A quote from Ajahn Brahm

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Re: A quote from Ajahn Brahm

Postby BlackBird » Thu Jul 29, 2010 8:39 am

Easier not to have any views at all, then there's no suffering :)

Ajahn Brahm says X and it conflicts with my view of Y and it shouldn't be this way and it's annoying and he's an idiot and blah blah blah... Look at Ajahn Brahm, whether you agree with him or not is of no concern, look at the man - He's as happy as can be while he runs off at the mouth. You on the other hand, well I don't know what your mental state is really like, all I see is the text on the page - But it doesn't give the impression of happiness, all I see is someone caught up in a thicket of views.

I've been there myself, we all have, it's a pain in the ass to be such a slave to one's defiled mind, and the icing on the cake is one is not even aware that it's a pain in the ass. The only way to see it is to really meditate, not just meditate, but really really really meditate, and then meditate some more, or you lose it... You can't come to understand sweet FA if you can't accept that there's something inherently wrong about your own mind, and that maybe, just maybe, there was someone out there who realized the nature of the wrongness, who saw what it depended upon, that it could come to and end, and that there is a way leading to the end.

If you think you're right, you will always be wrong.
If you think you are wrong, then maybe one day you will be right.

Sorry if you think I'm being harsh, but I have come to feel in recent months that it is sometimes the best way to go about making people question their way of thinking, where a subtle hint might easily have been ignored, or missed altogether.

metta
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Last edited by BlackBird on Thu Jul 29, 2010 8:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: A quote from Ajahn Brahm

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jul 29, 2010 8:41 am

BlackBird wrote:Easier not to have any views at all, then there's no suffering
Thank you for sharing your view on this.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: A quote from Ajahn Brahm

Postby BlackBird » Thu Jul 29, 2010 8:48 am

You're more than welcome Tilt.

"Life is a contradiction, which is the truth, which is a contradiction, which is therefore the truth."

Or even better:

Blessed One, "Master Gotama, I am of the view, of the opinion, that 'All is not pleasing to me.'"

"But even this view of yours, Aggivessana — 'All is not pleasing to me' — is even that not pleasing to you?'"

"Even if this view of mine were pleasing to me, Master Gotama, it would still be the same, it would still be the same."

"Well, Aggivessana, there are more than many in the world who say, 'It would still be the same, it would still be the same,' yet they both do not abandon that view and they cling to another view. There are fewer than few in the world who say, 'It would still be the same, it would still be the same,' and they both abandon that view and do not cling to another view.

"There are some brahmans & contemplatives who are of the view, of the opinion, that 'All is pleasing to me.' There are some brahmans & contemplatives who are of the view, of the opinion, that 'All is not pleasing to me.' There are some brahmans & contemplatives who are of the view, of the opinion, that 'A part is pleasing to me; a part is not pleasing to me.'

"With regard to those brahmans & contemplatives who are of the view, of the opinion, that 'All is pleasing to me': That view of theirs is close to being impassioned, close to bondage, close to delighting, close to holding, close to clinging. With regard to those brahmans & contemplatives who are of the view, of the opinion, that 'All is not pleasing to me': That view of theirs is close to not being impassioned, close to non-bondage, close to not-delighting, close to not-holding, close to not-clinging."

- http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: A quote from Ajahn Brahm

Postby lojong1 » Thu Jul 29, 2010 8:51 am

mud wrote:“...Was I in the past”, “was I not in the past”, “will I be in the future”……


Sabbaasava sutta! Glorious! Taṇhā to read? Taṇhā to post? Taṇhā to respond, or not respond? How even this unconscious, naturally selected, Taṇhā-free web forum evolves before my very eyes, because of Taṇhā...I say, truly remarkable.
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Re: A quote from Ajahn Brahm

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:01 am

BlackBird wrote:You're more than welcome Tilt. . . .
The problem is that we are stuck with views until we wake up. The best we can do until then is not to take them too seriously.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: A quote from Ajahn Brahm

Postby BlackBird » Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:06 am

tiltbillings wrote:
BlackBird wrote:You're more than welcome Tilt. . . .
The problem is that we are stuck with views until we wake up. The best we can do until then is not to take them too seriously.


