A Leap of Faith

A Leap of Faith

A Chapter by Paul

Section 5 of The Me Primer



A Leap of Faith




            I have ended up writing about other human-animals much more than I intended to at the outset. It was inevitable as I tend to socialize with other human-animals. Since I can only be an expert on myself, I have had to make many educated guesses about other human-animals. It is my intention to continue to live with these others, regardless of my level of expertise on them, so a leap of faith is necessary. It is my hope that they imagine and therefore empathize in much the same way that I do. But if I am going to seek certain ideals, then I need to be more specific about concepts like, “a consistently just society” and “a fabricated absolute”.

            I accept that I am an animal who cannot act on his instincts only. It is necessary to temper my behavior so I can live in a human-animal society. I do not want to be at the mercy of my animal instincts or the animal instincts of others. This leaves me concerned how I left dangling the statement option, from the earliest pages of this primer, “I like how I am, deal with me”. I need to address how an animal, like me, will deal with those who refuse to leash their animal instincts.            

            Whatever I do is natural. Whatever a group of animals does is natural. Some behaviors may be frightening to me but I cannot say that anything that has ever happened in the universe is unnatural. Human-animals have decided which natural behaviors best suit a community. Within this community I decide the rules to which I am willing to abide. I decide how and when I am willing to suppress my desires in order to feel secure in the company of the group. I allow myself, the individual, the fundamental portion of the equation, to be subject to the rules of the group. I can reason that it is best for this individual. I can feel safe fulfilling my desires if, in doing so, I am not keeping another individual from fulfilling their desires. 

            What to do with an animal that will not suppress its desires in order to live peaceably in a society? The simplest answer is that if this animal will not accept the contract, the rules of society, then he cannot be part of the society. I understand that expelling from a society may mean imprisonment rather than exile. The believers in the magic man of nature, the special animal who can reason away any solution, must ask how we have the right to do this. They might say, “why should he suffer for doing what he desires as an animal, why are society’s rules deemed superior to his?” The other magic believers, the believers in a magic from outside the natural world simply say, “because it is ordained by god or the gods that things must be a certain way”. I know that as an animal I have one right. It is an ability called a right that is so undeniable that it seems foolish to even label it. It is the right to do whatever I desire. I know I can do whatever my physical abilities at any given time permit. I know that when the only consequence I care about is satisfying my desires then I can try to satisfy my desires when, where and how I want. I fully understand that all animals have this so called right. I am willing to delay satisfying my desires and regiment how my desires are satisfied within this agreement called society. If I should decide that I do not want to regiment my behavior and I am removed from the society then I have been no more wronged than when a non-conforming animal is put out of a pack or herd or hive. It is not a question of whether an animal has a right to do as it pleases, it is the understanding that a society of animals can respond to this unwillingness to conform by expelling that animal. This is why I imagine a society that only regulates an individual’s behavior when it physically impacts another individual.

            I know that if individuals desire to live with certain rules then there is a society. I know that if most desire to have a “dictatorship” by an individual, by a group, by a republic, then it will be so. Whatever governance the most animals desire the most, will “dictate” how the rules are made and how they are applied. And if I desire to be safe from immediate harm/discomfort by not questioning an oppressive rule then I get what I desire. If most of the people in a society desire to be safe from immediate harm/discomfort by letting one person or a tyrannical minority rule, then they get what they desire. I am embarrassed to say that I stand by almost daily and let others feel the weight of unnecessary governance because it is easiest for me at this time. I want to abolish rules set down to appease a supernatural being based on faith. I want to avoid rule making that becomes stifled in a quest for reason for its own sake. Reasoning with no eye to what is pragmatic in dealing with the natural world as I experience it. I will admit that I have done very little about this in practice. I think there are many like me and we have the government that we desire, one that bothers us very little and some others all the time.

            I do not chafe at the thought of making others conform to the rules of society when I believe in those rules. I do not believe in all of the rules of our current society, so I do chafe at people being punished for trying to satisfy their desires. In my ideal society I do not want to banish a person because they smoke meth. I do want to banish a person when they smoke meth around or with children. I want to banish a person who habitually steals to get meth. I may have to consider if I want to banish someone because they have become indigent from smoking meth and begin sleeping on my front doorstep. This banishment, this being put out of the pack, can have different levels because as a society we can decide there are different levels. Imprisonment, which is our only feasible way of keeping a person out of the pack, should be reserved for individuals who are a physical danger to others; or individuals who habitually prove themselves to be unwilling or unable to abide by the pack rules. I do not want to exile people who urinate in public and sleep in doorways to the same place as people who kill, maim and rape people. I do not want to do this and I would hope that others in my society would feel the same. I understand that all of this, this application of rules, is what is expected in my ideal society. It is not based on a universal truth. It is the right thing to do based on a practical sense of what would work best for individuals. When I am confident that I can live life as I please, not physically impeding others from living as they please, then I will be content. If I sit by while some unnecessary rules are applied because they do not directly impact me, then I will not be content for long. Because I am sure I, or those close to me, will eventually pay for this apathy.

            I want to be sure that my society is only concerning itself with individual behavior, when that behavior is imposing itself, on other individuals, physically. I need to know that the rules are limited to making society safe to live out individual lives. I need to know that the rules are not honed to crush desires that are unappealing to me or another individual or even the majority of the society’s members.

