The murder of plants



2:29 PM 8/27/2013

I did an experiment today. I cut into a grapevine and ripped it into long shreds, then made those shreds into a small, fragile, brittle piece of rope. The rope was two-stranded, since I don’t know how to do anything more complicated than that, except three-strand braiding, which I did not want to do. I wanted to make the kind of rope where each individual strand twists clockwise, while the two strands are twisted counterclockwise around each other, such that the untwisting of an individual strand counteracts the forces untwisting the two strands together.

I did this while crouching outside naked (except for shoes), and, miraculously, I was not bombarded by many mosquitoes, just a couple.

I succeeded in making the piece of rope.

However, a minute after I started cutting into the grapevine, I started to empathize with the grapevine. The vine actually still is connected to the ground, and there are new leaves and new vines sprouting from that place in the ground, so I did not entirely kill the vine, but I cut it off from the other parts it was connected to. It actually rejoined the ground and then put roots there, and had formed sort of a closed loop or bridge, and I cut off the center of the bridge. The part after it joined the ground is rooted and still will probably survive separately.

However, even just cutting it apart caused me to empathize with its injury. I started to feel very tired and wanted to just give up and quit doing this. I think that’s how the plant feels too – it surrendered and gave up, because it was injured so badly that it could not fight back. The hormone or substance or energy field that I felt was the feeling of resignation, giving up, surrender, tired, exhausted, just sit still and do nothing and sleep.

Then I started to cry. I cried and cried and cried while crouching there holding the vine in my hand. As I touched the open, split, green living wood of the vine, I felt it vibrating. It literally felt like a tiny vibration was constantly passing through it, like I was holding a cable with electric current running through it. I just crouched there for a long time holding on to the vine, unable to let go, feeling the current passing through it, crying, crying, and holding on to the vine. I held it the same way I might hold a person who I had discovered was injured and about to die and there was nothing I could do, except I was the one who had injured it – it wasn’t just some random accident and I wasn’t a good Samaritan who happened to be passing by at that moment. I cut it. But I could not let go and could not stop feeling its life in my hands. When I let go of the vine and stood up, I felt lightheaded like I was going to pass out.

I wondered if this ever got any easier. If I had children and was looking at them, watching them, and loving them, while I killed or hurt this plant, would I be able to do it more easily, knowing that I did it for them? Every living animal that moves and walks on the earth is a killer and a thief. Every heterotrophic organism. If you can’t just eat mineral soil, if you have to eat plant or animal substances, you are a killer and a thief just by existing. Some plants are killed when you eat them. Sometimes you take something that, perhaps, they meant for you to take, like a fruit, but other times you kill the entire vegetative body of the plant, for instance if you rip a whole cabbage out of the ground and then sell it in a grocery store. When I grew a garden, I used to just pull off a few leaves from the cabbage plant and ate them (that was in the brief time when my garden was successfully growing and wasn’t being poisoned by walnut tree juglone or being eaten by the deer – this was years ago).

Are fruits even ‘meant’ to be eaten? Sometimes seeds won’t sprout unless they get digested first. Sometimes yes, a fruit and seeds are ‘meant’ to be eaten. But can you say that you have lived your entire life eating nothing but the plant parts that were meant to be eaten? Have you never eaten a single leaf that the plant wanted to use for its own use, photosynthesis?

I’m not advocating a fruitarian diet, I’m advocating the acceptance of murder as part of life. Murder, severe injury, theft, and parasitically enslaving some living creature and taking just a few bits of it but leaving it alive. I’m not advocating suicide either. If you can’t bear to live as a heterotrophic organism that must eat molecules made by other living creatures that your body isn’t able to make by itself, then you just can’t bear to live.

I am wondering about this philosophically and looking into the future, wondering if I will be able to kill and eat an animal if I can hardly bear to even cut off parts of a vine. I think, yes, I will be able to. But it will be something like a religious experience for me. It is a sacred act even just to take parts of a living vine. It causes pain and awareness of mortality. It causes empathy and grief and guilt and trauma and the acceptance of trauma.