Exactly.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: A quote from Ajahn Brahm

Postby Fruitzilla » Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:38 am

BlackBird wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
BlackBird wrote:You're more than welcome Tilt. . . .
The problem is that we are stuck with views until we wake up. The best we can do until then is not to take them too seriously.


Exactly.


So intellectual honesty in presenting your religious views to your followers isn't important, because the view of intellectual honesty is after all just another view we're stuck with?

Methinks that's a bit of an extreme....
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Re: A quote from Ajahn Brahm

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:45 am

Fruitzilla wrote:
So intellectual honesty in presenting your religious views to your followers isn't important, because the view of intellectual honesty is after all just another view we're stuck with?

Methinks that's a bit of an extreme....
Views are tools that need to be used, but there is always the balancing act hanging on to them too tightly or being dismissive of them.

BB in this above msg
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=5135&start=40#p79548 seemed to be presenting a view that views are a problem. He just was not being very clear in what he was stating.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: A quote from Ajahn Brahm

Postby Fruitzilla » Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:55 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Fruitzilla wrote:
So intellectual honesty in presenting your religious views to your followers isn't important, because the view of intellectual honesty is after all just another view we're stuck with?

Methinks that's a bit of an extreme....
Views are tools that need to be used, but there is always the balancing act hanging on to them too tightly or being dismissive of them.

BB in this above msg
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=5135&start=40#p79548 seemed to be presenting a view that views are a problem. He just was not being very clear in what he was stating.


Oh, I missed the pun :rofl:
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Re: A quote from Ajahn Brahm

Postby Alex123 » Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:04 pm

BlackBird wrote:Easier not to have any views at all, then there's no suffering :)

Ajahn Brahm says X and it conflicts with my view of Y and it shouldn't be this way and it's annoying and he's an idiot and blah blah blah... Look at Ajahn Brahm, whether you agree with him or not is of no concern, look at the man - He's as happy as can be while he runs off at the mouth. You on the other hand, well I don't know what your mental state is really like, all I see is the text on the page - But it doesn't give the impression of happiness, all I see is someone caught up in a thicket of views.


If you think you're right, you will always be wrong.


Well said. Though I think that the last sentence (which is brilliant) should be more like

if you think you're right, then there is a structural possibility of being proven wrong and that would hurt your feelings. Without clinging to views, when they are challenged, "you" don't suffer.
”Even the water melting from the snow-capped peaks finds its way to the ocean."
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Re: A quote from Ajahn Brahm

Postby Goedert » Thu Jul 29, 2010 6:15 pm

Well said.
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Re: A quote from Ajahn Brahm

Postby octathlon » Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:46 am

1. Thus have I heard. Once the Blessed One was staying at Savatthi, in Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery.

2. Then one evening the venerable Maha-Cunda[1] rose from meditative seclusion and went to the Blessed One. Having paid homage to him, he sat down at one side and spoke thus to the Blessed One:

3. "Venerable sir, there are these various views that arise in the world concerning self-doctrines or world-doctrines.[2] Does the abandoning and discarding of such views come about in a monk who is only at the beginning of his [meditative] reflections?"[3]

"Cunda, as to those several views that arise in the world concerning self-doctrines and world-doctrines, if [the object] in which[4] these views arise, in which they underlie and become active,[5] is seen with right wisdom[6] as it actually is,[7] thus: 'This is not mine,[8] this I am not,[9] this is not my self'[10] — then the abandoning of these views, their discarding,[11] takes place in him [who thus sees].

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html
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Re: A quote from Ajahn Brahm

Postby Laurens » Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:25 pm

The change that evolution undergoes is blind, it doesn't have the outcome of intelligent life as its aim, there is no conciousness to guide it. Saying that a non biological, personal thing such as craving and desire can affect a population of biological entities is making a huge leap. I will concede that craving (although I resent to use that word, for reasons I shall explore momentarily) in some ways can affect biology, desire for sex can lead to new life, the craving for food can affect survival etc, and these no doubt have effects upon populations. However, if you are making such an argument you have to be careful when using words such as 'craving and desire' because, at least to me this words imply sort of concious, thought driven process - a thought process that I would say animals lack entirely.

