inch, I breathe recirculated eructations from a menu of two and four-legged miracles of evolution that need no purpose but to be sliced thinly, and sealed tightly in plastic, for the minty fresh mouths of the decent and God-fearing. Tell me, what justification scheme simplifies years of nurtured growing into all-natural Bacon? Is it our all-natural superiority to every doomed creature that is not human? Compare an animal kill shelter to the hillsides where a future farm-to-table dinner stands, as I stood on vacation, taking in the same world, and feeling like I am thinking, but what is thinking if I do not understand? What is the carcass merit of a five-senses being, raised to be farted into the seat of an airplane, while I scroll through stories of saggy faced Republicans on my smartphone? Who are you to judge the hipster farmer who, while lovingly raising friends who warmly recognize him, calculates their dressing percentage, drop credit and twelfth to thirteenth rib marbling?

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Mad Intelligence

What is intelligence?
It seems obvious: it is taking input from an external source and using reason to test the consistency of it and building knowledge based on those tests.

It is surprising that there is an assumption that the human species is intelligent. All this evolution we stand atop with a smug air of “here we are, the crowning achievement of it all.” Using random mutation the chances against evolving a cow from a fish is more than the number of fundamental particles in the observable universe. How on earth did evolution manage to find its way blindly to so many viable life forms? Yes, if natural selection explained anything it would make the evolutionary story of any microbe the ultimate triumph over entropy. So what the fuck is human intelligence if our best theories lack any understanding of the universe we live in.

I will skip the philosophically rudimentary unraveling of reason. I will also assume no confidence in any attempt to judge the externality of a source. Add to that the concept of consistency which might as well be a creation of reason in its blindly circular game of knowledge that only serves to prop up its own solipsistic validity.

Any serious claim at intelligence is insanity. Anyone, be she scientist or priest, who claims to be intelligent is mentally ill by any standard you chose. To even claim ignorance is an aspiration beyond the attainment of all but the mad genius.
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