            If an adult wants to perform sex acts for money or shoot heroin in a private space, I do not feel compelled to intervene. This comes from a fabricated “absolute” for me. A belief that I want to convince my society to accept. That an individual can fulfill their desires up until they directly inhibit another’s physical desires. The in-home heroin user and sexual entrepreneur are not directly inhibiting the physical desires of other individuals, so I am only left to consider regulating these practices. Do I want someone shooting up in public or someone running a brothel in a neighborhood? I don’t think I do but I would like to know how it will adversely affect others before I make any regulations. Regulating is for curbing where and possibly how and when individuals exercise their desires. It is not for keeping individuals from ever exercising their desires. I know that there is a long history of regulating “distasteful” practices until they are, for all intents and purposes, illegal. With diligence this can be avoided. With practiced care the slippery slope can be seen coming and the necessary traction prepared. The ideal behind the system of American government is based on this thinking. The thinking that checks and balances provide the necessary traction against abuse by tyrannical majorities/minorities. For me, society and its rules should only be concerned with regulating desires when they are an imminent, physical barrier to others in the society satisfying their desires. I find it hard to fathom a reason why a policeman would ever need to come into my home because I am doing heroin, or performing a sex act, and arrest me for the good of society. Some will be able to fathom reasons for wanting the police to go into a private home and stop an individual from fulfilling a desire.  My guess is that much of this reasoning will have its roots in a need to control what is deemed good or evil, natural or unnatural, human or beastly. In my experience, with some well-aimed questions, biases become apparent quickly. Reasons like, “because it is not what we should be doing with our sacred bodies” or “we need to save him from himself, he should be doing so much more with his life”, these are not convincing arguments to me. “He is a danger to others and he inhibits their ability to meet their desire for feeling safe” or “this behavior presents a provable public health hazard” or “this is not a business district it is a neighborhood”, are much more likely to gain traction with me.

            I cannot simply agree to whatever the majority desires to happen or allows to happen. There is historical precedent that this is a pathway to the oppression of many individuals. That is why it is difficult discussing how I, and my like-minded society, will make rules. How do we arrive at where, when and how we will regulate desires? It is here that I see why fabricated “absolutes” are necessary and all must abide by them. They cannot be subject to voting. I am thinking of such things as the freedom of speech and of thought/religion, the freedom of the press, the freedom to decide what to do with our own bodies. You should not be able to vote on “absolutes” in each election cycle. And if my quotation marks are becoming as tiresome to read as they are to type then it is necessary drudgery. It makes me remember that when it comes to rules put upon animal behavior there are no absolutes. We can, however, agree to abide by rules and we can agree to always hold on high certain guarantees for an individual regardless of what the majority feels at any given time. These “absolutes” protect all individuals. They are the foundation of a consistently just society. I know this is the best way for me and I have to say that my mind tells me that it is the best way for everyone for one simple reason: anyone can be guaranteed a safe place in this ideal society. People can believe and practice, on their own person, any belief system they want. Every individual would be guaranteed this basic “right” to quench their desires for religion, sexual satisfaction, or lifestyle; can the same be said for any other society that would be forged with a particular religion or a “magical human” philosophy dominating the rule making of that society? I do not believe so. This ideal is the best for individuals because everyone can practice their own beliefs, on themselves, and no other society would be willing to guarantee this. This model is not my invention. When I think of a successful society it is overseen by a government much like the ideal for the government of the United States. It is buttressed by a bill of rights. It is based on principles that aim to keep individuals from being ruled by tyrannical minorities or majorities. It is a republic that hopes to elect individuals with an understanding of these principles to make the decisions necessary to keep the society on the proper path. Individuals who understand that regulating the behavior of individuals is the act that must be considered with the most care. It is a republic that has these elected officials appoint judges to mind the “absolutes” of our society. They will judge whether laws should be struck down or allowed to be applied after careful consideration of the most important “absolute” of all: only regulate an individual’s ability to fulfill his or hers desire when it directly impedes another’s ability to meet his or hers desire. If individuals are willing to compromise their “right” to meet their desires when, where and how they want, then an understanding of why certain desires must be regulated, or certain “absolutes” abided by, should be the foundation of any discussion on laws. I hope it is obvious from earlier paragraphs that “because it is unnatural”, “because it is evil”, or “because you should want more for yourself” are not sufficient answers for me. I cannot expect others to leash their animal instincts or temper their desires unless not doing so is going to impact me physically. Why is my desire to drink coffee every morning different from someone else’s desire to smoke pot every morning? And I am back to, do unto others as you would have done to you. This thinking is the cornerstone for individuals in an equitable society. It is the cornerstone for individuals who want to be left to decide how they want to treat themselves.

            It is all invention of course, invented by human-animal imagination. It is invention that stands up to the scrutiny of a society that values individual freedom. If every individual can thrive in private and expect tolerance in public, then I cannot imagine a better arrangement. It would seem to me that the only individuals unhappy in such a situation would be individuals who desire to prohibit other individuals from ever satisfying their desires. I would not feel badly about leaving these individuals unhappy, unsatisfied. 

© 2022 Paul

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Added on April 24, 2017
Last Updated on June 20, 2022



I am writing in the Mid Atlantic area of the United States, mostly non-fiction at this time. I am a song writer as well. http://songsongsongs.com Also of interest could be- http://bookstore.trafford... more..

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A Book by Paul