Questions
by Ryszard Cichy

A long time ago, in my youth, I read a story where the protagonist was invited by someone he knew to visit his estate on a small island. After an elegant dinner the host informed him that the game would begin. The protagonist was to be the wild animal the host was going to hunt. This was not going to be pretence but real combat. Equipped with firearms he was intending to kill his guest and hoped that thanks to the intelligence and ingenuity of his prey this exciting game would go on for a long while. A horror story – I don’t remember how it ended.

Who built the Universe?

The life which is granted us is essentially a similar fight, the only difference being that the protagonists of the story struggled for only one night whereas each of us does so incessantly.

We are taking part in a cruel game. In order to maintain our own life we are forced to devour then digest other living beings, plants and animals, first depriving them of their life, of course.

Through division of labour only a small part of human society makes it their task to actually deprive other beings of life. These are the farmers and butchers. Thanks to this, most of us are in the comfortable position of not having to perform tasks which can be disagreeable.

Everyone, however, eats dishes prepared from these beings.

Every meal we eat is made up of elements which used to be another living organism, formed a part of it. I am thinking here of every piece of meat - as we impersonally call the parts of another being’s body - every piece of fruit and every vegetable.

I eat beans – each seed is a being which could have lived.

On the other hand, however, other living organisms behave according to this same law, “hunting” our human life so as to ensure their own life at the expense of ours. We have succeeded in eliminating or limiting what animals which are dangerous to us, can do. Nowadays the inhabitants of Europe or North America are not devoured by them. This cannot be said of people living in Africa or Asia. But other organisms, invisible to the naked eye, bacteria and viruses (which some people don’t consider living organisms) “hunt” us, nourishing themselves with pieces of our bodies or reproducing within us. They cause diseases which end in death, then our bodies are eaten and digested by them and other organisms which join the “feast”.

Nature here does not bestow us, human beings, with any privileges. In no way does it single us out from other beings. It is as ruthless and indifferent to our human suffering and death as it is to the suffering of every other creature (ants, mosquitoes or bacteria). One would think we deserve to be singled out – but nobody does single so.

Why do we have to eat other living beings?

No doubt the law on which Life is founded (that we have to kill and devour another being) may not be pleasing to many of us. It is also difficult to come to terms with the fact that each of us, as consumers, will also be consumed in the end.

Most people, however, do not bother to think about such problems and make the preparation and eating of meals one of the highest values in their life.

Irrespective of whether this cruel law is accepted or not, none of us has any other choice. Those who disagree with it can’t choose any other rules of the “game” anyway (a different kind of Life) because there aren’t any, or at least we don’t know about them. Renouncing this cruel “game” can only be done by the conscious taking of one’s life (suicide).

Since none of us knows what will happen after our death, this choice, too, may not lead to the goal intended by the suicide.

Does this law which necessitates killing other beings and eating them apply only here on Earth or also in the entire Universe?

The probability of other beings living on distant planets is a subject which appears in literature. Ways of getting in contact with “them” are, therefore, being devised. Attempts are being made to pass information about us on to “them”. This brings to mind castaways who send signal flares into the air in the hope that those receiving them will be their partners and friends.

Knowing the laws on which Life is based, shouldn’t we rather be afraid of such beings?

Why should their behaviour be any different from ours, human beings and other living beings?

We simply eat beings intellectually a little less developed than us (fish, pigs, dogs) or force them to work hard for our benefit. Sometimes we use them in yet other ways, making them run races or fight, or we torture them to death for the sake of experimentation.

Even with regard to each other, that is thinking and feeling beings, who differ only in language or the colour of skin, we are pitiless. We can remember the days of slavery, the conquest of the Wild West, the destruction of cultures by the Spanish conquistadors. It is enough merely to turn on the radio to hear about yet more cruel wars and acts of violence.

So why should They be any more sensitive or understanding than we are? If They were even a little more intelligent than us and our meat was somewhat tastier than what they had eaten before, would they not want to eat us? Or subordinate us in a different way, be it as “experimental guinea pigs” or unpaid labour? Would we, as curiosities, not be put into specially allocated places like the ones in which we place amusing animals which interest us? Something like zoos, nature parks or nature reserves?

Who thought up such a mad idea as to create such cruel laws of existence for us?

How cruel it is that not only do they bind but also the fact that intelligent beings are aware of having to “be cruel” in order to maintain their life. They also know about the “law of transience” and the inevitability of having to separate from people close to them.

We have grown accustomed to dying. We take it to be something normal, create customs and institutions relating to it; cemeteries, wreathes, inheritance laws, funeral allowances, etc.

Is this macabre normality to which we have grown accustomed “normal”?

