Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Bug Partiality

I wake up today to a bug crawling on my ceiling. I immediately leap out of bed, grab a shoe, jump back on my bed and proceed to check out the offender. From far away, it looks like your typical bug but as I get closer I see the familiar red body and black spots. Awww, it's a cute little ladybug. I climb down from my bed, return the shoe to its place and let the bug live.

Why? Why do we have this judgment that ladybugs are cute and harmless while other bugs are ugly and creepy and therefore must die? Are we conditioned to think this way? It seems kind of silly and arbitrary really. And yet it was an automatic reaction for me: ugly bug must die, cute bug gets to live. How many other arbitrary reactions do we carry around each day?

tall penguin

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

From ExJehovahsWitness:

I am so with you on this. It's something I've thought about on a number of occaisions.

Recently, I had an interesting experience after seeing a picture of a squirrel skull in some biology book I was reading.

http://www.skullsite.co.uk/Fsquirrel/fsquirrel_lat.jpg

It was almost indistinguishable from a rat skull:

http://www.skullsite.co.uk/Rat/comrat.jpg

[by the way: skullsite.co.uk? who builds a page like that?]

So suddenly I viewed squirrels as the rodents that they are and for some reason it fundamentally changed the way I feel about them. They're just tree rats to me now.

If nothing else, our sensitivity to beauty makes me love homo sapiens just a little bit more, even if it isn't always the most practical option.