If I were to meet a genie who offered to grant all my wishes, what would I ask for?
I’m sure that I would initially draw a blank—like writer’s block, I’d experience wisher’s block—because I would not want to reveal the shallowness of my desires by asking for something materialistic like a new car.
Plus, when I wish for a new car, I instantly think: Why didn’t I ask for a luxury pontoon? Because that’s obviously a much more stylish way to travel. Fortunately, the genie placed no limit on my wishes; so I can just leave the car parked where it is, or wish it away.
As far as I understand, there’s a practice—I think they call it a “sport”; and I think it’s illegal—where a bunch of humans huddle in a circle, and two doves are thrown into their midst, and the humans incite these doves to fight each other.
I think to myself: If these doves had encountered each other in the same location, but without their human provokers, they might have struck up a friendship instead of fighting to the death.
And this made me begin to wonder about our world: I say that the “rules of existence” were devised by someone who wanted us to fight each other. And by us I mean all creatures, insects included.
While strolling down the sidewalk the other day, I accidentally stepped on a bunch of ants. There were about six ants destroyed by this one small mistake. Why do we humans share a world with ants? It’s not even a fair fight. And nobody is enjoying the antagonism.
Some people decide to eat only vegetables, in order to avoid harming animals. This practice intrigues me. I like the idea that, if we simply abstain from eating meat, all animals will live a painlessly eternal existence. As if our world was created by something benevolent.
The truth is that uneaten animals also expire. Everything ages. Yet, to paraphrase Nietzsche: Some people die too early; some people die too late—the trick is to die at the right time.
So, after striving to maximize the quality of their life, we should put great care into discerning when it would be best for each animal to make its exit. And we should assure that the end is always quick and painless. The same should be done for humankind. To death, Walt Whitman says: …when thou must indeed come, come unfalteringly.