Can we not say of this binding macabre game which has been imposed on us “this is sick”?

If we were asked to write a list of all the people we know personally from our families, place of work, acquaintances or neighbours who have died, we would doubtlessly be amazed at the number of beings who no longer exist. The list made by each of us would contain dozens of names.

I guess that many people who have suffered - especially as a result of illness, hunger or taking part in cruel wars - have had doubts as to the existence of God. Priests teach us humility and respect towards Him. They praise and love Him. But people who are suffering are surprised that He looks on with indifference and without pity at ageing, debility, handicap and pain. No doubt they have asked more than once – does He (God) exist? Does He deserve my respect since He has no mercy on me and on others since, He is making me suffer now, and then pass away forever?

I watch a small insect eat another insect alive which at that moment must be suffering. At every moment, at the same time (and there are billions of such moments) billions of other beings are also experiencing pain and fear.

Is the immediate Creator of Life, therefore, not a crazy or cruel, ruthless being (or beings) who has no pity?

If like us (or at least some of us) this being was bestowed with emotions such as sympathy or pity it would not create such ruthless rules as apply in our world.

After all, Life has no pity for the individual or even entire species; organisms die by the thousands. They are born by chance. Apparently cod lays as many as 40,000,000 eggs in its lifetime and from these only two living beings hatch successfully.

The macabre principles on which the phenomenon of Life is based have been noticed and exploited by many cultures. In some communities rituals used to be performed where sacrifices of dead animals and also human beings were made. I assume that these bloody, religious rituals were born out of an observation of precisely these simple rules. The people performing the rituals probably thought that, since the Builder of the Universe has laid down precisely such rules, he must like violence and killing. In order to please him, therefore, they killed hundreds of other human beings, organising special expeditions.

Is the Creator of Life (and perhaps also the Universe) not He – God – but some unfeeling, cruel or crazy beings created carelessly by Him?

Perhaps they created the Universe in the only way they could, a little incompetently, not how they would like to have?

Perhaps they were unable to build a different World given the rules (laws) marked out by God?

Or perhaps there is an entire chain of creators of Universes? Perhaps we have been created by beings which were formed by still other beings?

Who then would have stood at the beginning of this chain, who would have been the First Creator – the God to whom we pray?

Such a scenario would probably be possible. It is not hard to imagine that beings could exist whose memory is several hundred times greater than ours, whose thinking is also several hundred times faster than our brains can manage and whose intelligence by far exceeds that of the most intelligent of people. Could such beings not have created the Universe?

In all probability we, human beings, as we learn about the laws which govern our Universe more thoroughly and conduct genetic experiments, will also have at our disposal knowledge which will enable us to build a “new” World complete with living beings.

Will we become Creators? Of course not, because this world will run within the framework of fundamental laws which, no doubt, we cannot change – such as gravity, speed of light or the structure (construction) of atoms. Besides, we will always use the elements surrounding us, particles and forces which exist. Like children who, having inquisitively taken a toy apart, build another object with the springs and screws.

The Creator, however, has created the Universe without using the “springs” or “screws” from another Universe.

We can use only “found” elements, those He invented.

It is not out of the question that as genetics develop we will, one day, be able to shape our offspring. Long ago men sowed and harvested very poor grains. The ears of grain were few and small. Today, thanks to science, the grain is lush. Who knows, perhaps in the future there will be only beautiful people on Earth equipped with the brains of an A. Einstein, extraordinarily hard-working, strong and resistant to disease? How many new discoveries and inventions would there be if instead of one A. Einstein among humans there would be millions?

And maybe this kind of person would acquire, after all, the skill to manipulate the elements which make up the Universe.

Will we manage to manipulate particles?

I have in mind a situation where we would be able to “re-programme” particles of water so that instead of freezing at a temperature of 0°C it would freeze at, for example, 30°C, and I would have two buckets at home. In one there would be “ordinary” water and in the other “extraordinary”.

Or perhaps the Builders of the Universe created it then departed as we do to the world of the dead and only the Work they constructed carries on propelled by the force of inertia?

Perhaps the Universe wasn’t created only once and by only one set of Builders?

Perhaps it is a “patchwork”?

Perhaps it had started to be built and was left unfinished for reasons unknown to us, like people used to build a temple for generations, stopping and starting their work anew many times over?

Perhaps after billions of years the Work was continued and supplemented?

Perhaps Beings (or groups) which did not know each other, who had nothing in common with each other took part in this?

If we were the product of a crazy being would it be possible to protest in some way, rebel against the cruel rules by which he tells us to live?

