The Cycle of Life

My inspiration for writing this article is something that I feel strongly about, yet will never be able to physically change. But hopefully, by the end of the piece, I’d like  to have made some people aware of their actions and possibly change your perspective on certain aspects of the life around us.

The cycle of life is, quite simply, amazing. The complexity of our eco-system is truly breath-taking. Each and every animal or plant you see devours something else in order to sustain life and, considering there are an estimated 10 million different species on earth, the cycle of life is immense.

Think about the number of animals and plants we consume during our lifespan as humans. Say an average person lives for seventy years, the amount of life we consume to stay alive ourselves is phenomenal. This is just one cycle of life, the world as a whole has hundreds of thousands.

Death is integral to life. Without death, life wouldn’t (feasibly) be possible. Though I couldn’t be the one to shoot a cow or catch a fish, I accept that killing animals is part of the lives we have to live.

Vegetarians may well have a different view upon this: a natural argument being that we could physically survive eating only plants. This is a very interesting topic on morality in my view.

Where does plant-life come into it? Surely plant-life should have as many rights as an animal. Plants use the exact same cycles as any animal, though obviously the ingredients to sustain life are different. So shouldn’t the same respect be given to plants as is shown to animals, or does life have to have a brain to become worthy of consideration?

That is simply a thought for your own morality. I really don’t think there will be convictions for a person picking a daffodil in the future

What I find quite distressing is that size really does matter in terms of respect given to animals. It’s confusing to understand why. A person picks a flower in a forest, no-one minds. A person cuts down a tree in a forest, they are condemned. Animals are similarly afforded respect out of their simple uses to humans as well as their size. Why does a dog carry a higher right to life than an ant?

All too often I see people killing animals out of mere annoyance, savagery or even pleasure. Killing a fly for buzzing too loudly, a spider for being a spider, an ant because it’s small. You wouldn’t kill a dog for eating the last sausage roll you dropped. What possible right does anyone have to wipe out a life through annoyance. I truly abhor this notion.

Gamekeeper’s rearing pheasants, nurturing them through childhood, then letting them loose to hunt them down with guns. Fox-hunting and deer-hunting for social and sporting pleasure. Bullfighting for public entertainment. The list goes on and on for the unnecessary killing of animals.

That’s a list of things I’ll never be able to change, and no doubt the government will never effectively ban either.

But I implore you, the next time you see a fly buzzing around that annoys you, or an ant that strays into your path, think twice about needlessly destroying life which is so precious.

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20 responses to this post.

  1. Really enjoyed this, thoughts after my own heart and well written as usual. I also feel this way, despite my own cowardly acts of murder against the arachnid community. I wrote a short story about this kind of karma, it’s on my Scribd if you’re interested 🙂

    Reply

    • Well to side with the native Indians of America, anything you kill should be wholly consumed, and used for practical use. It really does rile me to see people killing things for no reason.

      Could you link it?

      Reply

  2. Well, we have to eat — we have to eat something, or we die! That’s the best justification I know of for eating vegies even though we might refuse to eat animals. Another justification, in my mind at least, is that vegetables are less conscious than animals. And since they are less conscious, they have less capacity to suffer. Can a carrot suffer to the same extent as a cow? I think not. We need highly sensitive instruments in order to detect any consciousness whatsoever in plants. So we have no evidence that a plant is capable of suffering at all. A third justification for vegetarianism is the ecology of it. We can feed a lot more people more economically (environmentally) in a plant-based food system than in a meat-based food system.

    That said, now let me add that I’m not a vegetarian. I don’t think it’s immoral to kill animals for food. That’s the system, and it works. The quest for food, and alternatively, the quest to avoid becoming that food is surely the single greatest spur of evolution. Survival in a “dog-eat-dog” world is a great incentive to evolve. Why else would we bother? So I don’t knock the system. Like I said, it works, in this and in other respects as well.

    Nature is savage, no doubt. Perhaps there is a philosophical message in there somewhere. Perhaps this life is not meant to be taken so seriously…

    Facetiousness aside, of course I do take these questions seriously. And I take suffering seriously too. That’s why, even though I’m not a vegetarian, I do despise factory farming. I HATE IT! Animals should be allowed to live a natural life while they are alive, and then slaughtered humanely. And I hate killing animals for sport. It’s just beyond belief that some people can be so utterly lacking in anything resembling compassion.

