GB No. 8, summer 1992
Yesterday came the sixth letter touching, among other things, on the same question: what do you think, from the point of view of deep ecology, which stresses the problem of excessive human reproduction on Earth, about killing conceived human life?
To have opinions is not a particularly useful pastime, but if such a question has been put to the author of this text so many times, let it be a starting point for further questions. Perhaps they will suggest, even to a small extent, some answers favourable to Mother Earth?
So, why is it that those who often use words like "truth", "love", "morality", do not feel any moral discomfort wearing natural leather and furs (to "produce" an astrakhan lamb fur will require killing an adult, highly developed animal and extracting from the womb its offspring, conceived much earlier, already developed and feeling)? Perhaps we are a civilization of hypocrisy? Hypocrisy on the part of those who fight to introduce the first-ever law penalizing abortion obviously does not lie in the actual fact of their attempts to protect unborn life, but is it not hypocrisy to conceal the fact that, presenting opinions from the so-called Catholic point of view, they actually demand the penalizing of adherence to another ideology? What is hypocritical is to conceal the fact that they demand that the truth believed by some be accorded the status of a truth binding everybody: to conceal that some deem themselves to have the right to warrant the truth. Has this anything in common with ecology? Ecology teaches us that everything is linked to everything else. Deep ecology also involves a conviction that any life has a value of its own. I have not heard, however, about anyone from DE circles demanding penalties for those who do not share in this holistic idea, or better, experience of the world. Yes indeed, this is either our experience or an empty slogan. Even if a "Pole/Catholic" does not share our conviction (although, in my opinion, there is no contradiction between ecology, deep ecology, and all the great religions of the world, thus the quotation marks), one should remember that are people in Poland who accept the holistic vision of the world and, consequently, are aware that the greatest problem lies with hiperpopulation of the homo sapiens species, together with an ailment of the human mind which involves alienation, separation from other forms of life, and sometimes from other people who think differently. There has to be acceptance for this minority or it should be said openly: there no place for you among us. Otherwise, we face hypocrisy. The hypocrisy of our part of the world is effected through exploitation of the rest of the world, that is, the great majority. It is there where every day more than 20 species of plants and animals are irreversibly exterminated as a consequence of the "development" of Western civilization. Is it at all moral to take part in this game of "growth and development" of the rich life of the North at the expense of other forms of life and also the lives of the people in the South? It is quite dubious to stand for absolute protection of a fertilized human egg when, at the same time, one remains silent about his participation in the killing of more developed and sentient forms of life by enjoying the Western lifestyle in its present form. Cultural egotism, or, more broadly, species egotism, human chauvinism (denying rights to other forms of life) stems from the feeling of separation, from negating the participation of the WHOLE organism in life. Is it not egotism and hypocrisy to discuss only penalizing abortion while keeping silent about the suffering of millions of animals, including highly developed primates, during vivisection, for example? Unless we openly state that they have no rights at all, that humans remain above any other form of life and may rule them freely. But this is an ideology and it should not be imposed on others. I presume that most people here think this way. Such ideas have provided the foundations of western civilization, and that is why we have horrendous means of destruction, dying forests and waters, polluted air, and are at the brink of disaster, which awaits our species as well. No species has made this Earth suffer so much and caused so much extinction of life as this single species in its western variety, the so-called Christian civilization of growth and development.
If I try to identify with the mind of someone who demands that the problems of our world be solved by introducing penalties, my further reasoning would look this way: considering it in a comprehensive way, human life does not begin with a fertilized egg. (Perhaps this is so for someone who sees the problem of human souls "entering" the scene at the moment of fertilization of the human egg only - but this would be a topic for quite different a discussion). From the perspective of deep ecology, any killing of nature is killing humans. Of course, we must state clearly that each form of life is supported by other forms of life and that process includes killing. But needless killing will always lead to suffering as it destroys the harmony of the system. Needless killing does not necessarily mean abortion, but rather indulging in luxuries (the 40,000 children dying of hunger each day are closely linked to the luxuries of our life). Needless killing quite often but not always means keeping to a meat-based diet. Maybe we need other, more serious legislation? Legislation which will protect life unconceived? Indeed we do not have the right to kill the millions of people who are not conceived yet, and who either die or, in the best of scenarios, will live but suffer greatly in the world we have left: with unattended nuclear waste, contaminated air, water, food and soil. We are not entitled to continue exterminating species, which will lead to extermination of people yet unconceived, by, say, destroying the necessary pool of genes. When we cut the links of the chain of life in a system, we kill that system, and with it ourselves and, most of all, those not yet conceived.
The law on the protection of unconceived children should call for criminal legal penalties for killing any link of life. Not any killing because life cannot exist without it; but for killing links, killing needlessly: for luxury, growth, domination. Perhaps we should penalize excessive reproduction when it exceeds the tolerance limits of the environment and leads to the extermination of biocenoses? It is worth considering penalties for not acting to protect endangered life (e.g. when you see a monumental tree being cut, or the clearcutting of the forest adjacent to the Białowieża National Park). A law on the protection of unconceived children could save the lives of millions today and billions tomorrow.
This is obviously fantasizing. Can any urgent legislation be passed by the Sejm (Parliament) of the Polish Republic anyway? During the discussion on ecology the chamber was empty. During the debate on abortion it was full. Does this not strike a note of hypocrisy in the untainted defenders of life who demand penalties against women and physicians, and who are indifferent to the extermination of life as a whole? Perhaps this is the point. After nature dies, no woman will became pregnant.
A. Janusz Korbel
Workshop for All Beings