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On General Humaneness

By Punkerslut

Image by NiD
Image: "Cooperation" by NiD

Start Date: Thursday, September 12, 2002
Finish Date: Thursday, September 12, 2002

     Nothing can be more sure than the humaneness which exists in the nature of all conscious beings. Even to those beings which may be savaged in many respects, they still manage to show some degree of empathy when dealing with their kin or tribesmen. There is always a sentiment of hospitality, of kindness, and even of affection, in all conscious beings. As individuals move throughout the path of their life, which will someday end as all other things, we are presented with dilemmas and conflicts which regard the interest of other conscious beings. I have met a thousand humans who have said that they eat meat, but feel that cruelty to animals is inhumane. If only those humans had the reasoning ability that was higher than their emotions of affection, then the problems that wrack the body of goodness today would cease. The famines which overlook civilization as it trudges it, the hardship which infects the everyday life of slaves as they work in factories, the pure brutality of government regimes as they work endlessly to crush dissent -- it is quite clear that the population of humans on this planet show a general humaneness, but only if their reasoning abilities were up to par with such humaneness, would the infamous terror of suffering truly be impeded.

     As well as meeting a thousand humans who have said that they eat meat, but detest cruelty to animals, I have seen hundreds of pictures of oppression and brutality, and almost always the oppressors have justified the action on some superstitious creed. Whether hailing the heavens for divine justification, or whether addressing cultural dogmas and superstition, demagogues and politicians have made use of what people believe by controlling them with it.

     The natural emotions of humaneness exist in all regions of the planet, as long as there is a sentient being occupying such an area. As long as there is suffering and sympathy, cruelty and cooperation -- the deceptive hawk of marauder and the willing gull of charity -- as long as two forces have worked opposite of each other to either cause or relieve suffering, there has been humaneness. As the history of civilization began, it was quite clearly seen that humans held a respect for their kin, and as they advanced, a respect for their tribe. Soon enough, tribes respected each other, and then it became nations that respected each other -- though there would always be those merciless individuals who would exploit without any regard for family or community. Though it is popular today to respect and love all races, the question comes creeping up behind the menacing beast of hypocrisy.... "If you are to respect and love all races, then when will the day come that you are to respect and love all creatures? For it is true that all races are capable of suffering, and we grant them rights, but it is also true that many creatures are capable of suffering, and they also deserve rights." Though I am sure that some will respond telling me that respect and love can exist for such beings while consuming them, I am sure that there were many slave owners who thought they had respect and love for their slave -- that is, their property. If there is one thing more disgraceful than being raised so you can do the work of another man, then it is being raised so you can be the food of another man!

     The similarity of empathy and humaneness in conscious beings is not a completely blind phenomenon. It occurs along the very same lines. When a man sees another man suffering -- sees him writhing, feels his tears, hears his sorrow, knows his pain -- then such a man would have to be either full of vengeance or of a brutish nature if he were not to hold the slightest bit of sympathy. Similarly, when a man sees a dying bird in agony -- due to an oil spill or a cruel hunter -- and when he understands the birds pain and sees that it suffers much the same way that a man does, then the man who has discovered the bird will often come to the conclusion that whatever caused the suffering of the bird is cruel and immoral. It is a very real truth to see and understand the suffering of creatures around us. Humans may cry when they suffer, just as animals may contort their bodies and struggle when they too suffer.

     When a small child suffers for the first time, a sentiment is etched into their heart, a burning emotion put deep into the labyrinths of their mind. And as this child grows and develops, obtains a self interest and an empathy, their life will continue as a conflict with the world. The questions and encounters will be endless, a sea overflowing. And as this child grows and comes to discover in the world cruelty, vitality, hate, love, brutality, affection, heartlessness, and compassion, they are dipping their fingers into the pond of experience, open the shades of the heart, as a child might lift a rock to discover insects. Beauty and passion as the monuments of the mind, we are faced with opportunity to offer kindness in place of cruelty, to give value and meaning to the world around us. And as we all make our own journey through the sometimes bitter sometimes complacent life of ours, we are all discovering that compassion, empathy, and humaneness are natural elements that will exist for as long as creatures exist.


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