SYW: The Golem, Sufferings of the Natural World, the Death Penalty, and Today’s Blessings

Another Monday, another Melanie’s Share Your World! I have not participated in several weeks, although I think there are a few unfinished ones in my Drafts.

QUESTIONS

What mythical creature would improve the world most if it existed?  (If you don’t know, just choose something that you think would improve things.   
The golem is a creature of Jewish folklore created from inanimate material, such as mud or clay, brought to life to serve a particular purpose. It originated in the 1500s in Prague. In some stories, the golem was created to defend against anti-Semitic attacks. Based on the news I’ve been watching this evening, there is a dangerous rise in anti-Semitism and the growth of the “Christian nationalism” movement, which to me smacks of Nazism. (Congress member Marjorie Taylor Greene, I am convinced, would have been an ardent supporter of Adolf Hitler.) So I think we need to create a golem – a gigantic one – to guard against anti-Semitism and perhaps other ethnic and racist attacks as well.

Should the death penalty be re-instated?  Why or why not?
First of all, the death penalty is still alive and well in some states (Texas comes to mind). Where I live, in Illinois, it was suspended about a decade ago after a group of Northwestern University law students discovered that several men on death row had been wrongly convicted and were actually innocent. The governor, a Republican, in light of these revelations, suspended the death penalty, and it is still inactive in this state. Several other states have also banned or suspended it, but it’s still active in many states. Most “civilized” countries banned the death penalty long ago.

Morally, I am opposed to the death penalty, particularly because it disproportionally affects black people, especially men, who are incarcerated at a far higher rate than white men. Our justice system is imperfect, and as the Northwestern students proved, there are innocent men on death row; in fact, innocent men have been executed even though their cases contained a lot of doubt about their guilt. Also, the death penalty is not a deterrent to crime (this has been shown to be the case through research, regardless of what death penalty advocates would have us believe), so why have it? It is a barbaric vestige of medieval times.

Another problem with the death penalty is its financial cost. Lawyers of people on death row generally try to appeal their clients’ cases multiple times. This costs taxpayers money. It is less expensive – and, I believe, a worse punishment – to sentence someone to life in prison with no possibility of parole. Sometimes, prisoners who have been incarcerated for a long time do good things in prison to improve themselves – some have even obtained college degrees in prison! Also, there are some who become pastors who minister to their fellow prisoners. In my opinion, these prisoners that have shown themselves able and motivated for self-improvement have proved they have been rehabilitated and could be released. The prison system in our country is awful, and there is a lot of big money interests behind it. Meaningful prison terms can sometimes be served in service to others or in learning to work on farms or ranchers, for example. The prisoner learns a skill that can be useful to him (or her) after release.

Spontaneity Or Stability?

I yearn for both.

Can a dog/cat suffer? What about an ant? What about a plant? What about a bacteria cell?  Why do some humans think we’re the only species that does suffer?  Your thoughts?

I know that animals suffer – just as we do; after all, humans are animals. Anyone who has owned a pet or has contact with animals knows this. Plants, perhaps also. Trees that have had disease struggle to recover, but little by little wither and die. When I neglect my garden, I can see the plants suffering from lack of water and care – such as removal of weeds that grow around them and threaten to choke or smother them. If lack of water, they show their suffering with wilted leaves, which perk up amazingly well after a good watering or a couple of good rains!

I have no idea why some humans think we’re the only species that suffers. Perhaps it’s to justify their cruelty to animals or their sense of superiority and dominance over the earth. Some use the Bible to “prove” their claim that other species don’t suffer and that humans have the right to dominance over all creatures. The Bible, however, also says the opposite, telling us to take care of nature. (Read Psalm 8, one of my favorites.) I have heard people say that because an animal doesn’t cry out in pain during labor and giving birth, it means the animal doesn’t feel pain. This makes no sense! Animals in the wild can’t afford to cry out while in the pains of labor, for it may attract predators.

In 2018, I blogged about animals in zoos suffering from what is known as “zoochosis.” Anyone who has witnessed a cheetah walking incessantly around the perimeter of its enclosure or has seen a lone elephant just standing or listlessly swaying due to loneliness because it is the only elephant at the zoo, has seen animals suffering. Fortunately, zoos have become more sensitive to this and have endeavored to create larger enclosures that mimic the animals’ natural environments. Also, they don’t usually keep single elephants.

GRATITUDE SECTION

What are two things that have brightened your day today?

  1. Reading to a fellow resident in my book group. She has low vision and cannot read the book we’ll be discussing, even with large print. So my sister and I are taking turns reading to her. We all get together and enjoy hearing (and reading) the book together. I enjoy reading aloud and would do it for any resident under whatever circumstances.
  2. Learning the benefits of the Power Plate machine for a variety of conditions – today we had a workshop at the fitness center, where one of the instructors demonstrated its benefits. Then I used it to massage my feet for six minutes!

GREAT questions this week, Melanie!

2 thoughts on “SYW: The Golem, Sufferings of the Natural World, the Death Penalty, and Today’s Blessings

  1. Thanks Katy for Sharing Your World and welcome back! What wonderful answers! I like the idea of a golem…it is big enough to withstand most kinds of attack, and given the materials that make one up, can be quite indestructible! Great choice! You very concisely shared your view of the death penalty and animal suffering and pain too. Your gratitude was welcome as those are indeed some bright spots that you can enjoy! It’s very kind of you to read to your friend, service is the best cure for the blahs IMO. Have a great week!

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