The law of karma dictates that once you die, the self non-self distinction will dissipate. Now you’ll have to experience the other side. And if you think you’re a low status white male now, wait until you find out about the ones who were classified as “non-human”.
What you do with that knowledge is your problem. “I want to be an alpha male, I can only be an alpha male by shooting a deer in the head.” All fine with me. But that means you’ll have to experience being shot in the head.
This isn’t some sort of bizarre test designed for you to overcome your empathy. “The animal looks cute but you need to suppress that realization, overcome your softness.” No, you just grew up in a culture that draws an arbitrary dividing line on the species barrier, while stigmatizing as “racists” those who draw dividing lines within the species barrier.
In reality it’s all a gradient. “Non-human” is as valid of a descriptor to justify abuse as “not me” is. There’s nothing special about the species barrier. It’s probably not even hard to blur. Through IVF we could probably freely hybridize our species with chimpanzees if we wanted to, the way horses do with donkeys.
“How do you get your protein?” I don’t know, don’t really care, not my problem. All I’m saying is that if you eat a pig, you will be a pig. You will sit together with the other pigs, you will sit there with festering wounds, in your own feces. If you need your protein, fine with me.
“I only eat humane grass-fed-” Yeah I don’t care. You can figure this out yourself. You’ll be humanely killed. You’ll humanely have your children taken away from you. Good luck.
“My doctor tells me I need-” I don’t care what your doctor tells you. Maybe my doctor tells me I need to bash your skull in? If your doctor tells you to eat deformed chickens that grow so fast they can’t stand on their own legs, you’ll become a deformed chicken that grows so fast he can’t stand on his own legs.
And again, I’m not saying you should not eat other animals. I’m not saying you should not go out and rape, kill and torture people either. It’s like when you’re on vacation and you order a hundred dollars worth of liquor in a night. I’m not saying you shouldn’t. I’m just saying that you’re so immersed in the moment, that you’re forgetting the bill will inevitably show up and you’ll vomit in the morning. And this is just a fair reminder from me. The butler doesn’t smile at you because you’re his friend. He smiles at you because you’re making him money.
“Well if I pray to Amitabha Buddha” Yeah it doesn’t work like that. Siddharta didn’t show up here and said “hey if you pray to this dude Amitabha Buddha he’ll fix it all for you”, did he? Others don’t do the job for you.
Christianity rapidly transformed into “believe in Jesus and he’ll deal with the dark side of your actions for you”. Buddhism went through the same evolution. “Just pray to Amitabha Buddha and you’re reborn in a pure land where enlightenment is easy.” I wouldn’t count on it. I don’t think Jesus and Buddha are showing up at the end of a night of heavy drinking to pay the bill. And even if they were willing to, you would be a weak person to agree to it. Why do we desire to be bailed out?
The reason those ideas are popular is because wishful thinking is popular. Millions of low status white males around the world think you can make fake money with your computer that will make everyone rich. Just because an idea or a movement is popular, doesn’t mean it has some validity to it.
In other news, if you let your dog be raped by another dog, you’ll have to be a dog that’s raped by another dog. If you breed deformed dogs, you’ll be a deformed dog. You will spend years struggling to breathe. You’ll spend years in a body that doesn’t let you run.
Your concept of “self”, your concept of personality, of identity, are all illusions generated by your brain. But “being” is not an illusion. “Being” just is. Consciousness is just a field, that sometimes becomes trapped in matter. And the matter will then trap it in concepts of time, identity, self, etcetera.
Imagine for a moment it doesn’t work like this. Imagine it’s all just meaningless. Imagine you were born into your position because you lucked out. Well that’s quite some luck. Late 20th century is a pretty good time to be born. No 25% infant mortality. You’re not being raped by a slaver. You’re not dying of hunger.
And to make things even better, you’re human! You can scratch when the parasites bite your ears, you don’t end up with ticks all over your ear like a stray dog until they suck you dry. You can wear clothing and shoes that prevent the parasitic worms from entering your body, lucky you! What incredible unimaginable luck, you really won the lottery, didn’t you!
Or you “choose” a life. Well, then you made a weird choice. Could’ve just gone for a beautiful actress or a mumble rapper. Much easier. And others made even weirder choices: “Nah, I’d rather be a stray dog covered in tics than a Scandinavian prince. That’s more me.”
If you choose a life, that means you’re probably dealing with some limitations in what you get to choose. And what you can choose probably has to do with the choices you make: “That’s your goose liver paté sir. How would you like to pay?” “By reincarnating as a flea-covered paraplegic stray dog in rural Zimbabwe, thank you very much.” “Would you like to leave a tip?” “The stray dog will have a pus-oozing sore beneath one of his teeth.” “Oh thank you very much sir, enjoy your night.”
What stimulants like cocaine do is that they just turn off this nagging little voice in the back of your head that somehow found itself a way to blog on the Internet too. “I WANT TO COMPLETELY FORGET I’LL EVENTUALLY HAVE TO PAY THE BILL! I WANT TO BE ENTIRELY IN THE HERE AND NOW!” Well that’s what stimulants like cocaine help you do.
I suspect life, the qualia-experiencing capacity organic beings have, can be a positive sum game. But again, imagine working at a bank, versus robbing the bank. You can work at a bank and deliver a contribution to your community, earning a meager salary and working hard for years. Or you can just rob it. The reward you get becomes much greater, it’s nearly instant.
And as humans we can do the same thing. We can grow seaweed in parts of the ocean devoid of life and burn it in our power plants. We can be positive sum. But that’s a lot of effort. Why not just burn the coal beneath our feet? Why not just steal? Why not just steal from future generations? Why not just steal from the world’s poorest? From future moments of our own lives? Why not just rob the bank beneath our feet?
Because the law of karma ties us all together, as we all impact each other. But we work hard to forget that. We don’t want to know. Most of our economic and cultural abstractions are just tools, smokescreens and mirrors that we deploy to forget this principle.
Buddhism is pessimistic. The Buddha upon tasting vinegar proclaims that it is bitter. It is intrinsically just not pleasant, you must escape and dissociate from it. But we must be careful when we try to translate Dukkha. It can be translated as suffering, but is best translated as unsatisfactory.
Hinduism and Taoism are optimistic: Existence can be positive sum. But how? It is an ever moving target we must chase after. This is why the Tao that can be written is not the Tao. It is endless nuances and subtleties, an endless struggle of refinement.
Very few people chase the moving target. The vast majority sink back into ego, as they descend down the autocannibalizing chain again. But you don’t have to descend the chain forever. The first step out is awareness. Realize the flaws, the errors you make. Then come guilt and remorse. When you realize what you do wrong, you can start chasing the moving target again.
Most people don’t chase the moving target. Most people are insulated from understanding. But insulating yourself from understanding, won’t insulate you from consequences.