“Billions of dollars could be saved in the meat industry if the consciousness of farm animals could be reduced to that of simpler living organisms.” -Dr. Ainstig, Phd.
“I don’t understand it, doctor, what you did to his lobes?” Luz asked. She struggled with English, her second language. She was holding in her hands a pair of plastic covered ankles.
“You won’t understand,” said the doctor.
”You know, if this would happen in your country, America…”
“I know,” he raised his voice high to mimic hers; “our ass would be in jail.”
They put the shrouded body on a pile of branches. Suddenly Luz caught a stern, angry glance from the doctor.
“You’re a nurse. You’re not qualified to understand the frontal lobes. It’s doctorate work. Don’t even ask.” His face looked hot and red. “I warn you again, Luz. You stay the hell out of it.”
Dr. Ainstig had saved the wood to dry out since spring. He set it ablaze with a lighter from his pocket.
The Unique Frontier
Consciousness, according to the doctor, is a biological function governed by subtle changes in the energy passing through synapses and chemicals in the brain. It can be analyzed, as in biology, it can be treated, as in medical psychiatry, or it can be changed, as in biopsychic augmentation, his unique frontier.
It was the big slaughterhouses in America that first inspired him. His father managed “the kill floor.” Day in, day out, they lifted a hundred, a thousand, a million writhing animals by their hind ankles secured with a chain. The throats were slit so the blood could drain out by the pumping animals’ hearts. The animal died. But when?
Little Ainstig was horrified. He was a little boy in such a ghastly scene. Daddy wanted him to appreciate it, not be a sissy. A thought grew in his child’s mind, like a drop of blood spreads on fine cloth. What makes the creatures breathe? What makes a big bull alive? Why the ghastly scene? Couldn’t meat be obtained in an easier way, like cauliflower?
In his maturity Ainstig took up experimenting with animals. Later he got an international contract to do humans. Only a human subject could communicate his subjective experience of consciousness during the course of the experiment.
Luz never spoke of it but there were ten different persons that had stayed at The Ranch. There was the nice secretary from Managua. She left with not so much as a scar near her hairline. There was a young man from Belize who needed the compensation check to bail his brother out of jail. He left with no scar.
The frontal lobes, right and left, were the doctor’s focus. He could make a magnetic resonance analysis and then treat the subject with sonic or magnetic waves, or pharmaceuticals, followed by electroencephalography. He could illicit a variety of affects and data. There were too many laws against it in the States.
But the boys from the jungle… Luz’s eyes became wet and her body tense remembering them. They each were ill affected by the experiments. Some wandered off; others the doctor himself drove off with in the jeep.
Of the ten so far, only three left the ranch in good condition. Luz became anxious. Would the doctor ever come to the conclusion?
“Billions of dollars could be saved in the meat industry if consciousness could be reduced in farm animals to that of simpler living organisms,” he explained to Luz whenever she needed to hear it again.
A month passed and then a jeep pulled up the muddy road in front of The Ranch. It was Ganesh Gupta. The driver brought his bags in.
“I am here to see the doctor?” His face radiated innocence.
“Tu?” Luz countered. She sighed.
She showed him to the guest room and brought the contract, as the doctor required.
“Of course you must know. You would not decide to come here if you did not know. Doctor is making a great research work to discover a mysteriousness of life, consciousness. If it can be a good science discovery for him, then he will have understanding of building blocks of all the life things,” she chimed. “So you sign here.”
Ganesh appeared astonished by her words. He signed the contract immediately.
“It is quite an honor for me to participate, madam, so I feel I must share with you some gift. I am just now thinking that an esteemed research worker such as you would take interest in this classic book from my home country, India.”
It was a copy of the Bhagavad-gita in Spanish.
The next morning Luz served breakfast to Ganesh. “I enjoy very much to read this book, the Bhagavad-gita. Muchas gracias,” she said.
“I am very glad,” said Ganesh.
“For example, it says, ‘for one who is born, death is certain, and for one who is dead, birth is certain.’ So it is circle?”
“Very good,” replied Ganesh, “I am happy for you, madam.”
“You studied it in India?”
“No,” said Ganesh. “I only just now received a copy from a woman in the Managua airport on my way to your, this beautiful The Ranch. In this way I made a gift of it to you, madam.”
“You come from India and you never read it?” asked Luz, surprised.
