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The Universal Right to Life

We can speculate about the origin, meaning and purpose of life, but what we do know for sure is that all of us have been granted the opportunity to experience life at this moment in time. And with us, all the flora and fauna on our planet, from the microscopic to the macroscopic — those also being living organisms just like ourselves. Like Carl Sagan, we can even go so far as to say that our planet Earth as a whole can itself also be considered a living organism. 1 And because of the fractal nature of our reality, we can extend this line of reasoning all the way to the entire Universe, allowing us to state with confidence that our Universe is a living organism.

We don’t know, or at least can’t say for sure, who or what entity outside of our Universe is responsible for the existence of life, but what we do know is that no organism would be alive if the Universe didn’t exist or didn’t allow for the circumstances for them to be alive. Therefore we can, at the very least, state with confidence that all life is granted and made possible by the Universe. This in a manner very similar to how, on a smaller scale within our fractal Universe, our own bodies grant life to every new cell being created every day. Our bodies are to such an individual cell as the Universe is to an individual organism.

Provided that individual cells within our bodies behave in line with our bodies’ goal to stay healthy and alive, those cells are allowed to thrive and live out their life. In fact, our bodies have every incentive to actively help those cells to thrive. However, cells that misbehave start to become a threat to the general wellbeing of our bodies (“disease”) and can eventually cause our bodies to die. We know from experience how our bodies react to such threats from within and it would be reasonable to assume, given the fractal and self-similar nature of our Universe, that, at a higher level, the same kind of relationship also exists between us and our Universe. If we misbehave, the Universe will eventually have to deal with us, or else, given enough time, risk complete corruption and death. 2 If, on the other hand, we live our lives in accordance with the Universal Right to Life, the Universe will do all that it can to help us succeed. 3 Thus we see that the Universe not only gives life, but can also take it away when it’s used in a contradictory way, that is, against itself. 4

Every organism is entitled to its life which is granted and made possible by the Universe. The mere fact that an organism is alive is sufficient evidence for the fact that it has been granted the right to life, and consequently the right to actually live its life. Having the right to life would be meaningless if the organism didn’t also have the opportunity and freedom to actually live its life. And having the freedom to live its life automatically implies having complete control of itself — of all that constitutes the organism in this reality, which, as far as we know, includes its physical and spiritual self (its body and mind/consciousness). Without complete autonomy, it would indeed be quite difficult for an organism to be free to live its life, and thus to have self-determination. In addition, complete control of itself further implies ownership of itself; the organism is the sole owner and authority of all that constitutes itself, as far as known in this reality.

This means that no organism can have a claim on the right to life of another but itself. When it comes to the right to life, all organisms in the Universe are reduced to peers — to equals amongst each other, each being a sovereign entity. This is the only way in which we can truly have equality between organisms; they all have an equal right to life, granted by the Universe. Everything else in the Universe follows from this fundamental right to life. 5

To be able to exercise its right to life the organism has to keep itself alive for as long as possible; it has to work towards self-preservation. That means that the organism will have to see to it that it satisfies its basic needs so that it can safely continue to live its life. The organism will have to expend some of its resources, such as its energy and time, 6 and work towards keeping its basic needs satisfied in order to survive. To this end, whatever the organism appropriates to itself from its environment that is freely available, by binding to it some of its own resources, becomes a part of the organism, or in other words, becomes the property of the organism. 7 The organism is free to decide what it wants to do with its property. Any interference with this freedom of disposition is, in the final analysis, interference with the organism’s right to life. 8

In living in accordance with the above, all organisms in the Universe are, by themselves, able to come to a good sense of morality which automatically follows from the Universal Right to Life. In the final analysis, a universal sense of morality is based on the following statement: Respect each other’s right to life. 9 Good intentions, decisions, and actions (virtue) are those that respect every organism’s right to life. Bad or evil intentions, decisions, and actions (vice) are those that interfere in any possible way with an organism’s right to life.