An animal operates on instinct, I doubt that a dog would be capable of thinking "I really fancy a steak and kidney pie" a dogs instinct is to eat what it can get, not developing addictions, and attachments - simply fulfilling it's body's needs. Craving and desire, especially from a Buddhist perspective is about patterns, habits and attachments. I would say to crave and to desire are a uniquely human thing (or at least in the way we generally understand the term), here's why:

All animals have instinct, this is a primal biological need, there is no fluff around it, its simply organisms doing what they do to survive. Humans have instinct, desire for food, sex, safety etc, however craving and desire, as we understand them are, I would argue a human construction on top of basic instincts. Humans have an incredible ability to piece together their surroundings and make sense of the big picture. I shall illustrate this with an example. If there were rhinoceros tracks leading in a certain direction across the dirt - an animal would not be able to deduce from that, that those tracks come from a rhino's foot, they lead in X direction and this means the rhino is that-a-way, whereas humans are uniquely capable of making such deductions. This being able to make sense of things in our surroundings is one thing that influences our craving, because we are able to deduce A+B+C = D and D feels pleasurable in some way so what we need to do is bring A, B, and C onto the scene and we can achieve D. Perhaps other animals take pleasure in D, but they do not possess the ability to deduce what brought it about. When humans know how to bring about a certain pleasurable experience, they can repeat it as often as possible, or at least attempt to repeat it, this what leads to patterns of addictive behaviour.

Perhaps animals can form simple addiction-like patterns when the equation would be a lot simpler and therefore much more likely that they stood a chance of working out how to get D. A+B = C would be simple enough for a few animals, however the human mind is capable of deducing things far beyond the capacity of animals (A+B-C+D+E+F+G = H for a random example) and we have the intelligence to be able to set up those things if we can. This makes our world of pleasures a lot larger than those of animals. I would say that this world of pleasures that has opened up due to our ability to know what makes us feel good, how to achieve it, the fact that we can bring these things to life in our imagination (another uniquely human attribute), our ways of reasoning these are things I would say are directly implied by the term craving and desire, rather than basic instinct.

If we imagine a scenario that might help demonstrate what I mean. Someone is hungry - that's the instinct, your body tells you that you need food. Where humans would differ from animals is that animals eat what they can get, maybe some intelligent animals get to a point where they can form the beginnings of what we might call 'pickiness' where the resources are in abundance so they can choose one favourite food over another, but this couldn't be confused with the extreme pickiness of humans. Desire may exist in primitive forms in the more intelligent species on the planet, but it is very limited and not not overly open to what we would call attachments and desires in the complex sense. The realm of desire and craving truly opens up at the level where the human can think "If I get some strawberries, mix them with some ice cream and put some whipped cream on the top I could eat something really pleasurable and tasty to satisfy my hunger" this process of being able to logically understand our environment adds such a depth to our world, food doesn't mean a means of survival, we can create it into a pleasurable experience, bring about ourselves the conditions for the release of certain pleasurable chemicals in our brains and get attached to certain ways of feeling.

Then of course you have the cognitive dissonance of the desire to eat tasty food and the desire to remain healthy and attractive. The meeting of these two opposites can further complicate things, perhaps to name one example off the top of my head; a kind of cyclic pattern of behaviour where one would eat a lot for a period of time, then go into a health crazy for a time over and over again. At a human level desire and craving are a highly complex web that involve parts of our uniquely human conciousness. If you wish to refer to desire and craving in animals, its important to understand that it is nothing like our world of desire and craving. This should be distinguished when discussing the terms, that human desire and craving is the not the same as animal desire and craving. Also its probably fair to say that if you are going to get specific every single species would have its own different form of desire.

For us humans however, we possess a unique form of intelligence that distinguishes our human desire and craving greatly different from that of animals. I feel a distinction has to be made because generally we interpret 'desire and craving' to mean the human level of craving and desire as opposed to the animal level which would be very different and hard to comprehend and should not really be referred to with the words desire and craving because those words point towards a uniquely human psychology - the one we identify with, rather than ones we cannot understand or identify with.

Why did I go through that long winded rambling? I'm not sure entirely (this post is very free form), but I'll try to answer it. Firstly its the fact that Ajahm Brahm doesn't make a distinction between human desire and craving and animal instincts which may mislead the listener into thinking that animals may possess some kind of human-like cognitive form desire and craving, rather than a more basic instinctual version - which is not correct.

