THE CRAZY MAN TAPES: A Teaser

Everyone knows the story of St. Stephenson.  We learn it at our parent’s knees.  But recently, while renovating the Rediscovery where St. Stephenson came to First Life, a strange machine was discovered hidden in the hull.  At first no one knew what it was; our investigations were not able to determine its function.  At last St. Stephenson was consulted as to the purpose of this machine.  His exact words were, “Oh, that?  It’s nothing, just a black box.  You can throw that away.”  We were about to do exactly that when someone wondered aloud what was a black box, and why it was not black, but bright orange?  We consulted our old records, from back in the early centuriess of space flight, and we found that a recording device called a black box, was used, amongst other things, to record on tape any words that were spoken in the cockpit, in case a problem developed, so that the problem could later be investigated.
    It was lucky for First Life that we looked into this, for when we decided to listen to the recording, we discovered on it, in St. Stephenson’s own words, the mental processes that he went through that took him from kangaroo-court-criminal to Prime Representative of First Life.  St. Stephenson was contacted again, to see how he wanted those words preserved, but he said to destroy them.  In almost every case his orders would have been carried out, but in all consciousness, and in responsibility to First Life, we agreed that destroying these words of his was impossible.
    Instead, we wrote them down, in the format you are about to approach them, so that everyone could know what he went through for us, but most especially what St. Stephenson went through to reach First Life.  For we who first heard his words, the experience was incredible, as if we were there in prison with him, and he were talking to us as if he could see us.
    We hope that in this presentation the experience will be equally moving.  Making this transcript was both fortunate and unfortunate for humanity.  Unfortunate, because as we copied the words, the tape from which we were making the copy began to disintegrate from its great age; fortunate, because we got all the words down in print before the tape finished disintegrating.  So, while we do not have St. Stephenson’s voice to present his words to you, we do have his words; this is the best we can ever have now, because St. Stephenson outright refuses to re-record these words for us.  Therefore, we present them only in this format, for your edification and enjoyment.
    We have tried our faithful best to present the following poems to you, and for you, in the manner which he chose to speak them, or sing them, as he sometimes did.  As St. Stephenson went through the process of learning how to compose poetry, we went though a similar process of how to best transcribe it in its pure form.  The language is an archaic form of Canadian English, the language of St. Stephenson’s youth, and the language he used on the recording.  We, your transcribers, hope we have preserved the simplicity of the poetry, and brought forth all the meaning with which it is endowed.  But this is enough of us.  Here then, is St. Stephenson:

The First Life Revelation Society

5368 F.L.

Thus starts the poetic novel of the universe’s first immortal human. Next, if you care to waste your time, are two of the “EFFORTS” that St. Stephenson verbalized as he slowly went insane.

Effort 96 (of THE CRAZY MAN TAPES: A Transcription)

Ugh
Was probably the very first word
Spoken by prehistoric man
And had so many meanings
It needed a dictionary for itself

Then someone added agh
And language was born

Agh was non-ugh
Yet developed as many meanings
Agh ugh the conversations went
And everyone understood them

But someone wasn’t satisfied
They added argh
And tried to make it mean as much
But agh and ugh described most things
Argh could mean but argh

Agh ugh ugh agh agh agh ugh argh
Told the story of the hunt
How the mammoth was brought down
And lost its spirit

Ung and ang soon joined the crowd
Describing fire and rain
Then somebody sounded ogh and oogh
And igh and egh and ergh

Ung egh argh agh ugh oogh ogh ang ang ang
Was the big black clouds coming over the hill
And since then nothing but rain rain rain
It went without saying the hunt had been postponed

Ang engh ergh ugh ugh agh argh oogh
Ugh uck ack ung urk ock
Ugh ung ang ang eck igh ack ack
Oogh ugh agh ugh ugh oock

Um
Ummmmmm
Ahhhhh

 
 

Effort One Hundred and One   (of THE CRAZY MAN TAPES: A Transcription)

If I accept as fact the sights I’ve seen
The fact is this
The universe began with birth of Life
But Life itself did not know itself alive
It lived and lived
And was nothing but itself

Then recognition came
It knew itself
But self was nothing
And thus it knew it needed more
than it

It took a form
And lived and died
And didn’t live again
Till recognition came anew

This happened more than once
Again again again
It needed more than life
To conquer death

