Let’s get back to the question of whether or not it is wrong to kill.
One of the reasons this is such a confusing question is this idea of “nature,” and what is “natural.” We need only look out at nature to see what we would consider to be violence and murder galore. It is the way of the jungle, so to speak, for animals to kill, and eat each other. This is a part of the very biology of many living beings. When we say that it is wrong to kill, is it wrong for a lion to kill and eat a zebra?
Some people are hesitant to have different standards for different living beings. I no longer have that hesitation. I think that it is obvious that we should have different standards of conduct—and expectations of maturity—for children and adults. And I think that we should think of the animal kingdom in this way as well. Now, this does not mean that we should see ourselves as “superior,” or the “rulers of the animal kingdom,” or any other part of nature. That is a huge, and incredibly fallacious, logical leap, which only serves to hinder our own progress. Such ideas are manifestations of childishness and immaturity, complicated by the fact that many organized religions have preached this very idea, and so people have been conditioned to believe this idea of human “superiority” (in the sense of being of more worth and value than other living things), and to accept it as a given. This is as unenlightened as thinking that just because you are an adult, and (supposedly) more mature than your child, that means you are superior to your child, that the child has less intrinsic worth than you. Unfortunately, this is a prevalent idea in our unenlightened society which treats children as so much property. And, in fact, the unenlightened notion of ownership and personal property is a contributor to this nonsense.
I think that the point is that we are not the same as other animals. As such, I think it is as silly to take the example of a lion killing a zebra as evidence that it is “natural” for living beings to kill other living beings as it would be to take the example of a child’s narcissism as evidence that it is natural to be narcissistic.
From my personal notes, 7/16/00