A follow up quote to the quote I posted yesterday. It's been well over ten years since I've read Providence, and these quotes still resonate with me to this day. Part of why they do, I think, is they get rid of the idea that God will somehow intervene and save us from the problems we've created for ourselves, especially environmental problems like: human overpopulation, overuse of resources, and climate change. The idea that humans can go extinct and nothing will stop it from happening is very real to me. Quote below:
"Don't misunderstand me. The fact that the gods don't take our side against others doesn't imply that we have to do the same. The horse doesn't wait for the gods to intervene when it's attacked by a puma; it uses all its strength and every weapon at it possesses to save its life. We're free to do the same - as free as any other creature. If a lion attacks us, the gods will not defend us, because they're no more on our side than they're on the side of the lion, but we're at liberty to defend ourselves with whatever weapon we can wield. Our best weapon of defense is of course our intelligence. If there's a cancer growing inside of you, the gods aren't on your side against it, but that doesn't mean you have to throw up your hands and allow it to destroy your life; defend yourself against it with every resource you can bring to bear.
"People have written to me to ask: 'What can I do about the spiders that invade my house? May I kill them or do I just have to put up with them?' Such questions can always be safely referred to our neighbors in the community of life. A dog or a chimpanzee or a sparrow cannot be mistaken in such matters; they cannot mislead themselves with false, convenient arguments. Ask your dog what he does with the fleas that invade his coat, and he'll show you: He does his best to kill them. You can do the same, without apology. The gods will not take your side against the rest of the world just because you're human, but they will also not take the side of the rest of the world against you just because you're human." Daniel Quinn, Providence