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Lessons From a Spider

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posted on Jul, 16 2015 @ 05:08 PM
I loathe spiders.

Arachnids of all types make my skin crawl, and sight of one once sent me rushing towards the nearest folded newspaper or magazine. With a single hard thwack that octolegged pest would vanish, and for a scant amount of effort that problem would forever disperse.

Yet all that changed one morning several years ago. For on that day I realized something vital.

The alarm buzzed loud and I awoke too early--and staggered and exhausted I stumbled downstairs. In my old house we had a second bathroom in the basement, and there I went because the upstairs one was already occupied.

Along that route I stumbled upon an unwelcome surprise. Because there on the wall beside the bathroom stood a giant spider whose body was bigger than a silver dollar, and whose legs stretched almost unto the radius of a soup can.

Freaking out fast I immediately opened the bathroom door and grabbed the nearest magazine. Acting out quick I cocked it back and prepared to swing.

And then I got an even bigger shock.

The wall beside the bathroom is flat, expansive, and totally devoid of pictures or hangings or any salient features that might provide that arachnid with shelter. Yet the instant I drew back and magazine and firmed my intention to strike, the spider cringed fast and hard and visible.

It ducked for cover--even knowing that no cover existed within sight.

Then I realized it wasn't trying to hide. It was simply afraid.

Terrified of death it obeyed its instincts and huddled down. Scared beyond belief the neurochemical mixture flooding through its tiny body imbued it with the same fright you and I might feel in that situation.

At that moment I realized the spider and I were the same. We occupied different bodies, we held different forms--we had vastly different conceptions of morality--but we held that emotion in common.

The word empathy can't describe the reaction I had, for immediately I couldn't finish that killing blow. More staggered than when I awoke, more stunned than I'd been in awhile, the magazine I put down. The bathroom I left behind.

Upstairs I went, leaving my eight-legged acquaintance in peace. And when downstairs I later returned, that spider had taken his pardon and vanished.

That arachnid I never saw again. But that lesson I always remember.

Emotions are largely neurological effects predicated by chemical cocktails in body and brain. And because of overlapping uniformity in biology, all living things share them in common.

That old saying, "It's probably more afraid of you than you are of it," well, it's partially true. The truth is that everything alive feels fear.

The spider proved that to me--and from that point on my behavior slowly started to change. Right away I couldn't keep killing insects in the house... I either open a window and let them outside, or trap them in a cup and release them later.

Soon thereafter I started blowing mosquitoes off my arms rather than smash them to bits. Later I reached a point where when mowing the lawn, I'd wait for crickets in my yard to jump out of the way instead of blindly running them over.

Everything alive has sentience. Everything alive has emotion.

Keep that in mind the next time our little friends annoy you inside or out.

Then maybe the next time you see something buzzing around, you'll take a couple moments to brush it away rather than swatting hard with hand or flyswatter.

After all--if the roles were reversed--you'd also want that common courtesy. You'd also want your life pardoned.

Think hard before striking that killing blow. For if nothing else--you've both got fear of death in common.

posted on Jul, 16 2015 @ 05:57 PM
Same realization... same efforts at sparing life when I find it in my abode. Mosquitoes though... I have to say I still squish them with a quick "go in peace" as they kill more people than, well, people do.

I know they're part of the grand design (or wanton chaos for those less... designy), but I also accept that in my form as it now is, I kill not just every day to eat, but with every breath, every movement.

One stretch of the arm is an apocalypse of epic proportions for cells and microorganisms.

And that's my gripe with our life as we know it... it's based on consumption of other life.

posted on Jul, 16 2015 @ 06:33 PM

originally posted by: Baddogma

And that's my gripe with our life as we know it... it's based on consumption of other life.

Agree with this, which is why I've steadily been reducing my taking of life (whenever possible).

For instance I've paired my diet down to foods that don't result in direct killing. I'll eat dairy, eggs, rice, fruits, vegetables, etc... all things that are freely given by animals and plants.

I don't know if it does anything on a metaphysical level, but it makes me feel better about the impact I have on earth. And while I don't look down on anyone who chooses eat meat and other foods that result in taking of life, it makes me happy that I've distanced myself from that cycle of death.

posted on Jul, 16 2015 @ 06:39 PM
a reply to: Trachel

Everyone thinks I am weird because I will refuse to kill bugs sometimes and let them go instead.
Not all the time, sometimes reactions get the best of me and I kill something before I realized I did.
I always feel bad after.