Trial and error and error and trial
It tried itself itself it tried to try
Life was only lived until its death
It needed change

It needed to reproduce itself
So it would live on after death
Success at last came to our virgin Life
Fission made it safe to hope for more

But fission didn’t work
The same life lived again
The hoped-for change did not occur
The nothing stayed the same

Now Life went on but nowhere went
It was it was it
If only it could change itself
One life to the next

RNA
DNA
Double helix
Sex

This was evolution
This was change indeed
It bred itself to itself
And entered a state of progress
But the progress was too little
The change was much too slow
It knew it wanted more
And didn’t know how

It tried a different form
Based on the good things of the first
And it learned a trick or two
But not enough

Time passed
Though it did not know it
And in this time it grew new forms
As myriad as the atoms

But no matter what it tried
No matter what it learned
It knew the vast emptiness of itself
And yearned for more

It was surprised one time when
two cells joined together
And lived as one
It had not intended this
So it watched and learned

And soon it saw the value of the team
It encouraged other cells to meet
and join
But it lost control of its experiment
And helplessly stood by

One-celled two-celled three-celled
Animals and plants
Life exploded everywhere
And lived upon itself

The nothing now was something
But it wasn’t very much
And its progress was so slow
It hardly noticed it

The organisms grew
And became much more complex
They built upon themselves
Then built on that

And each life was the Life
That started at the start
Part went away at birth
And returned again at death

And brought with it experience
That added to the past
And pointed to the future
That came and went
One day self-awareness
Burst upon the scene
It watched now fascinated
And discovered fear

These little lives that it sent out
Were each a part as knowing
as the whole
Indeed they thought themselves
the whole
And recognized not their parthood

At length the Life was forced to act
It acted on itself
Each little life that it sent out
Forgot it had a past

Until it died in life
And returned back home in death
Only then it knew itself
And went insane

In self-defence the original Life
broke up
To protect the little lives that went
and came
Barriers were created
But the knowledge to join again
in each remained

Separated now the One was more
than one
And each piece learned its life
in isolation
The memory of the whole was all
it had
And soon forgot to remember
even this

If what I saw the other night was real
Then all of this is true
It’s a memory that doesn’t belong
to me
But I have it all the same
Though words are all I have to
give expression
To ideas that are impossible
in words
It’s all so inadequate
But at least I tried

If these poems interest you at all, the entire novel is available starting at http://rawgod.tripod.com/FirstLife/index.htm with the index on the right designed to read the book in fairly easy sessions.

your poet/author

rawgod

 

 

Some Old Love Poetry

caterwauling

hair from face in curls like cotton
candy-coloured eyes and smiling
lips that curve in sensuous delight
i see you there

where shines your face like golden-glossed
sunlight beaming all around you
sitting silent in my eyes are
visions more than fair

ne’er shall i such beauty see
in forest glade i dream of thee
surrounded all by flowers growing
jewels precious rare

(dare i let you know these feelings
deep within my heart inspire
rainbows that are radiant
with
love and hope and care?)

 

inside my mind

sitting before a fireplace
i picture you and i
hand in hand and watching
sparks as out they fly
into the room

words are seldom spoken
though many do we hear
in silent conversations
caused by being near
as in a womb

rhythmic vibrations
lull both of us to peace
as mind with mind we weave a
wall of loving fleece
about the room

but now the fire’s dying
and we must leave again
until next time we enter
the room where we were then
inside my mind

 

sensing you
sensitivity unique
fantastic treat

love unheard
unseen unfelt untouched
until now
under the influence
of you

i taste your love as a sweetmeat
upon my soured lips
i relish the sound of your sight
touching me

i live in the aroma
of your aura

i love you

 

waiting for the sun   (a tribute to Van Morrison)

waiting for the sun
to come
    anticipation

watching darkness go
while birds sing hello
to the sunrise
    i shade my eyes

magnificent pink the clouds
and disappearing shrouds
cause wonder in my mind
whenever shall i find
    day

when sunlight lasts forever
and moonbeams quickly sever
the blackness from the night
and bring delight
to lovers in the park
    hark!
who is this i see
is it truly she
    my moondancer

