Just one look at what my three-person household produces, from one recycling day to the next, astonishes me. Even though I try to keep the environment in mind as I compost, wash my baby’s cloth diapers, and send bottles back to the beer store, still, every Thursday morning, I leave a mountain of disposable products inside a black bag on our curb. I can’t help it! Everything I need to buy comes in a package…
Just one look at what my three-person household produces, from one recycling day to the next, astonishes me. Even though I try to keep the environment in mind as I compost, wash my baby’s cloth diapers, and send bottles back to the beer store, still, every Thursday morning, I leave a mountain of disposable products inside a black bag on our curb.
I can’t help it! Everything I need to buy comes in a package, and is made to break down or be thrown away. They say that our society produces more garbage than any society before. Almost everything we buy is disposable: daily newspapers and weekly magazines, all sorts of food packaging from ketchup bottles to candy-wrappers, toilet-paper, phone-books, diapers, and anything else we don’t want. Even cars and furnaces are made to break down eventually. We live in a throw-away culture, where not even human life is preserved for very long.
It reminds me dangerously of the movie The Island (2005). Ewan McGregor plays Lincoln 6-Echo, a young man in a weird, futurist utopia, where everything is perfect, and every step you take is watched by the compassionate “Doctor.” What Lincoln does not know is that his world is actually an underground facility, and his fellow-workers are clones that the “Doctor” created for the purpose of harvesting organs. As the story unfolds, Ewan McGregor discovers the truth and escapes with his life. He also discovers that his generation of clones is about to be destroyed, so he and another clone return to save them. “Don’t worry,” the doctor explains to his clients, whose clones they are, “They feel nothing.” When they re-enter the facility, McGregor watches in horror as workers take a knife and slash open the artificial wombs in which new humans, some of them merely bundles of blood vessels in a human form, are incubating. The water spills out, leaving the pre-formed humans to die. McGregor cries out, unable to stop the destruction. The newly emerging humans writhe in agony. It is a horrible scene, and it is connected to real life.
Today, human life is created in petri dishes, and conceived by mothers who do not want their babies. Human embryos suffer experimentation and mass destruction in scientific facilities. In regular hospitals, nurses tell stories of holding little premature babies, shivering from cold, who have been left in a cupboard to die after a botched abortion. If Lincoln 6-Echo, a relatively innocent character, witnessed what is done in today’s science, what would he think? The clones in the imaginary world of the movie are at the disposal of the “Doctor.”
Whenever his client needs a new organ, or is trying to conceive a baby, the facility takes what they need, and then kills the living donor. The only thing that separated the clones from the clients was that nobody wanted the clones to live.
It is the same in today’s hospital. The unborn child is no more protected there than the clones are in the movie. They are considered subhuman. The attitude to the unborn child is schizophrenic: if the baby is wanted, it is a baby; if nobody wants it, it is a bundle of tissue, and nobody minds if it gets lopped off, thrown out, carted away with the trash. Nobody, that is, except the baby.
We are so used to using and throwing things out, that it is easy to see how people begin to use other people as disposable products. Even sexuality revolves around using people. We practically have disposable dates, which are regularly used and discarded in one night stands. It is a terrible feeling to be “disposed of,” to wake up in the morning and think, “That was great, but what now? Am I just another face on street? Another body?” One-night stands are considered a standard part of dating, and yet they ultimately lead to unhappiness.
While the evil “Doctor” created and destroyed life, Ewan McGregor’s character saw each life as precious. Perhaps he would take the same view of sexuality. Many people are stuck in a pattern of having one sexual encounter after another, being used and discarded like Kleenexes. Some try to build a relationship around a sex life, but end up feeling hollow and alone. They do not see their partner as a person, but as a means to happiness. They need the other person to provide pleasure or security.
Then there are others, who see each person as a precious gift, and love them for who they are. These people have discovered the secret to happiness. They know that each person is truly worthwhile, worthy of keeping and cherishing. Instead of using the ones they love for selfish purposes, they give themselves to them. Instead of being tossed away, like garbage, their loving actions get recycled and build a better, stronger relationship. This is the medicine for our “throw-away” society. They win the trust of the people they love, and they discover a magical love that they never knew was possible.