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The Cause
by Jan Sand
2007-03-26 10:27:13
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It's 4 am and a time provident for both cockroaches and ideas to crawl out into the open seeking sustenance.

People who think and search the ebullient ambience for basics frequently seek to simplify the perceived universe to noodle out a few movers from which all other diverse forces can be derived.

Democritus in Ancient Greece decided that all matter was composed of simple uniform objects called atoms and this insidious thought has captured philosophy for thousands of years. Unfortunately or otherwise the original atom has fractured into multiple tiny things that cannot decide whether or not to exist as objects or space fluctuations and often pop in and out of existence for no discernable reason whatsoever.

The basics of why humans do what humans do have puzzled thinkers equally for times even longer than the relatively uncomplicated games that elemental particles favor.

Religions, it seems, cannot decide whether man is basically good or indestructibly evil and many have invented both ingeniously frightful places and impossibly perfect (and totally boring) places for final consignment after our bodies are naturally disassembled to other purposes. Of course these are held out more as motivations to influence the living rather than to be taken seriously as final rewards and judgments but people in general and, surprisingly, even some relatively intelligent people, being substantially naïve, are prone to accept these fantasies literally.

Just recently a decent human named Jim Cronin died. He devoted his life to rescuing primates from human cruelty but human capacity in that direction is as equal in size to human stupidity (which Einstein once noticed was larger than the dimensions of the entire universe) so he didn't make much of a dent in its force. But we can only do what we can do so the struggle can give some shape to our moral commitments.

I am not sure if chimpanzees would be accepted as born again Christians and thereby insulate them from being eaten by fellow Africans but it might be worth a try. The rapidly diminishing numbers of elephants and rhinoceroses could conceivably find shelter under Christianity if particular human prejudices could be overcome. At the moment human homosexuals in Africa seem to fall into the same class as elephants and rhinos although they are currently excluded in the hunt for salable dentures and fresh meat but considering the mayhem in places like Darfur nothing could be guaranteed.

And I imagine homosexual elephants, chimpanzees and rhinoceroses are in for a difficult time. Nevertheless, I believe I can assume that rhinos and elephants are immune from rape. I am not confident about chimpanzees as there are indications that the current HIV epidemic originated in salacious human-chimp encounters (and in that context, no one can be sure who was the perpetrator and who was the victim).

But simple solutions, as attractive as they might be, could lead to further complications. It seems that strict religious environments have engendered all sorts of perversions. Catholics these days must be especially wary of consigning their young boys to the care of priests and the regular improprieties, both sexual and financial of other Christian sects have indicated that religion is, at minimum, quite unreliable in forming good moral standards.

The Arabs, of course, are in a class by themselves. The bloodthirstiness of their internal religious disagreements seem monumental while at the same time declaiming their compassion and good will to all of humanity. Ah well…

So there are no simple solutions.

It's 5.30 am and time for the cockroaches to retire for the night and for me to get a nap before getting down to the serious work of the morning.

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