    But as for this fly that’s irritating me to no end, and this mosquito that’s trying to suck my blood (and perhaps inject me with a disease), a good fast whack is all the compassion they’re gonna get.

    Reply

    • I’m not sure if you’re missing the point of this post? I also don’t knock the system at all. If everybody was a morally pure human being, living off nothing else but water and roadkill, I’m fairly certain we’d be wiped out as a race fairly quickly.

      The reason I brought up plant-life as something we could possibly consider equal to animals, is that they’re an integral part of the life cycle. Plants may or may not have feelings, though I’m sure there’s a fair few animals that border upon that as well. It was a simple question of morality, in the thinking that plants are indeed lifeforms too.

      If a tiger came at me, with the intention to kill, naturally it’d kill in defense. If a mosquito with maleria tried to suck my blood, I’d kill in defense. What I absolutely abhor is that you would kill out of simple annoyance, like the fly you just mentioned. Why do you value the suffering derived from hunting sports, yet not a fly? If you ask me, that comprimises you own morals.

      Thank-you for your insightments, much appreciated. All the best, Mike.

      Reply

  3. No, I didn’t miss the point of your post, at least I don’t think I did. You asked why shouldn’t plants be given the same respect as animals. I gave my viewpoint on that: 1) we have to eat something, it’s a matter of survival. 2) plants are less conscious than animals and therefore suffer less than animals in dying (and perhaps not at all). 3) it’s environmentally economical.

    And to me, the whole question is much more than “just a simple question of morality.” It is NOT just a simple question of morality, at least not morality as you define it in this post. Sorry I didn’t stick to your definition and your context, but to me, there’s more to it than that, and so I said so.

    Sorry, I didn’t realize I was supposed to stay within your scope of things.

    Reply

  4. Sorry, I took it as that you thought I was saying we shouldn’t eat or kill anything. I wasn’t meaning to sound so literal.

    Perhaps I’m really not explaining myself very well. What I meant about the question of plants being given the same respect as animals, was not as a question of should we eat plants or not, but as a wider question. Should plants be considered the same as the dirt on the ground, or as living creatures.

    I said it as a question of morality (to me) as eating a plant could potentially be perceived the same as killing an animal. What exactly have I defined, or you have taken out of my context? I appreciate your sarcasm, but I’ve no idea what’s warranted it.

    I’m sorry if I didn’t make myself clear. I really wasn’t discounting your viewpoint at all, all I disagree with, is your killing a fly out of annoyance.

    All the best, Mike.

    Reply

  5. Ah well, it should be clear that I also have given considerable thought to the questions you ask here, and I’ve had to work through to my own moral conclusions. It’s a good question: why are some creatures afforded more respect (and therefore more right to life) than others? I don’t know that any particular creature has more inherent “right” to life than another. The sun does shine on all equally. The question then is why do humans afford more respect to some creatures? And I don’t think the idea of “right” is compatible with the reason humans give more respect to some creatures over others. In other words, it’s not a matter of “rights,” unless you make it so in your own mind. But this idea of “rights” is where your question becomes confusing to me. It seems to me that you are equating existential rights with some basic all-around rights.

    Unfortunately I don’t have time to delve into the question today. Perhaps another time…

    Reply

    • Why do you think it isn’t compatible? No doubt it is linked – or perhaps ‘right’ isn’t the right word to use (ironically). It may just a question of respect, as I find it doubtful any person would consider the creatures ‘right’ to life before killing it.

      Linking existential rights, to basic all-round rights is quite natural. If a racist considers a person of different coloured skin to have less existential rights than themselves, this comprimises the basic all-round rights afforded to them. So I guess I am.

      Hope to carry this on another day then, JhanaJian.

      All the best, Mike.

      Reply

  6. About Indians of America, and all peoples with an animist belief. Until I know, they respect the animals they hunt, the plants they collect, even stones and clay. They regard humankind just is another part of the cycle of life.
    We, the sons of industrial civilization,we must learn a lot from them.

    There is an excellent film about this (and about friendship): Dersu Uzala, directed by Akira Kurosawa, and based on the book from Vladimir Arseniev.

    The subject of the article is really difficult. Either way, killing animals or plants, or moving stones, or divert rivers, etc., without a real need, is not a good thing.