 

the one that got away

does she ever think of me
the way i always think of her
as she stood in the check-out line
that day at the supermarket
or was it in the line-up for a show
or maybe in a bar somewhere
    our eyes met for a moment
    across the crowded room
    our hearts called to each other
    and time suddenly stopped
no those were all others

this woman was definitely in safeway
as i stood holding a basket of fruit
she held a basket of lettuce
i couldn’t tear my eyes from her
she fulfilled my fantasies
all my dreams come to life

but she was with a girlfriend
so i could not answer her
when she commented about my
    canteloupe
and did i always buy so many
(they were on sale that day)

her eyes were smiling playfully
but were they smiling for me
i was too shy to ask
still i hoped they were

i think she noticed me
the way i was noticing her
she looked so young and innocent
the kind of woman i longed to throw
    my arms around
to protect her from the wicked world
where life could be so cruel
(i’m sure she needed no protection
but it couldn’t hurt to pretend
i was wearing armour
and she was in distress)

did she see me as the kind of man
she could entrust with her love
    sensitive and caring
    considerate and sweet
    intelligent and wise
    capable of the sort of love
    that transcends common lust
    yet lets that lust emerge
    when the time is right
    (is this the man she saw
     and is this why she spoke)

oh rue the day that i was born
so shy that i can seldom speak
    my heart
in a crowd of more than two
as on that fateful day

but i never will forget her
    dark hair and eyes
    small turned-up nose
    full lips
    pink cheeks
    soft silky skin

and though the chances are
i’ll never see her again
there will always be a place
    within my heart
for her memory

but how many spaces can i keep
for women such as her
she’s not the first and certainly
i hope she’s not the last
    (because i am so shy
     i always let them get away
     even though i think sometimes
     they would prefer to come to me)

and i wonder
    are there female hearts somewhere
    that keep a special room
    for men they sometimes see
    but never get to meet

is there one woman in this world
who sees me as
    the one who got away
(because she was as shy as me)

a poem in three parts

the fall
sometimes
there are times when
a fellow doesn’t have a chance
against romance
somehow
i don’t know why
my heart just dies
to be reborn
to a brand new morn
where stars shine
all the time
somewhere
it isn’t there
it’s here and now
somehow

the rise
falling in love
is nonsense to say
you don’t fall down
you fall up and away
like tripping on a cloud
and hitting the sky
or dropping your heart
and watching it fly
falling and flying
are one and the same
laughing and crying
and loving her name

the stars in my eyes
suddenly
i find
you’re on my mind
by day
by night
you’re in my sight
your scent
your touch
i love you so much
the fall
the rise
the stars in my eyes

Disappearing Diamonds

Lyrics, by rawgod

Softly shimmering shining starlit sands

Disappearing diamonds drifting through my hands

Slowly floating feather-like to the shore

Where I shan’t see these same sands evermore

 

Life is like these minuscule grains of sand

No matter how you try you have to strand

The present in the past and leave it there

And never again create this moment rare

 

I know all things must pass from now to then

But still I try to keep them even when

They cannot be exactly as they were

My life I have to live now without her

 

But I can pick up sand another time

Yes I can choose another hill to climb

I can live where’er I choose to dwell

I don’t have to stay here in this hell

 

The choice is mine I tell myself each night

And maybe one day I’ll forego my plight

Once more for myself I’ll stand up tall

To her again I will refuse to crawl

 

How the hell did it ever come to this

It started with a single night of bliss

And grew from there to heights I’d never reached

Now like a whale upon this shore I’m beached

 

If I don’t get up soon I’ll start to die

Why can’t I get myself to even try

The sea is filled with fish I once was told

For now I will remain here in this cold

 

Perhaps one day I’ll launch my life anew

I’ll fix my hull and find another crew

But when I do I’ll vow before I start

To put a raincoat on my broken heart

 

Softly shimmering shining starlit sands

Disappearing diamonds drifting through my hands

Slowly floating feather-like to the shore

Where I shan’t these same sands evermore

Pork-Belly Hogs

Lyrics, by rawgod

 

 

Electric blue sky overhead

Turning rain clouds cathode white

Wired circuits in my head

Electric sheep turn out their lights

Robot milkmaids feed the world

Crying “Where are all the robot men?”