I’ve purposely kept the above discussion of the Universal Right to Life in general terms because it is after all a Universal concept that applies at various levels (micro and macro) and in all areas of life. At its core, the Universal Right to Life is a really simple concept, but it has very broad and far reaching implications once you start thinking about it. In the footnotes below I do go into some more detail and specific examples that may help you to understand this a little better. But if you want a more detailed discussion with many more examples of what “respecting someone’s right to life” in normal daily life might entail, I recommend reading my posts “The Difference between Love and Lust”, “On Human Nature and Morality: Humans are Intrinsically Good” and “Persuasion, Influencing and Selling are Mind Manipulation”.

Footnotes

  1. Like Carl Sagan said in “Cosmos” Episode 13 “Who Speaks for Earth?” (1980):

    A new consciousness is developing which sees the Earth as a single organism and recognizes that an organism at war with itself is doomed. We are one planet.

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  2. If misbehaving cells in our body are allowed to continue their course, then over time this could lead to further deterioration of our body and eventually death (think of cancer). At a higher level, the same thing is also true for the Universe in relation to humankind. Like I wrote in my post “Thoughts on Karma and Consciousness”:

    Right now we’re like a bunch of savages, destroying our environment, constantly fighting with each other and killing each other on a large scale, and we just began playing with powerful nuclear weapons and are beginning to go out into space. If the quality of our consciousness doesn’t improve, then our current low quality and barbaric state of consciousness is what we’re going to be spreading soon throughout the universe at an exponential rate.

    So in a way the aliens are acting like a kind of immune system that’s trying to do damage control before the damage spreads too far into the universe like a disease (the universe can be seen as a single organism). It’s interesting to note that in the first Matrix movie, the character “agent Smith” compared humankind to a virus. And to be honest, he had a point, and it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if that’s how the aliens see us right now.

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  3. As Christopher Jargodzki, a professor of physics, said:

    The degree to which one is in harmony with the Universe can be measured by an intensified flow of synchronicity. Synchronicity may provide a new foundation for ethics: instead of actions being classified as right or wrong, the new criterion will be the extent to which they are developmentally appropriate as measured by an increased or decreased flow of synchronicity.

    To be in harmony with the Universe is to be in harmony with the Universal Right to Life, which means respecting and living according to the Universal Right to Life. As long as you do that, then as Paulo Coelho said, “when you want something, all the Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” ↩︎

  4. It wouldn’t make sense for life to oppose itself. In such a case, in the words of Carl Sagan, we’d have an organism that is continuously at war with itself — a very difficult, unsustainable and highly illogical situation that, in the best case, would severely limit or completely halt progress and growth, and in the worst case, would cause deterioration and death.

    As a general rule, whenever you see that there’s an inconsistency or contradiction anywhere, it’s a sure sign that something is wrong and not the way it’s supposed to be. The Universe is fundamentally rational or logical. Like I wrote in my post “Convincing C programmers to switch to C++; A look at human thinking behavior”:

    This is why everything in the universe works according to certain predictable “laws” — the so called “laws of nature.” This is also why “math is the language of the universe” as the saying goes. This is why science works; it’s because there’s a fundamental logic — a fundamental mathematical truth — that underlies all of the universe.

    And like Wilhelm Reich wrote in “Selected Writings: An Introduction to Orgonomy”:

    To identify “unconscious” with “irrational” is nonsense. […] if all functions below the conscious intellect are “irrational,” how is it possible that life functioned well, long before the development of reason? There can be no doubt: natural, objective functions are basically rational.

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  5. The Universal Right to Life is similar to, but a more generalized version of, what others often refer to as “Natural Law” or the “Law of Nature.” For example, as John Locke wrote in “Two Treatises of Government” (1690):

    The natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on earth, and not to be under the authority of man, but only to have the Law of Nature for his rule.

