I don’t want to die
Why would you want to kill a bug?
Around six or seven years ago I have made a conscious effort to stop killing insects. My reasoning to stop squishing bugs became profoundly clear: I didn’t want to die.
For the most part, insects are a walking buffet for all sorts of wildlife and including, birds, monkeys, anteaters, Venus flytraps, birds and other forms of life. Bugs are the microwavable burrito of ecology. If you study nature, the insignificant bug is at the bottom of the food chain. Lions are the alleged kings of the jungle as is the bear to the forest and shark to the ocean. Sharks, bears and lions are rarely food for other animals, while insects are always the first choice to nourish most wildlife.
Ah, yes! The food chain! Food?
Being at the bottom of the wildlife hierarchy is where the bug flourishes, multiplies, and never ceases to die off. Trust me, my father sprays all kinds of chemicals on the sides of the house and you can still see a few ants here and there, and all the ants do is merely be an ant. They just crawl around and do their ant thing.
And yet all we have is an inclination to squish those icky arachnids, larva and carrion crawlers into an unrecognizable paste.
But why does something so vital to the cycle of life make us want to scream KILL IT NOW! I don’t know if it’s just a survival mechanism of biology or just a bias taught to us by horror and monster movies. What I do know is that when people see a bug, including me, they have a flight or fight response.
Let me insert an analogy: A bug is to wildlife what the poor and marginalized are to human society.
Both are at the bottom of the socio-economic and food chain. Are they not?
Society would love to do nothing more than stick poor people, gays, blacks, transgendered, Anarchists or whomever they deem as nothing into a never-ending ant colony. If they can get away with using a human bug spray, like a flat tax, they would. A flat tax and panhandling laws are the bug spray of the homeless and impoverished.
The strong are the only ones allowed to live and thrive? Only a rich person should be on the top of the pyramid? Only the elite and political chattering classes have a voice in society?
I live in a nation where if you willingly feed the poor then you go to jail.
It’s always the same tired argument for a society of us versus them. You will be told you need strong and rich people to balance out the weak and poor. All of the old Enlightenment philosophy and pre-Enlightenment philosophers — they saw no end to this classist antagonism of the powerful and the marginalized. They saw animals out in nature eating one another and figured it was OK because they saw a lion tackle and then eat a gazelle. It’s a power struggle that the gazelle mostly loses.
But is the lion really that different from a gazelle? They are just animals. Is Bill Gates that different from a homeless veteran with PTSD? Aren’t they just human beings?
Am I different than a bug?
Think I am kidding? Just look at scientific fact for a moment.
You put all living things under a microscope and you just see DNA strand, protein, basics elements, a few other chemicals, and you have a living organism that just wants to live. Am I not just walking, talking, love making, joke telling, crying, angry, smiling and chess-playing protein and carbon? I am carbon with good hair and deep blue eyes. James Taylor said we are all stardust. I have no idea if it was dope or pure genius he was smoking.
Stardust, protein and carbon can do anything and be everything in the universe?
I am just a little insignificant electron and I float around the mysterious expanse of the universe. An astrophysicist would tell me that the universe just keeps expanding and probably won’t ever stop expanding. This is a place of no end? Is this heaven? It can be unbearable to think about all of this and I truly enjoy it.
I have no idea.
I know bugs are basically protein and so am I. I know the difference between the rich and poor are bundles of fat stacks — straight cash, homey.
A rich person can lose his or her empire and fortune, and live in a cardboard box and the world is lost to him or her. The poor man can have a full belly, sing a song, and feel like he inherited the Earth as foretold by scripture. Doesn’t the poor man gain the world?
Come to think of it, didn’t we all inherit the Earth that we keep drilling holes into and endlessly frack? By that logic, perhaps we should all look for natural gas and oil by drilling open our children’s skulls.
I am not the morality police. I am not the most ethical person in the world. I will again do something disgusting that will make me a hypocrite. On the other hand, I do have a feeling that if you are a person who cares about other people, society should elevate you to the top rung of society. I want to live in the world in which you don’t starve, get cold, and become voiceless because you aren’t a banker.
I still kill bugs, and being a human being means you ultimately become a hypocrite no matter how hard you try.
But I don’t want to die and neither does a bug.