Electric owl electric squirrel

Chase around electric glens

 

Refrain Androids dream electric sheep

                Robots run electric dogs

                Soldiers steeped in sonic bleep

                Bankers dream pork-belly hogs

 

Artificial life goes on

Hear the beating of its heart

After human life is gone

Baboons looking mighty smart

Metal grinding cog to wheel

Learning sun and spurning moon

Robot hands that cannot feel

Turning out mechanic tunes

 

Refrain

 

Take the plug out from the wall

Nothing left within the box

Mechanic arm can throw the ball

Learn to pick mechanic locks

Who is safe when none are sane

Do you think you know the rules

Metal teacher teaching Jane

Dick and Spot no longer cool

 

Refrain

 

Pick your person with a pill

Make you happy make you sad

You will still be with you still

Can’t escape from feeling bad

Have to change from deep within

Pile your habits in a heap

To your good side take a listen

Refuse to be electric sheep

 

Refrain

Repeat to fade

On Capitalism, and the RC Church

In my opinion, the Spirit of Capitalism is greed, no matter how you cut it. Exactly where it came from I cannot say, but certainly one of its roots was Ancient Greece, and another was Christianity. Neither of these roots started out as greed-obsessed qualities, but it did not take long, historically-speaking, for either one to honour the possession of goods and money above all else. Ancient Greece started with a polity, an organized society with a structured form of civil government, where all male citizens could vote, while women, children, slaves, and foreigners living in the polity could not. Christianity, which at the time was defined only as Roman Catholicism, started as an underground political rebellion in Judea, where supposedly the religious teacher Jesus Christ was co-opted to be the real King of the Jews instead of Herod. According to ancient history the rebellion was put down and Christ was killed. His followers spread out across parts of the Roman Empire, since the Jewish people did not believe Christ was a prophet from god, and spread his teachings among the poor and unhealthy. From these humble beginnings Christianity grew to overtake almost the whole of the European-influenced world. The Roman Catholic Church became the richest single entity in the Western sphere of influence, and capitalism, the pursuit of land, goods, and money, became its creed. Government and religion came together to make a centuries-long unbreakable union, with the rulers being (almost exclusively) male members of the aristocracy and the priesthood (clergy), working together to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. Laws that were made fairly arbitrarily still reflected the ten commandments of Moses (a biblical character from the Old Testament). The lines between political ethics and religious morals blurred until they were virtually indistinguishable.
Money, otherwise useless bits of metal, was made to represent value, all of it owned by the nobility and the Church for the longest time, represented power, and until a middle class started to develop in the Middle Ages, only the most exceptional, and/or vicious, of men could raise up from the lower classes to the upper classes. Women were chattel, belonging to the men, as were their children, and they took their position in life from their fathers and husbands.
Capitalism was still suffering its growth pains at this time, and was not yet a factor in the Western world, or anywhere else, for that matter. But as craftsmen began to join guilds, more money was leaving the coffers of the rich, and being transferred into the hands of certain groups of society. The middle class was emerging from poverty to monied. It was a slow process, almost invisible to the aristocracy. As for the Church, as long as the money kept coming in, they did not care where it was coming from.
At this point in time, though there was infighting and bickering between members of the aristocracy, and between certain levels of the clergy, society was still mainly group-centered. People were individuals, surely, but they were treated as communities, so-to-speak. Killing a peasant was meaningless to aristocrats, they made no real distinction between members of the lower classes. As for those peasants, or even slaves, there was little difference between members of the ruling classes. Some nobles or monarchs might be less vicious than others, but all in all the poor lived at the mercy or vanity of the rich. Who killed them, or stole their few belongings and food, did not matter. There was little to choose between one ruler and the next.
But those in the middle class were not only gaining in money owned, they were also gaining in distinctiveness. First came pride in being a craftsman, second came pride in how much they were earning as opposed to what their fellow guild-members were making. And certain guilds were earning more money than other guilds, and all these things started to distinguish one group from another, and one person from another. Thus individuals were gaining fame and or notoriety, and capitalism had the foothold it had been looking for to grow and take over our society. Individuality blossomed, and the groups or classes became less important, while the individual grew in importance. And the Church, no longer a monopoly, but still the most powerful single entity in the world, praised the individual. Its monetary base grew exponentially, from classes of people, to groups of people, and now to people themselves, apart from almost all others. (Families, as in the nuclear family, would give as a group, but the group was small, and was guaranteed to create more individuals, and then more family groups. Jumping ahead for a moment, when the Church saw that planned family size was looming on the horizon, when it became possible to actively prevent pregnancies, and then to stop pregnancies, the Church responded quickly by preaching against the preventing of lives, or the ending of lives before birth, so that the number of their adherents would continue to increase, thus keeping the money flowing in. What the Church did not foresee was that ultimately this move would drive more people away from the Church than it provided, but in for an ounce, in for a ton. The Church cannot suddenly break faith with their adherents by proclaiming the advisability of planned families, of the use of contraceptives, or the legalizing of abortions within the religious laws. What was done can never be undone!)
I quote, “capitalism was ‘the most fateful power in our modern life’. More specifically, it controlled and generated modern [culture], the code of values by which people lived in the 20th-century [European-based world]–some ideas of Max Weber. I can agree with these ideas to a point, capitalism certainly had a huge effect on our present Western culture. But when he says something like “public behaviour was cool, reserved, hard and sober, governed by strict personal self-control” I think he goes too far. There are so many laws, secular and religious, that govern self-control that few individuals have the opportunity, or desire, to decide what personal self-control is. There are those (whom we call criminals) who deliberately break such laws of conduct, and there are those, whom we call mentally ill, whose inability to cope with the life required of them by capitalism literally cause them to lose their self-control, and then there are the few, known in psychological circles as self-empowered or self-actualized (see Abraham Maslow), who demonstrate self-control totally on their terms without advice from any laws, but I don’t see any of these groups or quasi-groups exercising hard and sober personal self-control, except possibly the self-empowered.
Capitalism is a lot of things, few of them good for humanity or for life itself, but it is not a power to itself, not in my mind. But, I could be wrong…