“It is a favorite book of Mahatma Gandhi. That I know. In school I have studied only computer software.” explained Ganesh. “Madam, I came to your, this beautiful ranch, to participate in experiments and I shall use the payment to open a computer firm in Managua City.”
A Lucky Delay
A few weeks went by, Luz and Ganesh became friends. No experiment was conducted. One day she served breakfast to Ganesh and quoted the Gita to him in Spanish.
“If I read it very correctly, it say to me the energy we call ‘life’ is not something what people can manufacture. It is immutable. The “you” is eternal. Is that right?”
“Oh madam, this is all very high thinking.”
“Si, si. I think your book also say the existence of consciousness can’t be proof by experimentation. How can consciousness see itself?”
“Madam, it is a very deep, wise subject matter.”
They stopped talking while the doctor walked in and smiled. “Good morning to you, Mr. Gupta.” Luz poured a cup of coffee for him to take back to his office.
“Ganesh!” Luz whispered, “Do you know why you were brought here?”
“It is to conduct research that the doctor wishes to utilize me. Isn’t that correct?”
Luz cleared the breakfast dishes into the sink. One broke.
Ganesh looked puzzled. “Madam, what is the delay? When will we begin?”
“Still we wait for your compensation, Ganesh, approved from Los Monsantos. Come in mail, pronto.”
Ganesh was so keen on being helpful. Luz felt a little hopeful for him but she did not know why. Somehow Ganesh seemed invincible.
No One can Defile It
“Your book, Ganesh, says an individual soul is unbreakable, insoluble, everlasting, and can’t be burned or dried.” Luz spoke words from the Gita. Ganesh listened while they hiked a jungle trail near The Ranch.
“Madam, is it not wonderful that you have learned all this? My grandfather told us these things back in my village when I was a boy.”
They came to a clear mineral water spout of every blue green color in nature, tumbling down a rock gorge into a languid pond of milky turquoise.
“Beautiful!” said Ganesh, breathless.
“Si,” said Luz. “Each times I see this waterfall I am much blessed.”
‘Thank you for showing me your beautiful Ranch waterfall, Madam,” said Ganesh.
As soon as she heard him mention “Ranch” Luz’s stomach tightened.
“Ay, Ganesh, why do you refuse the meat I cook? Do animals, too, have a soul?”
“Yes, madam,” replied Ganesh, “but it is no trouble. I am very pleased with the beans and vegetables you prepare.”
“Your Gita explain me that the soul cannot be seen by microscope. It cannot be touched by material senses of the human…”
“Yes, Madam Luz, it is highly respected. Divyam means divine and transcendental. So not to worry, madam, no one can defile it.”
“Tell me, who is Krishna?”
“Ah, Krishna? That you cannot describe. He is as blue as this heavenly pool, and a million times more sublime. Why, He is magnificent to behold and at the same time you cannot behold Him at all,” Ganesh smiled a big smile, “Oh, and Sri Krishna loves cows.”
“Hmmm,” Luz smiled, but she began to cry.
“Ganesh, I something important to tell you. You listen me now.” She whispered, “The doctor going to hurt you, Ganesh, the experiments have hurt, maybe kill, seven persons. I know this.”
“Oh madam, don’t cry. In the name of science, and for want of finance to begin my computer firm in Managua City, I wish to take such opportunity of risk to promote the cause of modern mankind.”
“No! Ganesh! You don’ understand. Out of ten subjects seven missing… maybe dead! Oh, I afraid for you, I afraid! You must leave. Call for the jeep.”
“Madam, you don’t understand. I am prepared to further the cause of modern science. Every man should make a very good sacrifice for the progress and betterment…”
“Ganesh, you are fool! Listen me now. The doctor is mad man!” Luz eyes widened until nearly all the white was showing.
“Madam! Perhaps we are having a misunderstanding based on cultural differences. Are you unfamiliar with the good doctor’s experiments? Is there something specifically you have misunderstood?”
“Listen me, you idiot! Ainstig wants to change the animals so they cannot think or protect themselves; he calls it, ‘reduce instinct for self-defense.’ Not that only. He has colleague who is trying to stop the methane gas they produce, which very much causes the global warming.”
“He wants to eliminate from the cows their natural tendency to make gas?” Ganesh asked incredulously.
“Si. And doctor wants to make cows with the genes of our Costa Rica tree sloth.”