I could just live an ignorant life and never know where my food and materials come from, the origin of every piece of wood in every building and every house, or all the trees that were chopped down so that somebody could dig a mineral mine in the soil for every product that I buy at the store. Every piece of bare land that you walk across used to have hundreds of trees growing on it, if you live in some parts of the country (not if you live where there used to be prairie), and of course, even those prairie grasses were alive too. Is it okay to kill a young plant that has a short lifespan, like a piece of grass or a cabbage, but worse to kill a tree or a vine that lives for decades? It seems worse, but is that like saying it’s okay to kill human babies but not human adults? Again, the answer is ‘kind of yes.’ Abortion is socially acceptable to some people.

But I recently read a story about some people who got life in prison because of their non-malicious ignorance and misguided beliefs. They didn’t get the chance to learn from experience. They killed their baby by feeding it nothing but soy milk and apple juice. It died after a couple months, and they went to prison for neglect. Not only that, but they got a *life sentence*. This is absurd to me. People are ignorant and they make mistakes and it is possible to learn from those mistakes. Yes, they were indeed horribly ignorant and stupid to the extreme, but I think they would not have done the same thing again after learning from experience. Although, I didn’t read any quotes from their testimony in the court case – were they still in denial about their child’s diet causing its death? If they still said that it’s okay to feed an infant nothing but soy milk and apple juice and that they’d do it again, that’s bad.

The point is that the legal system thinks it’s *extremely bad* (worthy of a life sentence in prison) to accidentally kill an infant, whereas I think that accidentally killing an infant is much less bad than deliberately killing an adult. I think it is certainly not worthy of a life sentence.

That whole incident just adds another rule to my anarchistic belief system: Don’t even tell the government that you have children. Don’t let the government find out that your children even exist. Don’t register them with the government. Don’t do any paperwork except your own private paperwork. Don’t make them official citizens of the country. Don’t give them a social security number. Don’t let your neighbors see that you have children, unless you totally trust all of your neighbors and they share your same beliefs. Your neighbors could rat you out to the government and inform them that you have ‘unregistered children,’ and the government will come to your house and take your children away from you or give you a life sentence in prison because they don’t like the way you’re raising your children.

For example, if I casually just got pregnant right now – and I could do it *very* easily – I’ve used dating websites and I know I could easily just go right out there today and find a guy who would have casual sex with me, and I could either have sex without a condom, or else steal his semen out of the condom and then attempt to fertilize myself with it – if I did that, and then had the baby up here in the woods, and breastfed it, and didn’t tell anyone that the baby existed, and just raised it here, in the woods, it’s possible that someone would complain to the government and tell them that I was raising the child in filthy, inhumane conditions, on this dirty soil covered in sticks and twigs and leaves and bugs, that I wasn’t sending the child off to school, and so on, and they would take my child away and put me in prison for neglect – even if I was feeding the child plenty of healthy food, the child was in perfect health and contented and happy, I carried it with me on my body at all times all hours of the day and never let it leave my sight, and never put it down and never let it out of my reach for even a second. They could still call it ‘neglect’ merely because I wasn’t choosing to live the type of life that I’m supposed to live, in a ‘real house,’ with sidewalks and grassy mowed lawns and televisions and refrigerators. That makes me want to just not even tell the government that I have a child at all.

And if the child dies by accident, don’t tell anybody that it died. Don’t take the child to the hospital when it gets sick and starts to die and say ‘Help me fix this! What’s wrong with my child?’ That’s the moment when they say, ‘Oh my god, what have you been doing to this child?’ and they put you in prison. I’m just not going to have that moment.

I want to raise unregistered children, but I don’t want to raise them in total social isolation without the benefit of any economic and social cooperation at all. I want them to have friends, get married, have children, and have satisfying lives and relationships. But I can’t do that if I am surrounded by a hostile society full of untrustworthy enemies who want to rat me out to the government and tell them that I’m not allowing my child to live in a house and watch television like normal children do.

I think I had more stuff to say but I never finished it, but I will just post this anyway.

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