Body Bag Parade

Lyrics, by rawgod

See them lying on the ground
Dying bodies all around
Hear the bullets in the air
Whistling here whining there
Ripping into human skulls
Finding homes in human hulls
Bringing death to those alive
IS THIS THE END FOR WHICH WE STRIVE!

Give us peace give us peace
Make this fucking dumb war cease
Bring our brothers home today
Stop the body-bag parade

See the boy from New York die
A bullet blasting through his eye
See the boy from Houston Tex
A bayonet thrust through his neck
See the boy from Washington
Underneath the jungle sun
His rotting carcass can’t be saved
NO ONE TO DIG THE BOY A GRAVE

(Spoken) In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row
That mark our place and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below

We are the dead short days ago
We lived felt dawn saw sunset glow
Loved and were loved and now we lie
In Flanders Fields our voices cry
WE DIDN’T WANT TO FUCKING DIE!

Give us peace give us peace
Make this fucking dumb war cease
Bring our brothers home today
Stop the body-bag parade

Down the street the casket comes
The only child of aging mom
She has no reason left to live
Nothing else that she can give
The army took it all away
They offer her his unspent pay
She’d sooner have her dead boy back
PUT THE COLONEL IN THE SACK!

Give us peace give us peace
Make this fucking dumb war cease
Bring our brothers home today
Stop the body-bag parade

(to fade)

i’ve reached the last page

i’ve reached the last page of this book
and if i don’t write between the lines
this is the last poem i’ll compose
so i should make it sound profound

but what is there that i can say
to change this world in which we live
i don’t believe in god or hell
so all i have is you and me

is this perchance the gift of life
to realize there’s nothing there
except the love that one might feel
towards a person dear to them

i’d like to think long on this thought
but i don’t have the time or space
suffice to say that were i wise
i’d say to you god bless the atheist

JUPITER HAS A G-SPOT

jupiter has a g-spot
can you imagine what this means
to all the students of classic myth
the ancients had it all wrong
jupiter was a goddess
not a god

jupiter has a g-spot
and shoemaker-levy 9 touched it
on only his seventh penetrating thrust
into her huge red hole

fancy this if you can
all those thousands of scientists
gathered around their computer screens
and all the astronomers with their telescopes
watching jupiter get it on
with her brand new beau
(why, i think they’re all voyeurs!)

