Wednesday, June 29, 2016

May All Beings Be Happy

Is it possible?

This saying kind of "tingled" my brain perhaps several years ago. Let's dissect this idea.
According to Macmillan Dictionary – one of my favorite dictionaries – "being" means "a living thing". Therefore, "all beings" are all living things, which include all humans, animals, plants, as well as microorganisms, such as bacteria.

Now let's take a look at the second most important word in the phrase: "happy". The same dictionary defines "happy" as "feeling pleasure and enjoyment because of your life, situation, etc." (I don't think anybody would disagree with this definition)

Now that we, hopefully, understand what the sentence means, let's move on to the question that has made me ponder: Is it likely that all beings will be happy?

Lions and zebras. I believe everyone knows the relationship between these two types of animals. To put it simply, lions try to hunt zebras and zebras try not to be hunted by the "kings of the jungle". Do zebras want to be feasted on by lions? Of course not; that's why they run as fast as they can when lions are chasing them. Do lions want to let zebras eat grass peacefully? Definitely not since lions have to fill their rumbling stomachs or otherwise they will die. So I guess it is pretty clear that either lions are happy or zebras are happy. It is utterly impossible that both kinds of beings are happy (please let me know if there is a zebra approaching a lion in order to be devoured by the predator, or if somewhere on Earth a lion, while being surrounded by a dozen zebras, fasted until it died).

It is just one out of, I believe, a huge number of predator-prey relationships on this planet – birds and worms, grizzly bears and salmon, Tyrannosaurus rex and hadrosaurs, you name it. Parasitism (such as, the relationship between fleas and your neighbor's beloved dog) is another happiness-is-just-for-one-of-them association.

It appears that we live in an unfair and nasty world. But that's how nature works. Species strive to continue their existence with a broad spectrum of behavior, even if it requires members of other species to suffer or even die.

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