The question is, of course, absurd. But, after all, discontented workers strike and farmers pour grain out into roads and, in this way, oppressed societies revolt.

Is it possible to “compel” the Builder of the Universe to “slacken” the rules somewhat and look at us with a kinder eye, show us more interest and, for example, let us live a little longer?

How though, and to whom should we address such a “petition”? What form of protest should we take if it is not taken into account?

Of course these are not “serious” questions. They reflect the helplessness of our fragility in face of the principles according to which we have been created and our total lack of significance in face of the enormity of the Universe and its laws.

Naïve imagination prompts that a tender Builder of the Universe would have created organisms functioning by altogether different rules. Above all, these organisms would not die. Some people hold that it would be impossible for new immortal individuals to keep on being born since there would not be enough food for them and so parents and children would end up devouring each other. I do not think it justified. Then again, naïve imagination prompts that a kind Builder of the Universe did not have to create Life made up of so many individual specimens.

Secondly, he did not have to create Life based on the necessity to devour other living beings. After all, we produce machines which move independently and perform a great number of different tasks. They are not, however, fed with energy which comes from “digesting” living beings. In other words, there is no need to kill anyone for them to work. They can be fed with energy which comes from inanimate matter, hydroelectric power stations, for example, or atomic energy.

There is an abundance of energy in the Universe; we see it and feel it with every step we take (gravity, magnetic force).

Could a tender Builder not have defined rules other than those binding, according to which Life could develop and continue?

Could not all living beings function by drawing energy from inanimate matter?

We know that there are organisms which feed themselves on inorganic matter. Apart from plants some bacteria feed on it and, in the early days of Earth, these were, apparently, predominant.

Of course the simplest answer to such a question is that it was the law of natural selection which led to the formation of beings which feed on “ready” products like proteins, carbohydrates and fats made by other organisms. But is this the correct answer?

Following human custom - which tells us to keep a record of the surrounding elements, by giving humans names and surnames, by naming towns and marking streets, recording land in registers, and specifying cars by giving them registration numbers - one would like to ask:

Are the Builders of the Universe still masters of their Work and are they watching it?

Are they keeping a record of what they created? Of every element, every particle, every living specimen?

After all, we usually keep an eye on and look after the things we make such as a house or garden. We repair and renew them. We correct what we don’t like, move the furniture and replant trees.

Does anyone keep an eye on us?

Is it possible that the Builders of the Universe who, no doubt, put a lot of effort into designing and building it, have dismissed it just like that, letting it carry on as it pleases? Were they not interested in it?

The whole of space is probably full of a vast quantity of particles, perhaps as yet undiscovered, rushing in various directions at inconceivable speed.

What is the purpose of their travelling?

Do some of these constantly speeding particles not contain information or instructions?

Nowadays we use radio waves with ease in order to direct, at a distance, the objects which we have made, for example, space ships launched into the cosmos or to other planets.

Are the Builders of the Universe not only observing it but also marking out its course, correcting its evolution to fit in with their plans?

We know that entire species of animals have died out and new ones have appeared; are these random phenomena?

Could these changes in leaps and bounds not be the result of “instructions” from those who formed the Universe and transmitted, say, by these speeding particles?

I do not intend to go as far as to ask whether the movement of each and every one of us is “steered” by some “operator” like model airplanes are steered by a radio. In such a case, we would be nothing but “devices” which only think their brains are forming thoughts whereas in fact, they are mere “transmitters” picking up information.

I do not intend to ask about such “steering”. What I ask is whether - in a situation where every organism is an autonomous individual - the direction of change concerning certain areas of the Universe or certain kinds of objects like, for example, species of living beings, are not being “corrected”?

Are processes not taking place which computer users call changes in programming?

Many of us are convinced that there have not been nor are any Builders of the Universe, that the Universe came into existence without anyone’s interference and is the result of simple chance. It is difficult to believe, however, that clay took on the form of bricks all by itself and that they in turn started to build houses “by themselves”.

There are people who believe “Somebody” built the Universe but claim that Life itself was then born by chance. Usually they put forward Darwin’s theory as their argument.

But this does not, after all, explain the primal cause for the process called life. It remains unfathomed.

Darwin’s theory only describes the process itself.

Living organisms come into being and adapt to the changing environment. The very possibility of their existence, however, as well as their ability to adapt ought to spring from a defined programme, to use IT terminology, with which they have been equipped. The components of matter which developed into living beings would have to have been previously programmed in such a way as to behave in such and such a manner in any given circumstances (light, temperature, the presence of other particles, and so forth). Life, after all, could just as easily have not been. The Universe could have been made up of nothing but inanimate matter. The process known as the evolution of species could have not existed.