all of them debating
the impact of this event
and not one of them
(i’ll bet not even one of them)
seeing it’s true significance
sex amongst the stars

and the media, can you believe
missing the interview of the millennium
oh the story i could tell them
but i’m telling you instead

jupiter is a goddess

okay so maybe my news isn’t
earthshaking
but admit this if you will
i’ve put a whole new slant
on the astronomical news of the decade
haven’t i

well, maybe i haven’t
but at least it’s worth a small chuckle
i hope
after all how often do you get to witness
a sex-change operation
if that was what we saw

but really what we witnessed
was nothing but a hoax
shoemaker-levy 9 never existed
except as a mathematical formula
inside a computer
like virtual reality
it’s all in somebody’s head

you really don’t think it’s just coincidence
do you
that on the 25th anniversary
of armstrong stepping on the moon
to the very week
to the very day!
when interest in space exploration
has fallen to its nadir
what better way to boost that interest
than to have a cosmic happening
of jovian proportion
and focus the world’s attention
away from all it’s woes

well, it is a thought
even if far-fetched
(all the way to jupiter)
and i could be wrong

what if i’m right

but for the moment let’s consider
that this thing really happened
i reiterate my contention
jupiter has a g-spot
and therefore she’s a goddess
and we have collectively witnessed
the greatest cosmic orgasm
since the original big bang

(and i do hope the heavens
don’t mind that we were watching)

 

Not Yet a Man

man – the baby
crawling down from the trees
toddling upright on two legs
learning to communicate

man – the baby
orphaned at his birth
no one there to love him
he soils the place he sleeps

man – the young child
playing with his blocks
building cities
enjoying their destruction

man – the young child
lives without self-worth
lacking discipline
stepping on spiders

man – prepubescent
growing suddenly tall
playing cops and robbers
bullying his mates

man – prepubescent
enduring hormone change
always irritable
skipping school

man – the teen-ager
frightened by his sex
desire burning in his loins
aggression his only outlet

man – the teen-ager
sex drive now raging
swinging moods
demanding independence

man – not yet a man
in the body of a man
thinking he is grown up
fists solve his problems

man – not yet a man
considering peace
seeing possibilities
no idea how to achieve them

Humanisn vs Spirituality

I just read a post on the WP blog “ANTILOGICALISM” at https://antilogicalism.com/2018/05/15/the-problem-of-atheism/. It is a fairly philosophical post, but I enjoyed reading it quite a bit, and enjoyed responding to it even more. So, I keyed on a certain 2 quotes from this post, and here is my response…

Keiji Nishitani — “The seriousness of this new humanism is that such a restoration is possible only through a denial of God.”

rawgod — In my philosophy, although the concept of a god, or gods, or a super-being, or super-beings, is something that can be spoken to, a denial of same is absolutely not necessary to speak of life. Since all above concepts are inventions of humans, they will, like all human inventions, eventually pass into non-being, and there will come a time someone reading such a composition will have few points of reference. To deny something is to give that something value, but I personally see no value in any of these concepts at this time and in this place. I am an atheist, I do not accept the beingness of the objects of these concepts, and this is the total of my dealing with them.

However, I am not just an atheist, I am a spiritual atheist. I personally am aware of other states or planes of existence, forms of beingness that do not and cannot exist on this plane, or in this state. Some are places for After-Death, which can be equal to places Before-Birth, when contemplating thoughts about life and being on this worldly, or even universal plane. Others are states or planes of existence that could pre-date our plane, but definitely there are planes that post-date our plane. But I am not about to deal with them here, since the subject of the post is life on Earth, so the commentary should focus on life on Earth. To wit:

One of humanity’s biggest problems is that it sets itself apart, for the vast majority of humans, from all other forms and species of life. This gives rise to the idea that all other things, living or non-living, exist only to serve the purposes of humanity. The writer, Keiji Nishitani, has offered up some Buddhist principles to help differentiate certain western ideas from other ideas, hoping to widen the field of play to incorporate other ways of considering the world. They may or may not accomplish his goal, that is not for me to say. However, I prefer to widen the field of play to incorporate other ways of considering life. Humanism is only one part of life, albeit I am human. Before being human, I am a living being–no species necessary.

Keiji –“Involved in the problem of the essence of human being are the questions, “What is a human being?” and “By what values should one live?”

rawgod–Being human does not mean to individualize humanity to all other living beings, but rather to find where we fit in that order, if there were such a thing as order–I do not believe there is, except the order to which we try to force life into. We are a very egotistical species, we who call ourselves human. We look at all other forms of life, and judge those lifeforms in human terms. This is not a long-viable approach to life. It has lasted for thousands of years, I grant you, but thousands of years are not even a blink in the eye of Earth, and much less in the eye of the universe. If you can consider the cosmos at all, thousands of years are not even a microsecond in our concept of time. To have value to the cosmos, humans must successfully exist for at least millions of years, but this is not assured.

