(but life is)
a meditation on the dolphin slaughter
As I watch my feelings rise and fall with regard to the Taiji dolphin slaughter I feel an amazing variety of things.
I feel a crushing despair. There is nothing I will ever be able to contribute to the world which will be an adequate answer to the blindness and brutality of the people in it. Because it isn’t just the Taiji fishermen — this kind of thing goes on all over. This is who we are — and so honestly: why bother?
I feel the strength go out of my arms and legs. I don’t want to write anything. I certainly don’t want to argue with anyone. I feel a total revulsion at what it is to be human. I feel fundamentally humiliated. I don’t want for any redemption for anyone, or any continuance. The stain is sufficiently deep and sufficiently ugly that the garment can only be destroyed.
Allow us to end, or at least me. If we as a species cannot be eradicated, at least I can die — and while nothing would be solved, nothing would be solved anyway and at least I won’t have to listen to it or know about it.
There is no progress and there is no music and there is no art. To the degree that we are different from animals, we are only perverse. What does it matter if we can build telescopes if we still are able to do these other things.
Simultaneously with this, I feel the futility of communicating it. Because the world is so blind and so cruel, that my own sensation of this would be disallowed. To have written this is self indulgent and melodramatic — because we are so selfish and shallow as a culture that this simple moral awareness — the desire to die from shame — is something that we no longer understand.
I can picture trying to say this to someone, and then I can see them immediately turning and attempting to demean me in my deepest and most sacred space. “You don’t really feel that way, you are writing this for effect.” And in imagining that I come face to face with my knowledge of my own profound isolation from my culture. My culture which on the one hand does things like this, and on the other hand rationalizes and ignores things like this being done.
Apart from that profound shame, I feel rage. I don’t think it is a complex rage — I want to kill the men in the boats. Violence leaps out of me at them, it is not as if I think “What they are doing is wrong and they should be punished.” I think they are garbage. I can feel my arms raising a bat or an axe and bringing it down on them. I want to crush them so that they no longer take a human shape. Crush them or burn them. It’s only 13 boats — how hard would it be to burn the boats — to kill the men and their families? And their families. I’m sure the action of actually doing it would not feel like the image that rises to my mind — I see it in my imagination as a crushing burning wind that blows out from me and burns the fishing village from the earth. I want to crush the mens heads in my hand, to squeeze the breath out of them and then crush their skulls or hammer away at their faces with the claw side of a claw hammer.
I can accept that animals die, and that people die. I can accept that people kill people — that’s pretty much our own shit and we need to work it out. I can accept the killing for benefit of research and agriculture. But people who cruelly kill animals (or children) — who kill for tradition or pleasure, who linger over the suffering blindly. I want to cut their eyes out of their heads.
And of course I can’t share that with others either. And then I think “I don’t belong here. I don’t want to be here with these horrible people who I can’t talk too and feel nothing but contempt for and shame of. I have nothing to offer these people, I don’t want to offer anything to these people.”
And I can play the psychologists game, and say that this is vanity. I can say that this is melodrama, or that I am identifying with the dolphin as a humiliated child and that the rage is a psychological remnant or whatever.
But I don’t believe that. I believe, and affirm and bear wittiness of my belief that the despair and the rage are just. I would not want to be a person who responded any differently. I would not want to be able to rationalize or forgive or justify. So I could choose to re-enter society — I know the steps and the words to diminish my sense of what is important and what is real. I could choose to not listen to these dark winds.
I could choose to inhabit a narrative that is functional in the face of the nightmare that human beings make out of their existence.
But I do not choose that. I choose not to do that.
Because people are not fucking worth it.
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