    Which I would change to: “The natural liberty of an organism is to be free from any superior power in the Universe, and not to be under the authority of any other organism, but only to have the Universal Right to Life as its guide and moral compass.”

    And as Thomas Jefferson wrote in “A Summary View of the Rights of British America” (1774):

    A free people [claim] their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate.

    Which I would change to: “A free organism claims its rights as derived from the Universal Right to Life, and not as the gift of any other organism.”

    And as Muammar al-Qaddafi wrote in “The Green Book” (1975):

    The laws of the dictatorial instruments of government have replaced the natural laws, i.e., positive law has replaced natural law. […] The abrogation of natural laws from human societies and their replacement by conventional laws is the fundamental danger that threatens freedom. Any ruling system must be made subservient to natural laws, not the reverse.

    Which I would change to: “Any ruling system must be made subservient to the Universal Right to Life, not the reverse.”

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  6. It may not be obvious to most people but time can also be seen as a resource and property. In fact, for a single organism, time is a finite and arguably one of the most valuable resources. Every organism has a limited amount of time to live its life in this reality. When they spend their time doing something, they spend a part of their life that they can never get back. For example, when they spend time producing something, they bind to the product some of their time, thereby making it their property. In another example, this is why it’s important to be very respectful of people’s time:

    Respecting an individual’s right to life also means valuing their time. We all have a limited amount of time to live our lives. When someone decides to spend time with you, they are giving you a part of their life that they can never get back. So if you respect their right to life, you’ll be very careful not to waste their time (which is essentially wasting their life). This translates to things like being on time on your appointments, being honest, direct and upfront with people in order to efficiently use their time, etc.

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  7. John Locke also wrote about this in “Two Treatises of Government” (1690). What Locke called “Labour” or “Work” is essentially the spending of energy and time by an organism (in this case a human being):

    […] every Man has a Property in his own Person. This no Body has any Right to but himself. The Labour of his Body, and the Work of his Hands, we may say are properly his. Whatsoever then he removes out of the State that Nature hath provided, and left it in, he hath mixed his Labour with, and joined to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his Property. It being by him removed from the common state nature placed it, it hath by his labour something annexed to it, that excludes the common right of other Men. For this Labour being the unquestionable Property of the Labourer, no Man but he can have a right to what that is once joined to, at least where there is enough, and as good left in common for others.

    He that is nourished by the Acorns he pickt up under an Oak, or the Apples he gathered from the Trees in the Wood, has certainly appropriated them to himself. No Body can deny but the nourishment is his. I ask then, When did they begin to be his? When he digested? Or when he eat? Or when he boiled? Or when he brought them home? Or when he pickt them up?

    Especially take note of the fact that Locke also mentions that [the organism] may appropriate things from its environment to itself as long as “there is enough, and as good left in common for others.” This means that an organism cannot hoard unlimited amounts of resources for itself, but should only take enough as is needed to guarantee its own survival. Hoarding too much resources interferes with the right to life of other organisms. I explained this with an example in my post “On Human Nature and Morality: Humans are Intrinsically Good”:

    […] when you respect an individual’s right to life, this automatically includes acknowledging and respecting his basic needs as a human being […]. People would stop hoarding resources (like money, land and food) because they would realize that in doing so they deny others the satisfaction of their basic needs, and thus interfere with their right to life.

    In another example, all “countries” around the world hoard large pieces of land, requiring people to submit to being slaves in order to “legally” have a piece of land to build their homes on — a severe violation of their right to life. As Larken Rose states in his book “The Most Dangerous Superstition” (2011):

    Every “country” is a huge slave plantation, and everything and everyone there is the property of the politicians. The believers in “government” never explain how it is that a few politicians could have acquired the right to unilaterally claim exclusive ownership of thousands of square miles of land, where other people were already living, as their territory, to rule and exploit as they see fit. It would be no different from a lunatic saying, “I hereby declare North America to be my rightful domain, so anyone living here has to do whatever I say, if you don’t like it, you can leave.”

