Empathy for a Bug
THIS IS a story about a bug, empathy and aliens. I hesitate writing because it’s a bit maudlin, but since I’m unable to hear your cheeky giggles, I’ll continue.
Yesterday as I stood over the toilet, I observes a tiny, fragile moth-looking creature floating on its back, wings under water, legs flailing furiously. To save the very precious resource that is water, the toilet in this household is flushed only when common sense prevails. The now-yellow moth was wishing such a judgment earlier occurred.
Most people would do their business and flush the toilet dispatching the bug to bug heaven without any hesitation. I have done so in the past. Yet yesterday, I paused and watched this life form struggle. And as I watched, I was reminded of my own struggles, and I began to admire the persistence and endurance of this lowly moth. It wouldn’t give up. I decided not to give up on it.
I took a sheet of toilet paper and placed beside the creature and it was absorbed onto the sheet. I then hung the sheet out the window thinking that it would dry and if the moth was still be alive, it would fly off to resume its short life (perhaps more purpose-driven then my own).
This morning, as I prepared to do my morning constitutional, I remembered the moth and looked at the toilet paper. It was dry, but the moth was still on it; in fact, the bug was a bit impregnated into the paper.
I gently shook the paper a bit and, alas, the moth erratically flew up in small zig zags, headed away from me, and then abruptly turned around and alighted upon my bath robe, clinging there, face up toward mine, seemingly heaving, and in my early morning grog, seemingly, too, to be offering thanks.
If I had not my own struggles in this life, that moth would most likely be with the fishes. Instead, I empathized with its struggle, even though somewhere during the rescue operation I realized that this was the type of creature I consistently squashed in the kitchen because it has an amazing ability to wedge it’s wee little self into any container and then lays its eggs. Open up the pancake mix a week later, and scoop out squirming larvae, soon to be moths.
Should have flushed it, right?
The moth slowly scuttled from the front of my robe’s lapel around its edge to behind it, where I guess it felt more secured, hidden in the dark crevice. I carefully disrobed the robe and hung it up. While in the kitchen preparing breakfast, I thought of the famous genius physicists, Stephen Hawking.
Professor Hawking was recently in the news over his comments about our thirst for finding extraterrestrials. He said that humans should fear aliens. To summarize, his point was that (and I’ll use my interpretation as formed by the subject of this post) aliens might be so superior to humans that they may just deem us to be bugs.
Now, if relative to an advance race of aliens, we humans are to them as we are to bugs, there’s a potential problem for we humans. Given that they could crush us and dispatch us to human heaven, why do I say “potential”?
Because it depends on the alien consciousness. It depends on their level of empathy. Are we struggling bug-like humans that need to be lifted out of the muck and mire of our existence, to be dried out and given safe haven till we can again strike out on our own? Or will they dump on us and then flush us away.
As above, so below. On this planet we’re the dominate species and our behavior underscores that fact in spades. Woe is you if we like the taste of your flesh. Within the galaxy, we may not be the dominate species; instead, we might take our place in a continuum of species, perhaps fairly far down the line on dominance scale.
May the aliens not like the taste of us!