    Now in summer, I need to kill some flies. But without chemicals: I just need to kill a little number of flies, not all insects around my home, nor the spiders who eat the insects, neither the birds who eat insects and spiders, etc.

    (I cannot express my thoughs fluent in English. I did what I can)

    Reply

  7. I like the views of the native American-Indians. It takes a great society to respect the animals they hunt, and use every single part of the animals they consume. Although it’s not realistic, wouldn’t it be a perfect cycle if we took on board their attitudes.

    I’m looking up this film now and I shall have a watch.

    This is the most difficult article I’ve written, as it’s the only one I’ve based upon my own viewpoint and asked others to follow my lead. No doubt many people might read this and ridicule me. But it’s not something I’m going to change my view upon. Killing without an essential need, should never be done.

    Thanks for your viewpoints once again K. Gregorovious, much appreciated.

    All the best, Mike.

    P.S. Considering your first language isn’t English, your writing is excellent!

    Reply

  8. Posted by boatacrosstheriver on July 13, 2010 at 02:01

    Wow — great conversation going on here! Excellent post — excellent questions posed therein. I read something a while back, I have no idea where so that probably won’t help my point…but a scientist had done an experiment where he had thought violent thoughts toward a plant that was hooked up to a machine that was able to track its reactions somehow. I promise I am not making this up. Anyway, the plant really reacted, as if in fear, to the man’s violent thoughts toward it. I am a vegetarian…well, I still eat shrimp. And fish if I am at my mother’s house because she gets really frustrated when she doesn’t know what to cook for dinner. Call me a hypocrite if you want. When I’m a guest for dinner, I am more flexible. Anyway, my own rules are, if I couldn’t kill it myself, I shouldn’t be eating it. I think personally what bothers me is the idea of bloodshed. The less blood involved the more comfortable I am with eating it. I think you are right that we should respect the plants as well, as they are living beings too.

    Reply

    • Well that sounds like an experiment I’m going to have to ask google about, it sounds truely fascinating. I’m sure there’s been all kinds of similar tests in the past, and I for one am fairly sure plants aren’t as passive as we might think they are.

      It comes to a point though, when you have to ask yourself, “How nice can I be?” I can stand on my moral highhorse and say I won’t kill any animal or plant, yet I would be very hypocritical in eating them. I find it’s a very tough question to answer to yourself. If you alienate yourself from lifes circle, you’re going against nature itself, I suppose. Yet if you do eat/kill other lifeforms, you could potentially feel morally guilty. Anyway, just a question I think is a good one for all who read this to ponder over.

      I myself eat anything. I do believe in the cycle of life and if I didn’t eat the food in front of me, it’d likely go to waste.

      Thanks for stopping by boatacrosstheriver, some excellent points and things to look in to.

      All the best, Mike.

      Reply

      • I too have read about experiments with plants’ reactions to various stimulae, quite some time ago. Please let us know if you locate any literature, Mike.

        I am with you on unnecessary killing and breeding for the pot under cruel conditions. Thanks for your very interesting posts.

      • As far as I can see, the pioneer for this work is Cleve Backster who created the theory, “Primary perceptions”. He was an expert polygraph technician, and from what I gather ewhen connected to a plant, it immited signs of distress when the plant was either harmed, or threatened with harm. Fascinating stuff. http://www.worldlingo.com/ma/enwiki/en/Cleve_Backster

        That’s one snippet I found.

        Another viewpoint to take, isn’t whether it’s been proven as to whether a plant can feel pain or not, but whether or not it’s been proven the plant ‘cannot’ feel pain.

    • I’m going to have a look around today, once I’ve had a coffee and a bowl of cereal 🙂 I’ll certainly either post a link or e-mail you anything I find.

      Thanks for insights, always appreciated.

      Take care, Mike.

      Reply

  9. Posted by boatacrosstheriver on July 13, 2010 at 18:12

    Glad you were able to find something about that plant research…

    Reply

  10. great write…trophy hunters in particular gall me…adee sent me over as i was pondering similar today…

    Reply

    • I believe in some, there is a natural sadistic tendency in human nature, and animals are the natural victims. A cycle is one thing, but mindless pain for pleasure is disgusting in my honest opinion.

      Reply

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