Why do you want to talk about this?
Because I am not happy about it. I just killed a fly and now I feel bad.
Is it really a big deal? I mean it is just a fly.
But I think it is a big deal. It is a living creature. It has life in it and what right do I have to take a life, no matter what kind of form that life may take?
Well, humans and every other creature take lives all the time. Animals do not even think of it. They kill instinctually. It is just what they do. Humans do the same.
Yes, but I think humans have more evolved brains. We have the ability to have empathy and compassion. We have the ability to value and respect certain things.
Don’t you think animals have this same ability?
Yes, I think they do. I just do not fully understand it but when I see animals getting along with creatures that are a different species, this means they must have some ability to value life.
So if animals can do it, I should be able to do it.
Yes, but an animal will try to eat a fly that is bothering it. You have seen your dogs continually hunt down and eat flies.
Yes. But still I am not happy about taking a life. I don’t think it is a good idea. My dogs do it because it is just what they instinctually do. They can’t really stop and think, “Hey, this is a living creature. I should try to value and respect it.”
This is true.
I have that ability. This is what differentiates humans from all other creatures. We do have the ability to say to ourselves, “Hey wait. This is a living creature and maybe I should respect and value all forms of life.”
What a different world it would be if we all could do this.
Yes, but humans tend to get bored and angry. When angry and bored humans can be the most uncaring, self-centered and malicous creature on the earth. Boredom mixed with anger and/or fear is a dangerous mixture.
Yes. You could say that the cause of most killings, wars, genocides, religious persecutions is boredom.
Boredom mixed with and anger and/or fear.
Yes. Humans tend to be terrified of boredom. It makes them feel like they are dissolving into nothingness. They lose interest in everything. They feel like they serve no purpose. Everything lacks meaning. Humans are terrified of this. Killing, war, genocides, religious persecutions and all forms of distraction are really just ways to feel fully alive again. They are defenses against boredom.
Humans kill, persecute, wage wars and distract themselves to defend themselves against boredom. Interesting. I have never thought of it like this before but I think you are right.
So if when you see flies buzzing around your writing studio, if you can just learn to tolerate them. You may not get the jolt of being fully alive that comes from hunting down and killing a fly but at least you will be respecting life. You will learn how to tolerate the annoyance that may come from the frenetic activity of the fly. You will value life, rather than taking a life so that you can feel more fully alive.
And not just that. When I kill a fly I feel better because flies really do bother me. They are very annoying.
Yes, but the annoyance of a fly creates the same inner frustration and discomfort that say a Muslim Fundamentalist feels when they think about Westerners. The annoyance caused by a fly is similar to the annoyance that say a Trump supporter feels when they think of a liberal or a democrat. The only way that you will be able to differentiate yourself from all the insanity of human beings who are killing and hating each other, is to learn how to tolerate and respect the annoyance that a fly creates in you. As long as you kill a fly because it bothers you, you are no different from say an American fighter pilot who blows people up because they are a threat to his sense of security and calm. You become just like everyone else you abhor.
By just killing a fly in my writing studio?
Yes. It is the same psychological mechanism at work. You not valuing a life because it bothers you in your writing studio is the same as a Muslim Fundamentalist blowing people up in an airport because they are bothered by their way of life.
Ok. Makes sense. I need to stop killing flies. I see how world change begins at a microcosmic level. It begins in my writing studio. It begins with my very small actions. Even though I believe a massive upheaval is coming, where humans will take the lives of massive amounts of other humans because they are annoyed with one another, I can at least not be a participant in this by respecting and valuing all life.
Yes. If you can respect and value all life in your small, backyard writing studio, maybe this will have a larger effect in the outside world. Maybe not killing that next fly that bothers you, you will be saving the lives of your wife and everyone else you love. Maybe you will also be saving the lives of thousands of people you have never met and will never know.
Just by not killing a fly?
Yes. Just by not participating in the epidemic of killing. Possibly this way you can bring about some sort of change.
Ok. Will give it a shot. Even though there is a fly buzzing around my writing studio and driving me nuts right now, I will leave it alone.
Good. It will be gone soon enough.