This kind of thought process started very young (around age 7)when I encountered a porcupine and got to feel what it was feeling when it was terrified by us. We started to throw mud balls at it and I hit it in the face. It squealed and I swear I felt the fear and the confusion mixed with pain. I made my friend stop and we let it go back into the woods.
I never hurt another animal ever again.

Bugs didn't come till much later. After I squished a tiny spider that attacked me, and while mentioning it to someone they pointed out that they didn't think I was that way, that I should of let it live, and for some reason, I knew they were right.
It actually hit me rather hard. Amazing what a few words can do.

I still hold to a rule about insects though, if they are on me, and are trying to bite,sting,or are known to be dangerous,
they do meet a quick end. Same goes for "pest" bugs such as bed bugs, cockroaches, anything that is seriously problematic to my employment, dies on sight.
I don't feel guilt over those types of encounters.

The other evening there was small black ant in my bathtub and at first, my reaction was to kill it, but it ran and tried to hide,
so I moved the shower curtain and it ran into the middle of the tub, stopped and did just like your spider.

I felt it.

I scooped up the little fella and let him go outside.
My wife freaked out, being from Texas, and used to fire ants and the like, she didn't understand about black ants and pushed past me to kill the ant telling me that I was being silly.
I stalled her for a second by standing in the doorway telling her that it needed to live.
I gave that ant just enough time to disappear.
When she looked, it was gone.

It caused an argument between my wife and I.
I felt that strongly about it.

And I still do.
I ended up saying, it was a spiritual thing and left it at that.
Later on I explained myself a little better,
but I guess some people just don't understand.

posted on Jul, 16 2015 @ 08:11 PM
a reply to: Darkblade71

Your post is awesome. It made me smile.

Thanks for sharing.

My father, who's almost 70 now, still doesn't understand why I won't kill bugs when I'm over the house. What I always tell him is "somewhere in the universe there's something so powerful that to it, you're like a bug... so you should probably treat things weaker than you with respect."

There's another 0.02 in the jar

posted on Jul, 16 2015 @ 08:34 PM
a reply to: Trachel

I got over my phobia in a similar way. I was alone at home and found a spider on the wall. Normally, I wouldn't stay in a room containing a spider but I had to do something about it.

So I got a shoebox and a piece of card and flipped the spider into the box. It didn't try and scare me as I'd been expecting it to do. It cowered in the corner of the box. I felt so sorry for it and realised that it had far more to fear from me than I had to fear from it.

I've found that small creatures are quite easy to tune into, and if I see a spider in the bath I just tell it to stay still and I'll help. Sure enough, they stay on the spot and then walk into the container I put down for them. Then it's off to the garden.

Recently, I was blessed with a (lucky - I hope) pheasant dropping on my doorstep which had attracted some quite large flies. Every time I opened the back door one of the little beasts would be sure to fly inside and buzz around the house. Each time I told them to go to the back door and wait for me to put them out and, without fail, they did.

A few mornings ago, I was buzzed awake by a small fly that I'd been unable to persuade to go to the door the previous day. The little ones proved to be a bit harder to communicate with. They'd keep buzzing me to let me know they were there but then I had to catch them to put them out. So this particular little git decided to wake me up and sit on the duvet waiting for me to put him out - just after 6am. Then he'd get scared as I tried to put him in the container and he'd fly away, only to buzz me again a few minutes later. It took me over an hour but eventually I got him
What a relief to be able to settle down and go back to sleep afterwards.

posted on Jul, 16 2015 @ 08:41 PM
a reply to: berenike

Great stories, thanks!

Glad to see there's other people out there who feel the same way about caring for life. Sometimes with all the negativity around, it's good to hear nice things from inspirational people.

posted on Jul, 16 2015 @ 11:50 PM
a reply to: Trachel

I've been this way for as long as long as I can remember but with the exception of parasites. If it's me or them they are getting it. I remember when I was a teenager, I got into a fight with one of my best friends because he was purposely stomping on snails. I was so angry.

I eat meat but killing for food is nature's way. Killing for fun is out of the question in my books.

posted on Jul, 17 2015 @ 02:34 AM
I too, will usually do my best to release bugs from my house without killing them.

I actually like moths and find them kind of fun to catch and release, much to the chagrin of my wife who tells me to kill them.

Sometimes I will even leave a spider I find in my basement where its living in the hopes it will reduce the presence of other would be invaders.

Not sure when I decided I wasn't terrified of spiders and other bugs but it just sort of happened over time even though I used to have awful reoccurring nightmares about bugs where I'd be standing in some city square and there would be bugs all over the ground and clouds of them in the air.

Wasps and hornets I'm still pretty freaked out by, but they're usually pretty easy to usher out the door or window thankfully.

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