Straw Dogs

One of my favourite philosophers, John Gray, opens his book Straw Dogs (critiquing liberal humanism) with a quote from the Tao Te Ching:

“Heaven and earth are ruthless, and treat the myriad creatures as straw dogs.”

Nature is not interested in my psychological state, or in my creativity or longevity or philosophical acuity or ambition or “success.” Nature does not care about the human individual at all. It is the survival of the species that matters.

From a non-dual “perspective,” the creative force in the universe is profoundly impersonal. It is not interested in our individual projects. It does not choose between the disease and the victim, between the virtuous and the evil. It is deep impersonal love.

Darwin teaches that species are only assemblies of genes, interacting at random with each other and their shifting environments. Species cannot control their fates. Species do not exist. This applies equally to humans.

John Gray. “Straw Dogs”.

We do not control our fates, either as individuals or as societies or as a species. We are as subject to the laws of nature, and the laws of impersonal love, as the flower, the star, the gorilla, the virus.

Seeing this has the flavour of a unique kind of freedom.

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