“No. This cannot be possible.”
“Yes! He says complex consciousness is a result of many years of bio- evolution. He wants it to devolve in livestock. Grow them like the cauliflowers.”
Ganesh sat puzzled. Luz saw Ainstig down the hill, walking on a long gravel driveway. He was headed to the mail box in his jeans and blue technician’s smock.
“Oh, there’s he, looking for the letter from the Monsantos…”
“In my culture, the cow is sacred,” Ganesh gasped, “The Gita says she has a soul in her body just like you or I. She is regarded as mother because we benefit from her milk. We do not take her blood! Luz, I am surprised, but very grateful, that you informed me about the nature of this thing.”
Ganesh was indignant. “This man’s ideas are simply hideous to me.” He stood up on a rock and proclaimed, “I, Ganesh Gupta, do hereby declare: I will have nothing to do with this! This is scientific demonism. I will tear up my contract!” Luz begged him to come down from the rock lest the doctor might see him.
Suddenly Ganesh pulled out his iPhone and called the Managua County Sheriff’s Office.
As Easy as the Cauliflower
For hours Ganesh and Luz hid in the jungle. Morning passed, the jungle grew moist and hot. Then a rumble of noise came from the sound of road vehicles. A little later came a few blasts of gunshots. From down at the waterfall they spotted military jeeps surrounding The Ranch.
Luz cried. “What happened to the doctor?” she grabbed Ganesh and shook him,
“He die? He shoot at the police?”
“The sheriff said not to come near yet,” Ganesh cautioned.
As the sun lanced the jungle with its last rays, they glimpsed military men lifting a body by the shoulders and two ankles. They loaded it on a stretcher and into a van. Luz nearly dropped to the ground seeing the dead Dr. Ainstig. Cautiously Ganesh and Luz made their way to The Ranch where they were detained and taken to Managua.
Luz was questioned extensively in Managua. “Ainstig, he did cutting edge scientific exploration of agricultural mutation. Americans will be angry with us for killing him. He wanted to produce cows as easy as the cauliflower,” Luz explained over and over again to a variety of Nicaraguan officials. They listened to her story with pity and let her go.
Meanwhile, Ganesh was asked to attend several media interviews.
“Mr. Gupta, you have helped to protect the people of our country from the newly discovered threat of biopsychic augmentation. How does it feel to be a national hero? Have you anything to tell us?”
“Thank you very much, sir. I should like to urge the good people of your, this beautiful Nicaragua, to consider very carefully the effect of modern science upon your country. I honor and respect the achievements of modern technology and science. Especially in bio-technology and medicine so many advancements are made. No longer does a blind man necessarily have to remain blind; no longer does a lame man have to be so with the use of modern prosthetics. Physical suffering appears to have decreased for human kind across the globe.
“Ironically, while we advanced our own comforts, we have simultaneously created hell for the animals. I have seen from the hill top how your jungles have been cleared and tens of thousands of cattle stand in the open fields waiting to be processed into fast food for man.
“I have smelled the stench of your slaughter houses as I traveled on the highway to your Managua. I have seen run-off and ground contamination from the limitless gallons of spilled blood. And now I realize that by chance I came into the association of a man whose base greed and nasty culture produced in him such insanity that he wished to manipulate the brain of innocent animals and retard them. Even he wished to try his plan on men. But that was where his madness had to come to an end. To take the life of another human being is most objectionable.
“From a spiritual perspective, our precious human life is a crossroads between the life of a man and the life of an animal. An animal cannot make a decision based on rational thought; he can only act on the instinct given him by nature. A human can consider, if I am cut, I bleed; if the animal is cut, he also bleeds. If I get injury, I suffer; if an animal is given injury, he suffers. If I am to be killed, I will feel tremendous fear; if an animal is to be killed, he will make every attempt to defend himself. By this reasoning a human being should naturally conclude that the animal is akin to his own brother. Finer sentiments and respect for all natural created beings should awaken in him if he is to call himself a human.
Thank you very much for your kind attention in this matter. If I have at all saved you from the threat of biopsychic augmentation, then as my reward I make a request of you. The experience of human consciousness gives a valuable opportunity to awaken to the intricate, personal relationships we share among forms of sentience, realizing it to be both sacred and inviolable. In your, this beautiful country of Nicaragua, please declare disobedience to the perversity of technological science.”