It's a dog-eat-dog world, some say, pointing at the primeval principle of kill-or-be-killed underlying all political and economic conflict. The smell of blood is all it takes to trigger a feeding frenzy among sharks. We see it around us, every single day, and so we become desensitized to the blood and gore of the abattoir (a word we borrowed from the French, because it sounds a lot more genteel than "slaughterhouse").
Few of us have had to hunt and kill and skin and gut and cook the meat we consume. We buy it from the supermarket, neatly wrapped in cellophane and kept fresh in the freezer. No protruding heads or feet to remind us what the animal looked like when it was alive. Often the meat comes in tidy, bloodless, machine-sliced fillets, ready to stick in the oven or frying pan.
Eating fruit and greens doesn't seem so hideous, perhaps because plants don't scream or bleed when chopped up. And, even if they do, their blood is green or colorless, and their screams are beyond our hearing range. Fruits and nuts, of course, are aesthetically the least offensive, since they grow off trees - and no matter how many fruits or nuts we consume, at least we're not harming the trees themselves.
I wish I could live on fruits and nuts - but that would require a monumental, almost fanatical, effort. And it's no fun being a fanatic about anything. Nevertheless, after an ayahuasca experience I had in July 2011, I'm beginning to feel more tolerant towards vegetarians.
|Hishamuddin Hashim, |
Teoh Beng Hock's tormentor
Those who have seen Apocalypse Now - Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 film adaptation of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness - will recall the spine-chilling last words of Colonel Walter E. Kurtz: "The horror... the horror!"
That was exactly how I felt when I was granted a vision of what Malaysian politics looks like from the astral perspective. We live in a multi-tiered social hierarchy defined by genetic heredity (traditional aristocracy) and financial inheritance (the nouveau riche). Those not born into one of the nine royal bloodlines have to buy their perks and privileges with hard cash.
Strong egos dominate, exploit and oppress the weaker ones - that's the way the world works. That's how it has always worked and that's how it will forever be.
Can you imagine: who would risk their lives balancing on precarious scaffoldings, day in and day out, to construct a 100-story skyscraper, for a measly RM100 a day? Would you do it? Would you want your children to do it? Let those foreign workers from impoverished countries do the dirty and dangerous work!
|Najib Razak, cold-blooded and vicious|
High Priest of Iniquity
Is there a way out of this endless loop of energy predation, this neverending nightmare of master-slave, victor-victim relationships?
Prince Siddhartha realized he was living in an artificial bubble of comfort, insulated from the raw reality beyond the palace walls. Unable to enjoy his creature comforts, knowing they were merely transient, Siddhartha set off quietly to live like an ascetic. He learned to meditate from a variety of spiritual masters and eventually broke free from the robotism of physical embodiment.
It's not enough to believe in or revere what Prince Siddhartha achieved. We have to become Buddha ourselves. And that's just a start on an inner journey back to where we began, as the Source of All Energy and Consciousness. But, once we attain our own enlightenment, we will never again wallow in the abysmal ignorance of automatism. Every word we utter, every thought we bear, and every action we take will be done consciously.
We may continue to devour the flesh of other species, but we shall do so with apologetic humility and gratitude - and, in so doing, we shall consciously bless the animal whose death now feeds our life and whose body now becomes part of our bodies. The soul of the animal, thus being acknowledged and blessed, will depart in peace and continue its adventure, perhaps in different embodiments, and it may even opt to experience being human.
|Zahid Hamidi, ready to pounce|
Personally, I would rejoice in the ability to live entirely off sunshine, fresh air and love. Occasionally, as a special treat, I would allow myself to be devoured and consumed - and to, in turn, consume and devour - but only as a ritual of sacred union performed with a lover in the celebratory spirit of tantra.
[First posted 26 July 2011]