These basic instincts have arisen not as a start point for evolution, but as a by product of it. Its handy for the survival of an organism if it knows when it's hungry and if it is attracted to the opposite sex. An awful lot of animal behaviour is genetic, dictated by genes rather than intelligence, where as our behaviour is severely dictated by our psychology and intelligence. Desire and craving are only a by product of evolution, and so is intelligence. They are not the cause or the force behind it. The genes for certain instinctual behaviour are selected by natural selection as a means for the genes to be passed on from one generation to the next. We are a machine to protect our genes essentially, from a purely evolutionary stand point (this does not mean we should generate a philosophy around this fact, but it's essentially true) whether it be instinct, or intelligence - these things are favoured by natural selection because they increase the chances of the genes surviving. The fact that we desire and crave is not a force behind evolution, it is merely a successful adaptation and is therefore favoured by natural selection.

How could craving and desire impact evolution? A lot of speciation events occur due to a change in geographic location - when a gene pool is separated by a mountain range for example, perhaps some of the population found themselves crossing the mountain in a harsh drought in search of food. This was not, however a concious, if we go over that mountain there might be more food, it was more like a chance event; the animal searches for food and a few of them accidentally cross a pass in the mountains and end up separated from their relatives. It wasn't a concious desire to cross a mountain, it was the urge for food in harsh conditions. The animals would have stayed together if the drought hadn't occurred, it is not desire that drives evolution, its the environment.

If the environment was steady and there was enough resources there wouldn't be much adaptation going on. The environment and external events drive evolution, not internal desires. The animals didn't desire to cross the mountains, the conditions led to the animals crossing them, but it wasn't driven by the animal suddenly and whimsically deciding it would be nice to cross that mountain there.

Natural selection is not going to listen to what we want, what we like and what we need. The world is constantly changing, we might not want things to change but the conditions will force them to. The forces of nature do not listen to our whims, we at their mercy. Craving and desire ultimately have no impact on nature. To say they do is misleading and can potentially lead to harmful outcomes.
"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."

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Re: A quote from Ajahn Brahm

Postby beeblebrox » Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:40 pm

Laurens, while I agree with much of what you said... there are still few things that I think need to be pointed out:

The change that evolution undergoes is blind, it doesn't have the outcome of intelligent life as its aim, there is no conciousness to guide it. Saying that a non biological, personal thing such as craving and desire can affect a population of biological entities is making a huge leap.


These (consciousness, craving, and desire) aren't separate from the nature. They're a part of it. They make up (along with many other things) the environment that the pattern of evolution takes place in.

They're ones of the selection pressures. Many things are extinct because of it, while some of the others have become domesticated, such as dogs, plants, etc.

... I doubt that a dog would be capable of thinking "I really fancy a steak and kidney pie" a dogs instinct is to eat what it can get, not developing addictions, and attachments - simply fulfilling it's body's needs. Craving and desire, especially from a Buddhist perspective is about patterns, habits and attachments.


Ever had a dog before? :tongue: They definitely have attachments, and even develop addictions. Some of them are nuts, just like many of the humans out there.

Perhaps other animals take pleasure in D, but they do not possess the ability to deduce what brought it about. When humans know how to bring about a certain pleasurable experience, they can repeat it as often as possible, or at least attempt to repeat it, this what leads to patterns of addictive behaviour.


Do you mean the Pavlovian reaction? :tongue: The one that some guy observed in dogs?

Perhaps animals can form simple addiction-like patterns when the equation would be a lot simpler and therefore much more likely that they stood a chance of working out how to get D. A+B = C would be simple enough for a few animals, however the human mind is capable of deducing things far beyond the capacity of animals (A+B-C+D+E+F+G = H for a random example) and we have the intelligence to be able to set up those things if we can. This makes our world of pleasures a lot larger than those of animals.


This is a logical fallacy. Desire is a desire, and reward is a reward... it doesn't matter how simple, or how complex they are, or how it's achieved.

Why did I go through that long winded rambling? I'm not sure entirely (this post is very free form), but I'll try to answer it. Firstly its the fact that Ajahm Brahm doesn't make a distinction between human desire and craving and animal instincts which may mislead the listener into thinking that animals may possess some kind of human-like cognitive form desire and craving, rather than a more basic instinctual version - which is not correct.


