As evening approached, Elena tightly gripped the sewn together rabbit pelts Pavel’s knife had acquired for them.
“You know, knives were made partly through the killing of trees.” Pavel apparently did not mind needling her.
“One cannot be a complete idealist. Bad things happen and affect people against their will.”
“But shouldn’t you protest?”
“I cannot criticize you for not having my standards.”
“But how can one hunt and skin rabbits without a knife?”
“The world criticizes Russia for being backwards, and you would have us go back to the stone age?”
“Why not? People become addicted to having more and more and more without ever considering ill effects to the earth, others, or even themselves. There is no end to it.”
“But again, what about the rabbit?” Pavel asked. “What makes your life more important than his?”
“I did not invent the food chain. It occurs everywhere. It is the way of the natural world. Animals have to eat to survive. The difficulty of killing in nature prevents one from over-consuming, which is why wild animals are not fat. Technology makes it too easy to over-consume.”
“Animals don’t have a choice whether to use technology or not. Modern domesticated animals are fed by it, wild ones aren’t. It is different when one has a choice to use something made with modern tools or not. Should I throw away my knife? What good would that do? It cannot be unmade.”
“No, but if you lose it, or it gets broken, you could try a more natural alternative instead of replacing it.”
“A stone or wooden knife would not be as good at the job. It would neither be as sharp, nor as strong.”
“So you would have to become sharper and stronger.”
“But what about weak people, like old people and children? With technology, they can fend for themselves.”
“If they were taught and were used to it, they would be stronger longer. Beyond that, the unavoidably weak are dependent upon those stronger. In nature they die.”
“Most people can’t accept that, if it is preventable by any means available. The choice makes it different than in isolated nature. To refuse help seems like murder or suicide.”
“Not if one believes that murder and genocide were committed in the development of such technologies.”
“I don’t think it’s as simple as that. You’ve justified animals being killed for survival. Garden plants are also killed by harvesting, if not the winter. That is hardly murder and genocide. Maybe all this wasn’t necessary before the fall, but it is now.”
“Modern technologies have killed the way of life of more natural subsisters. They need more and more land for their greed, and they either seduce, kill, or drive out people who resist. It is true that when a child is sick, the naturalist may seek modern aid, but how many times has this been due to the diseases brought through modern ways of living? They force a problem and its only cure.
I’m not saying one should never cut down a tree, but the way it is done is far too wasteful.” Elena continued, “If tools were cruder, less trees would be cut down.
And, one should not be afraid of death.”
“If you love someone, you don’t just let them die.”
“Then why did Christ spend so much time healing people?”
“To show them that he could both forgive sins and raise them from the dead. That’s why we don’t have to fear death.”
“Still, it seems awfully callus to just let someone suffer or die when there is help.”
“I think people are too afraid of suffering. They consider it the ultimate evil. It’s a symptom of evil, not evil itself. The nature of evil should be considered more, not just its effects.”
“But what about when Christ’s disciples wondered why the man was born blind, if it was his sin or his parents’, and Jesus said neither, but that the works of God could be displayed in him.”
“One, Christ didn’t cut him open or put some chemical in his eyes to heal him. Two, what good does it do to see the world and not see God? Can a blind man see God?”
“Then why did Christ heal his eyes and not just give him a spiritual vision?”
“Maybe to show them that he would also resurrect our bodies. We are meant to see him with our physical eyes. I don’t think it was just for him to enjoy the mundane world, glorious as it is.”
“If it is all about future resurrection, then what is the point of trying to sustain our life at all?”
“Because there are things we have to do before we die. It is different for everyone.”
“How does one know what they have to do?”
“It is very difficult to know. It is easier to know what one wants.” Elena smiled at Pavel.