Click to read the original piece: Click.
A quote from the piece:
" ... I cannot help every coal tit. I cannot want every capable applicant for pupillage to succeed. I can, however, adopt a very tiny sample of fledgling tits or fledgling lawyers, and powerfully wish these, ‘my’ protégés, well. It’s not about whether you should want to help other creatures. It’s about whom or what you prioritise, and whom or what you relegate. It’s about ranking.
Christ offered no guidance here that anybody could actually use. He sort-of suggested we should consider ourselves equally bound to all — but this is impossible. All He said about those circles-within-circles of moral duty so intrinsic to all human reasoning — family, community and tribe — is that He came to set brother against brother, and we are as beholden to the Samaritan as to our own. You cannot live by such precepts.
Had I my life over, I’d like to search the world’s other major religions to see if they are less coy about competing duties. I suspect they are all coy. I think I know the reason. Morality flows not from divine teaching, but from animal instinct and the survival of species. ..."
ybrao a donkey - this blogger‷s comments:
I do not wish to interfere into or comment upon the views of Mr. Parris. Here are my own musings:
World‷s major religions thrive on fear (longing and security), hope-and-greed for worldly gains with the help of the so-called God.
Preachers all over the world had/have/will have their own agenda and priorities. Founders of religions, whether called Prophets or not, had their own priorities. In other words, their own individual personal priorities. They had nothing to do with social priorities.
For example, according to Bible, Jesus gave permission to humans to slaughter and eat some animals and eat their flesh. We have a sheep on his shoulders. We depict him as something of an embodiment of compassion. That means, blessed with compassion from Jesus, it should have lived its full life, be it four years or eight years, without being culled.
The very next day, it might have gone onto the butcher‷s table or into a barbecue. One of my readers has pointed this out as a difficult choice between survival of human (compassion to human) and survival of other creatures (compassion to animals). The priority of Jesus or his apostles/disciples, perhaps, was survival of human. Or they might not had time to contemplate on compassionary (compassional?) priorities, because they were under greater compression from the Roman Emperor and his Governor Herod and there was no time for prioritisation of compassion.
Recently, there was a hue and cry in UK about imported meat getting mixed up with horse‷s meat. Citizens have some countries have their compassion priorities fixed on some selected animals. In India, Hindus revere cows and there is a demand for banning sale of beef (cows/bulls origin). But the same Hindus do not have any restrictions or sacredness for the buffaloes. Actually, both buffaloes and cows deserve equal respect, because they have similar utility. Entire world lives on their milk. Using them as long as they render milk, and slaughtering them, the moment they are found of little commercial value, what type of priorities are these! These are the priorities of Economics. Religions and Commerce, sometimes, they concur and sometimes conflict.
So, there should be no wonder, if an individual finds that he is unable to chose among the circles within which he is locked up. For breaking through the shackles and spirals, great effort is needed.
Yet, it will not be difficult to have some real sense of equity or equanimity.
Example about compassion: Even plants have life, and sense of anxiety and pain, though may not be of the human variety. Hence, humans have to be equally compassionate to animals of all varieties (except those which kill him-her such as cobras and pythons attacking or chasing him without provocation) and plants. Human has to learn to live on a minimum-minuscule diet necessary for his healthy subsistence. This not only saves plants and animals, bt also humans themselves, by preventing obesity and diabetes. Whims, fancies, idiotic crazes and craves cannot co-exist with equity and equanimity.
Example of pupillage raised in the article referred above. Helping one‷s own apprentice lawyer or some other lawyer. Hindu Epic mahAbhArata had one similar conflicting incident, in which the narrow-selfish-instinct conquered equity.
story of drONA, the archery teacher. drONA was the royal archery teacher for pANDava and Kaurava Princes. His dearest disciple was Prince arjuna. drONA taught everything he knew to arjuna. A tribal youth by name Ekalavya wanted to join the tutelage of drONa and learn archery, but regal-bound drONa could not entertain him.
Ekalavya went back to his woods, placed an earthen idol of drONa on a pedestal and started practising archery. After several years of hardwork, perseverance and devotion, he became so adept in archery that he could outclass arjuna taught by drONA.
One day arjuna and Bros. went on an expedition to forests and found Ekalavya‷s prowess. arjuna grew envious of Ekalavya. Ekalavya declared that he learnt his art from his preceptor drONa.
arjuna went back to his fort, sought explanation from his guru drONa, for teaching something superior to Ekalavya, withholding it to the paid disciple arjuna.
drONa himself wondered how Ekalavya learnt. drONa went to forest and found Ekalavya practising. Seeding drONa, Ekalavya fell on his (assumed) teacher‷s feet. drONA asked Ekalavya for teacher‷s remuneration. EkalavyA fell again at Guru‷s feet and offered whatever he wanted.
Guru asked for Ekalavya‷s thumb. Ekalavya severed his thumb and kept it at the feet of his Guru. Ekalavya, bereft of his thumb, lost his ability to use bows and arrows. Thus, great merit was slaughtered at the feet of a selfish Guru, who could not break his obligations of slavery to his Paying-masters.
So, where are the priorities!