Wednesday, January 29, 2003

All I've read is just this review, mind you, but as someone who is neither humanist nor atheist I have to say that there is something oddly appealing in John Gray's point of view that Òhuman life has no more meaning than the life of slime mould,Ó and that nature wants from us nothing more than procreation.

I do not have a systematic religious philosophy that pulls a lot of varying strands together, that can somehow accomodate a view that supports both a Christian God and a maker of a natural world that operates under somewhat different laws.

I believe God cares about you, but nature does not -- nature is indifferent to you. That's why environmentalism always seems to me so absurd, in a way; it seems condescending, as if by recycling you're doing the earth some kind of a favor. Besides, to what extent is any environmental approach -- protecting the water, maintaining wildlife, legislating against toxins -- really about the environment so much as it is about the people who live in it? Nature does not care if you recycle; nature cares only that you fuck -- that's it.

Go to the mall on a Saturday. You see a sullen girl of 16, with braces, smoking a cigarette, idly trying to calm a squalling infant. You look at her and some ratty boy she's with and you think: teenage parents, what could be sadder. You look at him and you think, you poor sap, you couldn't hold it in, you didn't want to use a rubber, you wanted the real thing. Well, now you've got it -- this immature little bitch in her Wal-Mart clothes, your son in his wet diaper, and you in your own monogrammed shirt from Precision Tune. You think, these poor kids have failed before they started.

But as nature sees it, from nature's point of view, they haven't. They are a pair of wild successes. They did what they were supposed to do, right? She grew tits, he called her up, and nine months later we have a new citizen of the earth. And that is all nature cares about -- that's it. The money, the housing, the failed dream -- sorry, that's your problem. What matters is to spawn, spawn, spawn. Is that not what is, more or less, at the center of the universe? Love, happiness and life don't mean anything from a purely natural perspective; the death of that child, either from lack of any affordable medicine or some sudden spurt of anger from the parents, accounts for comparatively little. Nature will not cry over that death anymore than it would over a trampled flower.

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