Therefore, let me move on to the second question asked above, “By what values should one live?” This question pre-supposes the concept there is a way that we “should” live.” Should is a loaded word, full of obligation, and refers to an attempt to make life orderly. Life is not orderly, and never has been, though many believe it can be made that way. Order precludes accidents, and accidents happen all the time. By their very definition, accidents are things “not expected to happen, not part of order.” If there were a way humans should live, we should not ever have accidents. But since we do have accidents, there can be no order, no matter how much we try to make life so.
So let us reword the question to “By what values will we live?” The word values is also a loaded word, but not in the same way as the word should is. Values also implies an attempt at order, but this word is not so absolute. Using the plural word “values,” we are not restricting the possibilities of how a being will live, but more “hoping” a being will live by values that have a positive affect on oneself, as well as others. But again, humans being who they are, generally only want to apply any such values to human life, and to hell with any other kinds of life. Human life is the only kind of life that matters. But human life cannot exist without other kinds of life. Life feeds upon life. Humans need food to exist, and except for vitamin pills and mineral pills, and suchlike man-made foods, humans exist and survive on the carcasses of once-living plants and animals. All life, except some of the most basic beings in the world, survive to some extent on what was once living matter. The higher up the food chain one goes, the more true that statement becomes. But this only speaks to values in an indirect way. We value other living things by the matter they leave behind when they die, OR ARE KILLED.
Let us look at other types of values, in general, rather than in specifics. How we treat others, respect, compassion, empathy, love, hatred, bigotry, murder, infliction of pain, healing of injuries, and oh so many more, these are values that we use in our relationships to others, and with others. Generally, we feel it is important to treat others as we wish to have others treat ourselves. But how often do we throw these values aside according to the time and place of where we are, or where we recently were, or where we want to be. Values are easy to talk about, but they are very difficult to live by. What is even the use of having them in the first place? Because we want to feel superior to those who do not act in ways we feel our values give us precedence for having. But yet, one of the values many of us have is the value of all being equal in our basic being. Equality, while possibly real in certain ways, is a joke in most ways. What is the value of being equal if we do not live equally? We do not live equally! There is no value at all!
The same can be said for almost every value humans can think of. Values are merely concepts of ideas of actions we would like others to take so as not to hurt us.

But those values, worthless as they are, are seldom put into play when thinking of other species, or other lifeforms. Remember, we are the top of the food chain. Right? Wrong! Our dead bodies are eaten by all kinds of insects, bacteria, viruses, and especially maggots. There is no top of the food circle, biologically speaking. It goes round and round and round.

But were we to look at our spiritual beings, that which exists inside of us, but outside of physical reality, what would we see? Again, humans like to see themselves at the top of the spiritual ladder, if they even entertain the concept of a spiritual anything. But we are again not at the top of anything. Because, spiritually-speaking, all living beings really are equal. They have what we call the spirit of life, and because we are all alive, we are equal at our deepest cores. We are not the only beings on Earth, in the universe, or as part of the cosmos to have spirit. Life is spirit.

Remember, I changed the original second question above from “By what values should one live?” to “By what values will we live? I made this change because the verb should is basically meaningless. Life knows no order, and all attempts to impose order are, for the most part, useless. Accidents happen. Next, I challenged the use of the words values, and turned them into meaningless phrases that are only paid attention to when useful to the holder of said values. So where does that leave us?

