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Common Processes

Strictly speaking, nothing may be claimed as a natural birthright, since—to digress for a moment—every birthright is a fiction, something we dreamed after straying from a factual world into one fabricated by our heads. For those keeping track, the only rights we have are these: to seek the survival of our individual bodies, to create more bodies like our own, and to know that everyone’s body will perish through a process of corruption or mortal trauma. (This is presuming that one has been brought to term and has survived to a certain age, neither being a natural birthright. Rigorously considered, our only natural birthright is to die.) No other rights have been allocated to us except, to repeat with emphasis, as fabrications. The divine right of kings may now be acknowledged as such a fabrication—a falsified permit for prideful dementia and arbitrary mayhem. The unalienable rights of certain people, however, seemingly remain current: whether observed or violated, somehow we believe they are not fabrications because an old document says they are real. Miserly or munificent as a given right may appear, it denotes no more than the right of way warranted by a traffic light, which does not mean you have the right to drive free of vehicular mishaps. Ask any paramedic.

—Thomas Ligotti, The Conspiracy Against the Human Race

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