Indeed... and your own explanation still wasn't correct. :tongue: You tried to separate the (human) cravings and desires out from the evolutionary process, when there's no such separateness to be found, anywhere in the nature, even in the social settings. They are ones of the selection pressures, anywhere that these humans might be found.

An awful lot of animal behaviour is genetic, dictated by genes rather than intelligence, where as our behaviour is severely dictated by our psychology and intelligence.


Genes are selection pressures. Intelligence is also a selection pressure. Our behaviors are selection pressures. Everything is a selection pressure. All of those are what makes the evolution happen. They are part of the environment.

The environment and external events drive evolution, not internal desires. The animals didn't desire to cross the mountains, the conditions led to the animals crossing them, but it wasn't driven by the animal suddenly and whimsically deciding it would be nice to cross that mountain there.


Ever wonder how a creature ever began to fly? Do you think that it was pressured to fly? Did something kick it off the cliff, or something like that?

It's more likely that some creature decided to jump off a tree, with its limbs spread out... and managed to glide. This happened because of some genetic mutation that it acquired through birth, by chance. It then showed off this new ability. It managed to impress some other creature with this. They mated.

None of this had to do with the necessity. Of course, over the time, this new ability turned out to be an advantage, survival-wise... which then caused the offsprings (with the same mutation) to survive even longer, and mate more often, passing on this mutation even more. This led to flying.

Natural selection is not going to listen to what we want, what we like and what we need. The world is constantly changing, we might not want things to change but the conditions will force them to. The forces of nature do not listen to our whims, we at their mercy. Craving and desire ultimately have no impact on nature.


The first part is true, the last part is a fallacy.
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Re: A quote from Ajahn Brahm

Postby lojong1 » Fri Jul 30, 2010 7:20 pm

@ Laurens

I really thought I had already cleared up every issue in your last post with my last post. I'm gonna repeat myself because my voice is so nice and my reasoning flawless:

When Ajahn Brahm said 'craving,' he meant tanhaa, which includes by definition every aspect of tanhaa that you say does not belong in the current English definition of 'craving,' or should not be applied to non-humans. If the craving you are talking about cannot be used correctly in the same way as tanhaa, then you are talking about a different craving--NOT TANHAA! You've already agreed with this. We all win!

There was never any beef with Ajahn's teaching! There simply evolved a naturally selected, conscious and unconscious, dependently originated communication breakdown with craving and non-craving and most definitely chock full of tanhaa. Am I way off track?
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Re: A quote from Ajahn Brahm

Postby legolas » Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:32 pm

You have to ask "Does any of this matter?" The Buddha stated that he left more things unsaid than what he taught. Why? - because it did not lead to the ending of suffering I think Ajahn Brahm might have strayed a little from this premise.
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Re: A quote from Ajahn Brahm

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:14 am

Viscid wrote:Well, you can interpret that however you like:

Such as:
No evolution in Nibbana!
or
Ajahn Brahm isn't a scientist but believes his metaphysical convictions are solid enough to make such declarations.

except ajahn brahm is a scientist, or was rather before ordaining
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Re: A quote from Ajahn Brahm

Postby 5heaps » Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:18 am

if we didn't have craving we would easily kill ourselves since there wouldn't be the desire to go on.
this is in accord with the idea that we are born mentally ill.

part of buddhism of course is to learn to live without craving by removing ignorance so that we can construct a healthly type of desire, which is impossible while we have ignorance (if ignorance, then its craving/ignorant desire)
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Re: A quote from Ajahn Brahm

Postby clw_uk » Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:33 pm

Science, in 20th century showed us that such concepts as impermanence, rebirth, telepathy and selflessness taught by the Buddha 2.600 years ago, are true phenomena of nature which are beyond three spatial dimentions and therefore beyond classical science.


Im sorry but "science" has shown us reincarnation and telepathy?
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: A quote from Ajahn Brahm

Postby clw_uk » Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:34 pm

appicchato wrote:To me evolution covers all of life here on Earth...with the exception of humans ( and not too long ago them as well) who, or what, was/is craving to evolve?...humans are, in many ways, basically the most screwed up life form there is...




Why are humans an exception?
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