We are left the the signifying verb, will. I am not using the word will here to discuss mental power, as in having the will to quit smoking. I am merely using the word will to express future action, as in, we will live however we want to live, or, we will go to the park this afternoon. It is an intentional verb of sorts, but really it only gives the possibility of intention, making it conditional on future events. So, when I ask the question By what values will we live? I am asking if, assuming everything goes according to our plans, how will we respond to them. So, if we were to make a list of values we perceive as meaningful to our lives, will we live by them? Based on humanity and the way it acts as we presently know it, the easy answer is, No, most will not. We may want to, we may try to, but situations will always come up where we will act against our best intentions. Mothers will defend their babies to someone’s death, even their own, if a perceived threat becomes potentially real. They see their child walk close to a wild bear, and they go on full alert. They remember their value, do not do any harm to anyone, but this is not an anyone, it is only a bear, and it is threatening my baby. This woman is a member of the American NRA, she will have a rifle ready, even if her only purpose of having it is target shooting. As she goes to get the gun, she is not thinking, My child was not supposed to go near bears, so it is his or her fault for disturbing the bear! No, she is thinking the bear might harm my child. Now she has the gun, loaded it, and readies herself to use it if necessary. Then she sees a bear cub come out of the bushes on the other side of her child from the bear. She knows bears will hurt anything that comes between her and the cub. She gives no thought at all to the idea that if the bear were to do anything, it would just be defending her own cub as best she knows how. Nor does she take into account most wildlife, even bears, realize that babies of any species are not generally threats to anyone. No, she will only remember hearing a story of a bear hurting a baby, and as soon as this bear takes one step towards her own cub, which means a step towards the woman’s child, she fires the gun, killing the mother bear, and orphaning the cub. But does she yet care? No, all she cares is her baby is safe, and she has to get away from this place of danger. She grabs her child, and drives quickly away.

Despite the woman’s value of not hurting anyone, she intentionally killed a mother bear. The bear did not even threaten the baby. All it did was take a step towards her own cub. But the mother did not see any of that, she thought only of protecting her child. She threw away her value for what she thought might happen, whether it might have happened her not. She will not live by her value. And neither will most people, not even in a potentially dangerous situation as this.

So do we humans forgive the mother for unnecessarily killing the bear? Most humans do. I will not. She had other choices, like making loud noises to chase the bear away, distracting the bear to lead it away from the child, walking up, without fear, picking her child up, and backing away, just for starters. But the mother is not thinking, she is acting on the same instinct the mother bear might be acting on. Does any of this absolve her of guilt? No! But most humans, as I said before, will look at her humanness, and forgive the killing of a non-human. This is unacceptable. The bear has as much right to life as does the mother, or even the child. In fact, in this situation, the bear has more right to live. The woman, though acting through instinct as is the mother bear, is awake, sentient, and able to reason, all she has to do is shrug off the instinct. The bear, as far as we know, is awake, is possibly sentient, but as far as we know, not able to reason. But now we can never know, the bear is dead. The cub has no mother to teach it. Chances are good the child still being a baby in looks, would have been by-passed by the bear, there was no visible threat as far as she could see. We again will never know. The bear is dead. She cannot be brought back to life…

Will we act according to our values? Now we get to the we. The original question used the singular pronoun, one. One individual might be able to live by a particular value, maybe even two individuals might. But unless the above mother is one of those individuals, which she obviously was not, the bear might still be alive. But does talking about individuals really answer the intent of the question, “By what values will one act?” By referring to the previous question, “What is a human being?”, it could appear Nishitani is asking, “What is one human being?”, but really he is asking about all human beings. Human beings are all alike biologically, and according to some psychologists, even mentally. So “What is one human being,” can easily be understood to be, “What are human beings–all human beings.” After all, “We’re all one.” So this now changes the second question to, “By what values should all humans act?” All humans includes all of us, living, dead, or still to live. So, the 1st person plural pronoun we can easily replace the third person singular, one.” Having already changed the obligation-loaded verb should to the futuristic form of “be,” will, the question in its simplest term becomes, “By what values will we live?”

As I have shown above, we likely will not live by any values if the opportunity to not live by those values forces itself upon us. Why not? Because we are human. We think of our selves first, or extensions of our selves such as children, maybe spouses, other loved ones. Anyone else is, first by virtue of not being connected to the self, next by not being human (in whatever way you choose to define human), not worthy of our consideration. Does this really make us human? Is this what humanism (that which constitutes the essence of the human, by species or by individuals) is all about, being better, more important, than anything or anyone else? If it is, I want no part of it. I may be human, but I am no more important than the fly that lays the eggs from which will hatch the maggots that would eat my dead body, were I not intending to be cremated.

All life is equal, in my opinion.

All in all, the questions asked at the start of this comment by the writer, Keiji Nishitani, may be important, but to me their importance lies in the difference between humanism, and spiritual atheism. I cannot, and do not, speak for anyone else. For myself, humans are but a link in the endless chain of life, and values need to be something you cannot only believe in, but something you can and will abide by. Otherwise it’s value is zero.