Let us look at living organisms. Evolutionary changes led to the formation of body parts enabling the organism to find food and avoid danger. In the case of predators evolution “went” in only one direction, proposed only one solution - powerful extremities and strong teeth. For predators, finding food means killing other beings through direct physical contact with the victim. The killing “instrument” is their mouth, beak or other part of the body.

Only man, by making tools, broke away from this pattern. He can kill differently, from a great distance, without touching the victim with any part of his body since he can use a bow, javelin or rifle. This method makes hunting much easier and increases the hunter’s chances of survival.

There does exist, admittedly, an exceptional fish called the archer-fish which hunts insects by shooting a stream of water at them. Such cases, however, are rare.

I am not going so far with these questions as to wonder why, throughout evolution, no organism has appeared whose internal organs can produce metal bullets or gunpowder and which – apart from horns and a tail – has a machine-gun with sights on its head.

But since very complicated organs such as the eye or the ear have been formed during the course of evolution and, furthermore, animals can produce extraordinarily durable materials such as strong bones or hard armour, why did other organs, seemingly simple in structure, not appear? It is possible, after all, to imagine an animal producing hard objects (something like bullets) and hurling them at a distance with the help, for example, of pressurised air. Why are there no animals equipped with organs similar in structure to rocket-launchers or rifles?

Why, throughout the process of evolution, have animals with organs enabling them to produce “bullets” and kill others at a distance, not appeared?

Of course the simplest answer would be that man, using tools and having this exceptional skill is precisely a product of evolution.

One could try to classify living beings according to how they find food. The first generation would include beings which kill others only in direct physical contact with them. Man, therefore, should be classed as second generation.

Is there somewhere in the Universe a third, unknown form (generation) of evolution?

The movement of animals from place to place is also based on one principle only, the contraction of muscles. But there are other acceptable solutions, after all, discovered by us, human beings, say, for example, the electric motor. Why have living beings not formed a different way of moving even though many of them can generate an electrical current?

One can go on asking.

Why have animals, even though they have produced such a complicated organ as the eye, not produced such a simple tool as a mirror? Located at the side of the head as in an automobile, it would enable the animal to see what was happening behind and thus avoid danger and prolong its precious life.

Why have warm-blooded organisms which can store heat and thus be able to eat less and survive in times of food shortages, not developed?

Human beings, after all, have managed to produce a rather simple tool for this. A thermos which holds heat is made up of two walls with a vacuum in between.

We, on the other hand, are continually emitting heat into the environment and in order to maintain a steady temperature have to keep on eating. Could this be in order to convert food, as I asked earlier?

There is a saying that all roads lead to Rome. Could it be the same with the evolution of the species?

In the case of evolution, could it be there is only one goal but many roads leading to it?

Scientists often put forward the example of the numerous independent ways various species of animals have developed the organ of sight, as an argument for the randomness of evolution. Does this fact not rather prove something entirely different, namely that this organ had to exist but only the ways in which it emerged were different?

Or maybe evolution allows a large number of possible ways to exist but this number is limited and all this is in some way “recorded” in our genes?

Can organisms subject to evolution change limitlessly?

Or rather can this process only take place within a defined limit which cannot be overstepped?

If there were limitations of this sort, it would be something like building blocks which, admittedly, can be used to build endless types of houses, castles, bridges or ships yet with the reservation that the builder is permitted to improvise on one subject only. He can build houses and castles but not bridges.

Have the Builders of the Universe established only the principles of the game and everything can change but only within the boundaries described by Them?

It would be like having a chess-board and being able to play only chess; we would not be able to play draughts with the set pieces.

But if the view that living organisms have developed as a result of entirely fortuitous changes is true and that “nobody” established any principles, then has this sort of mechanism also developed by accident?

Is “it” also the work of evolution but of a higher degree?

Did there use to be numerous mechanisms but precisely this one, being the most effective, eliminated other mechanisms which might have produced phenomena other than Life?

Asking about evolution we can wonder where it will lead to in the future.

Can beings of other species living alongside us “overtake” us and push us into the role of “subordinate” beings?

What will the lives of our descendants look like if, for example, the pigs we now eat with relish become - in the course of evolution - more intelligent than us and create a new civilisation on the ruins of ours destroyed by some cataclysm or epidemic? Digging the earth like archaeologists nowadays and reconstructing their own and our history, they would find out how their ancestors had been treated by human beings.

Knowing this, how are they going to treat our great grandchildren?

QUESTIONS by Ryszard Cichy, Wrocław 2008 Retro-Art, Warszawa 2008, ISBN 978-83-87992-56-9 translated by Danusia Stok