A fruit fly would have to confront exactly the same difficulties, the same kind of insoluble problems as man. (...) Better to be an animal than a man, an insect than animal, a plant than an insect, and so on. Salvation? Whatever diminishes the kingdom of consciousness and compromises its supremacy. (CIORAN, 1998)

Tiradentes Death, by Pedro Américo

The human being is deluded, that's its differential. In nature—from which man has been separated for a long time now—animals live and die with little awareness of the terrible condition they are subjected to. An antelope that spends its entire life running away from some big cat doesn't have the capacity to reflect upon its condition. Even the animals that are not prayed upon suffer accidents, get their wounds infected and, little by little, see their lives end in extreme pain. Be it by disease, accident or to serve as food for others, animals leave this world to the nothing they came from without the same sense of awareness we have. In a certain way that is a blessing, because the more conscious a being is of what life really is, the worse off it is.
I find it a good analogy or allegory to think of the world as being created by a malevolent Demiurge, from which it could be possible to free ourselves. An even better comparison is found in Buddhist cosmology: all life is imprisoned in an eternal cycle of birth and death, Samsara, from which we can escape by meditating on what chain us to it.  In both cases, Hell is here. But here we are, and as much as I'd like these visions to represent reality—because if they were real there would be some hope—, life presents itself as a transient, ephemeral phenomenon that exists in a material and mechanistic reality, and is derived from deterministic or nondeterministic accidents—a nondeterministic universe doesn't change anything in regards to the negative aspects of life, on the contrary, it makes us even more unlucky.
The other day I read a well meaning article about a poor dog that was killed in the parking lot of a big supermarket chain. The article also dealt with aggressions directed towards other human beings. Yes, what happened to the poor dog was indescribably bad. But the writer utilized a phrase I couldn't take out of my head, for it is at the center of what moved me to study the foundations of reality: "how many more aggressions will have to occur before someone starts to seriously look at the violence suffered by humans and animals?" Although she meant well, and even though I agree with the spirit of the article, it surprises me people can be astonished with violence. The answer to her question is, obviously: infinite number of aggressions would be necessary because we are never going to have a world where violence does not exist.
Our solar system has eight planets in it and, as far as we know, only one of them has violence, pain, hunger, disease, death, sadness, tears and gnashing of teeth. In a certain sense it is good that most men embrace delusion. This spares most of them from using the internet to see the dark side of reality. Unfortunately, that wasn't my case. I am an avid follower of news and statistics, and throughout the years, a few unsavory websites were sent to me on certain occasions, pages I wish I didn't know existed. For example, I advise everyone never to watch the numerous videos of tortures and executions filmed by Mexican cartels. It was through them that I learned that a human being does not pass out from pain after having the skin of their torso and head flayed with knifes. It would be best if we didn't have computers and lived in the countryside without electricity, because no one should see this kind of thing, not even by accident. Written news and dry statistics are already brutal enough for anyone with a minimum amount of intellect.

It could be argued that statistics and news that display violence in the world prove that we should fight for a less violent, more harmonic world. Sure, I agree, but it's a constant, never-ending struggle. There won't be a point in the future of humanity in which we'll have a perfect society without any violence, no matter how hard we work. It is a fairy tale for adults that many believe, unfortunately. But, as I've written before, men need illusions in order to get out of bed and live life, be it God or universal brotherhood. We have to remember that the violence we commit against each other is only one kind of violence that humans—and sentient life as a whole—face. There are countless diseases and accidents that can make our lives an ocean of suffering and painful death.

In July, 2016, in the state of California, two dads got out of the car they were driving with their families after getting into a minor wreck on the road. A truck that was passing by at that moment rear-ended the car that was parked at the side of the road, making it fall in a ditch. The wives and children of both men were still inside the car and got stuck inside after it fell. The vehicle caught on fire, but the people inside couldn't get out through the jammed doors or windows. Rescue teams arrived, but couldn't approach due to the increasing flames. Even so, both dads tried desperately to open the jammed doors, without success. They watched their wives and children screaming and burning until death, while their hands, arms and faces suffered severe burns because of the intense heat. (Link to this story)

It may not be today, or tomorrow, but something, someday will come to destroy us, be it physically or mentally. Normally, more than one thing will come, always when we're not expecting. The world isn't pretty. It never was or will be. Sentient life is an unfortunate phenomenon, and the more consciousness one has, the worst off one is. When I say that we should think of our children as being old, alone, and dying painfully in a hospital bed, I'm thinking of one of the best futures they can have. There are much worse things waiting for them. Those who do not exercise their minds and condemn new lives to this existential meat thrasher we call life—as if they were giving those new lives a winning lottery ticket—are the starting point of immense pain. There is nothing that can be said or believed that will change this. Life is not a gift, and we are incredibly unlucky to have been born.
We resemble lambs playing in the meadow while the butcher already makes his selection of one or the other of them with his eyes; for we do not know, in our good days, what disaster is being prepared for us now by fate – illness, persecution, impoverishment, loss of limb, blindness, madness, death and so on. (SCHOPENHAUER, 2015)


By Fernando Olszewski

(This post was first published December 7th, 2018 @ Exilado Metafísico) 



. CIORAN, Emil. The Trouble With Being Born. New York: Arcade Publishing, 1998. Translated by Richard Howard.

. SCHOPENHAUER, Arthur. Parerga and Paralipomena. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. Translated by Adrian Del Caro.