We Are All Killers

We Are All Killers

Posted by thephotosophy


So desperately is modern, civilized man trying to conceal the fact that killing is an everyday occurrence. Without intentional, purpose-driven and rationalized everyday killing of living beings, there would be no life as we know it – at least in some domains. We kill for food, but we also kill for fun. What is hunting than killing for fun? Some may call it a sport, or justify it by other means (animal control), but it essentially is nothing more than organized and intentional killing.

Killing for food is not much different. Here the western culture vigorously tries to escape from the awareness that food processing in most cases involves a systematic slaughter of fellow creatures. Food commercials and related depictions of food processing may try to embellish the reality by diverting the perception toward end products devoid of their bloody past, but preparation of meat for consumption is in reality a ruthless bloodbath where compassion retreats in the face of mechanized rationality.

Why is the modern western human so afraid of coming to terms with the (presumably) justified killing that engulfs its culture? Why does he refrain to look in the mirror while slaughtering a pig to make sausages? What is so disturbing in a bloody image of a butcher, with an axe dripping blood from a recently slaughtered creature?

Might he be not simply disgusted of blood – which he enjoys as food – as much as afraid of compassion that could spring from realizing that so many creatures are being sacrificed for his pleasure and comfort? Might he simply be frightened by the possibility of frailty – because compassion is frailty, unlike cold, rationalized and purposeful homo faber that screams confidence, control and productivity?

Not all modern human is like that. Walk into a Chinese fish store and they will let you pick a lobster (or a trout) to smash with a hammer and wrap up for your pleasure. Walk into a Balkan meat store and you will see skinned young lambs hanging on the walls, blood dripping from their mouths, awaiting your pick of their most delicious body part. These guys don’t seem afraid to accept the reality of death, inflicted by their bloody hands on creatures of the world – sacrificial victims of our habits and tastes. But, where is the compassion? Does the fearless butcher who slaughters while winking to his image in the mirror have compassion for the victim?

Enchanted with the exoticism of non-rationalized human, many would think so. But, compassion for the killing we do for food or animal control is not to be looked for in the non- or pre-rationalized cultures, where mass production has not yet replaced the living experience of ending a creature’s life. It can only come from the future, from the enlightened understanding that rationality is just another step in the perfection of human conduct, on the everlasting path of our coming to terms with meaningless and arbitrary existence