LITTLE SPECKS OF BLOOD AND BONE – Why You Are Actually A Serial Killer And How Society Is Definitely To Blame
Meat is murder. Well known fact. Morrissey banged on about in some album back in the Eighties. Thankfully I only know that information second hand. Nature and nurture have endowed me with many psychological flaws, but the urge to listen to anything by The Smiths has never been one of them. No over rated Johnny Marr janglings in my iPod.
Abortion is also murder. I don’t have any songs about that on my iPod either. Though it’s a knocking bet that some hippy or pro-lifer has managed to sneak one out past the guard dogs of good taste. I also don’t own an iPod because of a natural revulsion to ruthless businessmen pretending to be touchy feely new age beatniks.
So meat is murder and abortion is murder, according to vegetarians and doctor killing Christian fundamentalists. And as usual, both groups are entirely missing the point. Or rather failing to attack the point from a sufficient number of angles. What is the point? We are human beings. Everything we do is murder.
Everything we blithely expect from modern society has been paid by someone with their life. People died building the roads you drive on. People died building the bridges which allow those roads to span ravines and rivers. If you’re ok with corporate behemoths posing as philanthropic collectives, then someone died somewhere along the line in making and shipping your iPod. And yes, vegetarians, there is a nut cutlet somewhere in your history which was metaphorically soaked in human blood.
I work in a supermarket and know of at least one man who lost his life delivering potatoes and cornflakes. If that seems to you like a pretty pointless way to meet your maker, let me ask you a question. Do you value your independence? If your answer is yes, then you are an idiot. Either that or you have not been paying the remotest bit of attention since the unfortunate day of your birth. Probably both.
Your independence is an illusion, a mirage made on smoke and mirrors. Drop any one of us, or even any average group of us, into a place without shops or houses and we would die. I’ve watched quite a bit of Ray Mears so I’d probably expire a little slower than some, but I’d still die. We all rely on each other utterly for survival.
At some point during your life you will have waited in at home all day for someone to repair your washing machine or fit your satellite dish. Completely helpless and at the mercy of another human being’s busy schedule. It’s upsetting and annoying, partly because if they turn up at all, they always turn up at the last possible moment but mostly because it’s a big kick in the pants to your illusory sense of independence. And that’s just for the purposes of cleaning your clothes or catching the new series of Lie to Me. What about food, warmth and shelter?
You could not have built the house you live in or the car you drive. You could not have put together the cooker you used to make last night’s dinner nor would you have the first idea how to grow most of the ingredients. Even if you are some sort of latter day renaissance man and could do all of these things, could you have smelted the steel for the cooker’s parts? Grown and seasoned the wood for your house’s roof joists? Extracted and vulcanized the rubber for the car’s tyres? No, you couldn’t.
What we’ve achieved as human beings is very impressive, I’ll admit that. But it’s all so terribly fragile. We’re not designed to cooperate with each other on such a vast scale and the only thing which allows us to is a fairly recent invention in our history: Money. And money is just an idea that we have all decided to believe in. Ultimately it’s even more illusory than independence.
Like any shared delusion, if people stop believing in money, then it dies like Tinkerbelle. Every so often the people who work with money get a little shaky in their belief and we end up with the kind of mess we’ve dropped into over the last few years. Even during boom times, we’re only ever a few steps of doubt away from the sudden collapse of civilization as we know it.
I may be one of the blameless ones on the iPod front, but everything else I own is indelibly stamped with death. My house, my computer, my shoes, everything. My life, and yours, are meaningless ciphers in the big interconnected and interdependent mess that is humanity. Let me give you an example of the absurdity of the whole thing.
Every year in Britain, at least two people die as a direct result of tea cosies. That’s a real statistic, look it up if you don’t believe me. The statistics don’t say how the deaths occurred, which is a shame. Maybe tea cosies are toxic if swallowed in sufficient quantities, who knows? Two, incidentally, is roughly the number of deaths verified every year from recreational use of Ecstasy pills.
But people regularly accuse drug dealers of being murderers, while your Great Aunt Mabel’s reputation remains unsullied for crafting you something to keep your teapot warm. The teapot which, by the way, she bought for you in the first place and that she insists you use on the rare occasions she visits you. Which could be interpreted by the uncharitable as a dotty attempt at murder or suicide on your Great Aunt Mabel’s part.
To be fair to your Great Aunt Mabel, the man who hawks disco biscuits at your local night club is well aware of the risks his punters are taking. It’s unlikely she is similarly acquainted with the peril her work with the knitting needles is placing you in.
I’m not saying that getting a doctor to snuff out the potential little life in your belly is the same as eating a nut cutlet. Or that an old lady mucking about with wool is the same thing as a Hell’s Angel making drugs in his bathtub in Amsterdam. But it is all a sliding scale and the only altruistic thing you can do on this scale is to kill yourself. Unfortunately, suicide is only ever carried out for selfish motives, not altruistic ones.
We are human beings and, directly or indirectly, we kill each other. We’re bloody good at it too. So does anything I do really make the slightest difference really? I’m just a little speck of blood and bone on the skin of this big old World. And this big old world is just a tiny chip of damp rock circling the vastness of the Solar System. And the Solar System….and so on and so forth.
There’s a theory called Haldane’s Comfort. It states that it doesn’t matter what you do. Time is infinite and so logically there will be an infinite number of Universes to fill that time. That girl you never had the courage to ask out and have regretted it ever since? Doesn’t matter. Another you will do in a few Universes’ time. Or a billion Universes’ time. All possibilities will eventually be played out.
Does it matter what I do? Well, it does to all of the other little specks of blood and bone around me. I might not be able to prove my physical existence-cogito ergo sum and all that- but they can. To the police if necessary. And it’s that fact that’s stopped me from doing the first thing that comes into my head the moment that thought arrives. And if you’re honest with yourself, it’s the only thing that’s kept you out of jail too.
© Copyright Michael Grimes 2013