do no evil

Hear no evil see no evil ….does it follow that you are doing no evil?

Google has a very snappy little slogan ‘do no evil’ ; I can just imagine a group of bright young things sipping their espressos at a slick table throwing ideas  around until finally ‘do no evil ‘ hits the shiny surface and *bing* a giant flashbulb goes off and everybody is simply thrilled with their cleverness.

A sexy and apparently very good slogan. But it must be asked why Google felt the need to give itself such a wide margin of error. Perhaps it is because those bright young things have never had the opportunity to face true evil and simply cannot imagine the amount of things you can do completely wrong before you are defined as evil. Evil is the last degree of bad; herein fall such deeds as raping babies, slow and brutal torture, the wanton destruction of the planet, Hitler, Idi Amin Dada and the Rwanda massacres ; these are things that fall into the realms of evil. I am very happy to know that my daily computer companion has taken it upon itself not to venture down these paths. But again – why are they giving themselves such a wide margin of error?

Perhaps it is sheer laziness or an increasing level of illiteracy or the need to always seem the best, and today 100% just doesn’t’t cut it, it must be at least 120%. This trend in excess also sees us using the most extreme words to describe the everyday. We call just about every half way decent thing awesome, when last were you really awestruck? Do you even know what that must feel like? Hyperbole and sloppy language use in the everyday hides a multitude of sins, including a couple that can truly be called evil

I recently sent a PETS petition about the skinning of fur animals to my entire mailing list. The video is apparently horrific – I am a complete wimp when it comes to such things – I saw the first blow and was ready to stop but forced myself to watch a little longer, when that poor beast twitched as the skinner ripped the pelt from its living flesh that was me , done. It seems , although this petition is very well supported, the general feeling is that the blame is out there somewhere, anywhere but here. It is an easily dismissed fact that the Chinese would not be skinning those animals, in which ever way they do it, if we were not buying the fur. They do it, not because they have some sadistic need to torture animals, they do it because they need to feed their children, house them and hopefully send them to school with new cloths once a year.

The recent Chinese history is one of deprivation and hunger . The Chinese population aged 50 years and older lived through ‘the great leap forward’- an event that I believe falls within the realms of evil-they can still feel that hunger and can still remember someone who starved to death. The generations that followed lived in abject poverty under the yoke of their oppressive communist regime. It is only the last two decades that has exposed the Chinese to the inconceivable wealth and waste of the West, and asking them to understand why they should not have it too is a bit rich. To waste is the height of cool in China; go to any fancy restaurant in China and you will be astounded at how much food the host will order for his table of guests. There is no chance that the food will be eaten, it is all just a show of money. This is the West ; Chinese style. To waste is to be super cool, to waste is to be sexy, to waste means you are getting to the top of the pile and the more you can waste the higher up you are. Fantastic for capitalists not so very good for the weather or for those poor furry beasts.

I know for a fact that I cannot raise a chicken then chop its head off, rip it’s feathers out, gut it and then roast it for Sunday lunch – it is a mental impossibility – but give me a nicely packaged supermarket chicken, squeaky clean and wrapped in glossy cellophane, well then I am capable of rustling up a large variety of delicious chicken dishes and eating them with relish. Most Chinese however, still know that an animal must die for it to be eaten or its fur to be used, they have unfortunately taken the killing thing to its blasé extreme; the wanton cruelty of humans to their fellow earthlings is legendary.  Humans seem programmed to be cruel to others, even within their own species . But who is more in the wrong; me in my cellophane wrapped hypocrisy or the Chinese who actually know exactly where their next meal is coming from.

If you are jumping about shouting  ‘yes but it is not about food but about the fur trade’ remember a time not so long ago when western men attacked tiny immature fur seals- those cute white fluffy ones-  with bludgeons to prevent their pelts from being damaged. These poor beasts were also skinned then and there. Were all those little seals well and truly dead? When you have a couple of thousand fur seals to skin in a week you are not going about taking the pulse of each one. The difference is they didn’t have mini-cams and internet in those days so the sins were more easily hidden.

Today we still want our furs. In the latest edition of ‘Intelligent Life’ a light hearted article about cocktail rings proclaimed that, as we can no longer wear a fur as we might have a can of paint thrown at us, we should indulge in cheap jewellery. Just there lies the hypocrisy; to not wear a fur because you fear the paint can is not the point and will not stop the Chinese from skinning living animals. What we have done to absolve our guilt is to move our atrocities to a place where we hoped nobody would ever see them.  It would be bigoted in the extreme to plead innocence and to blame the Chinese for something we have equal part in creating. It smacks of the same sort of thinking that makes one country believe it is better than another if not the best country on the planet. The point is debatable but what is true is that this is the best planet we are ever likely to inhabit so the aim would be to stop dumping our garbage in someone else’s backyard and then start pointing fingers.

The West  has squandered the earths resources in a one- hundred- year-party in which we have used and abused every one of the planets resources. We have left the hangover and the mess to the developing world and they don’t really like us for it. They want a party of their own. How are we going to stop them and make them believe that they are having a better time than we did. This is going to make telling someone to go to hell in such a way that he enjoys the ride seem amateurish.

‘”You have to work much harder than we ever did ,but you cannot have the big house, the smart car, the three hundred pairs of shoes, the swimming pool or any of the other thing that we demanded as our just desserts. In fact sorry folks, we had the dessert , the cake and the cake shop is bankrupt ” – are there any good really really good diplomats out there?

There are no more easy outs, there is no more passing the buck because that buck comes from the west, and after it has paid for dirty energy, dredging of coral reefs and the skinning of live animals it is going to end up right back in your wallet, with all the stains of its wanton course around the world embedded in it.

Next time you step out to SHOP because you cannot think of anything better to do, think of those ‘f’ing’ Chinese skinning those living animals; hearing no evil and saying no evil does not mean you are doing no evil.


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