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  8. Here’s what Frank Chodorov had to say about this in his book “The Income Tax: Root of all Evil” (1954):

    The human being is the unit of all social institutions; without a man there cannot be a crowd. Hence, we are compelled to look to the individual to find an axiom on which to build a nonsocialistic moral code. What does he tell us about himself?

    In the first place, he tells us that above all things he wants to live. He tells us this even when he first comes into this world and lets out a yell. Because of that primordial desire, he maintains, he has a right to live.

    Certainly, nobody else can establish a valid claim to his life, and for that reason he traces his own title to an authority that transcends all men, to God. That title makes sense.

    When the individual says he has a valid title to life, he means that all that is he, is his own; his body, his mind, his faculties. Maybe there is something else to life, such as a soul, but without going into that realm, he is willing to settle on what he knows about himself—his consciousness. All that is “I” is “mine.” That implies, of course, that all that is “you” is “yours”—for, every “you” is an “I.” Rights work both ways.

    But, while just wanting to live gives the individual a title to life, it is an empty title unless he can acquire the things that make life livable, beginning with food, raiment, and shelter. These things do not come to you because you want them; they come as the result of putting labor to raw materials. You have to give something of yourself—your brawn or your brain—to make the necessary things available. Even wild berries have to be picked before they can be eaten. But the energy you put out to make the necessary things is part of you; it is you. Therefore, when you cause these things to exist, your title to yourself, your labor, is extended to the things. You have a right to them simply because you have a right to life.

    That is the moral basis of the right of property. “I own it because I made it” is a title that proves itself. […] your ownership entitles you to use your judgment as to what you will do with the product of your labor—consume it, give it away, sell it, save it. Freedom of disposition is the substance of property rights. Interference with this freedom of disposition is, in the final analysis, interference with your right to life.

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  9. I’m sure that most people will be quick to point out that this doesn’t seem to be how nature works on planet Earth at the moment. In fact we see that organisms routinely interfere with each other’s right to life, in the extreme cases even going so far as to kill each other. Indeed life appears to be living off of killing other life — a highly contradictory situation. And humans have taken this to the most extreme levels: killing as a form of recreation, mass murdering their own species, and mass deforestation in order to build their homes with carcasses of dead trees, while calling the ancient civilizations that instead built their homes with stone “primitive.”

    Like Carl Sagan said, planet Earth indeed appears to be an organism at war with itself. It’s a sick planet. So how might we explain this highly corrupted state of affairs?

    All evidence that we currently have points to the fact that life on planet Earth suffered extreme trauma in the past leading to the current state of nature. Like I mentioned in the footnotes of my post “Sexual Suppression and Repression I: Definition and Origin”, nature on this planet was intentionally corrupted to create even more division and hardship among humans. Consider that according to the bible, Adam and Eve lived together in harmony with all animals on Earth, right up to the moment when “god” decided to “punish” them, after which almost everything on Earth turned itself against them and each other.

    For example, we see in the bible in Genesis 3:17-18 that the environment on Earth was made hostile for the humans, “The ground is cursed because of you. […] It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.” Not to mention the plagues that were constantly introduced by the “gods,” as recorded in the bible, unleashing viruses, insects and other dangerous animals on the humans.

    This may be one of the reasons why humans and animals were later forced to start eating plants and meat because food on the land was intentionally made scarce. In contrast, when nature was in harmony, then according to Genesis 1:29 humans were to eat only from “seed-bearing plants […] and every tree whose fruit contains seed.” In other words, eating what the plants produce, not the plants themselves, which only began after the “punishment” as we see later in Genesis 3:17-18.

    Changing what would initially have been a hospitable environment existing in harmony with itself, and making it as hostile as it is today, would require genetic engineering of animals and plants that are hostile towards their environment. We know that this was certainly among the capabilities of the so called “gods.” ↩︎

Pingbacks

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