November 16, 2016

Ever Think About That?

"What if the spider you just killed in your home had spent its entire life thinking that you were its room-mate? 
Ever think about that? 
No, you only think about yourself."

I read this recently, and laughed. Then I thought, and thought some more. It makes sense. I might think differently if I lived in Australia, but I hope not.

Since reading this I have seen it it in other places, unattributed to any author. To me it has the life-positive, anti-violent vibe of Buddhism, or Jainism. It has caused me to be even more aware of the preciousness of life, and how everything just wants to live.

This level of sensitivity to the needs of others can be applied to all situations.

How about,

"What if that computer you are typing on was made by child labour, or is toxic to workers, or destroys the habitat of wild creatures? 
Ever think about that? 
No, you only think about yourself."


"What if that flight you are taking increases your carbon footprint dramatically and adds to potentially catastrophic climate change? 
Ever think about that? 
No, you only think about yourself." 

What if our habits and desires are killing not only spiders, but the very Earth itself? Ever think about that?

"Rest easy spider

My broom

Does not sweep that far."

- Issa Kobayashi


  1. Good thoughts Gregg. As an Aussie, I can't think of our deadly spiders and snakes as my room mates, they are quite terrifying! A friend nearly lost her life to a red back spider, and every Summer you hear of people's dogs being killed by brown snakes. They like to go for humans too of course, it's just that we don't chase them like our four-legged friends!

    I'm fully in sympathy with the spirit of your post, I just mention these facts in case you or your readers visit my beautiful country. Shoes are essential in the garden in hot weather, as are gloves if you are gardening. I personally won't camp or bush walk in Summer, but some folk are braver than me!

    Computers are a tricky issue. It's almost impossible to function without one these days, and I wonder if by the time I replace my old one there will be a more ethical option?

    Some good news to finish - I replaced my ancient, electricity-guzzling fridge recently and was old that by law new fridges have to be 100% recyclable in Australia. This is a big step forward, though I can see a day post-work and kids when I may be able to live without a fridge altogether.


    1. Madeleine,

      I have seen some crazy Australian spiders (and other wildlife). Hard room-mates to have. First I would give them a verbal warning that if they don't vacate I will take evasive action. Then, I would try to gently show them the door, but ultimately, you have to do what you have to do if your health is threatened. Shiver...

      As far as computers are concerned, make them last as long as possible goes a long way. No upgrades every year or two, which is wasteful and unnecessary for most of us. Congratulations on the new, more efficient fridge. I would love to build a root cellar in our yard. Free cold storage for garden yummies.

  2. I do think about that! I do think about those questions frequently about most everything I buy and use. The answers produce a lot of guilt even though the food or item is a need. It's hard to live with. It's very difficult to manage.

    I'm not around many people, but the handful I am around rarely if ever think about any of those questions. If I am not careful, meaning go numb and don't think about it, I can get angry at them for not being more mindful about their extravagance and phenomenal waste. My work i.e. income depends on being agreeable. Sadly, I have to conform to it or I don't have income, equals no food or shelter.

    Knowledge is a good thing. Yet it produces emotions that are hard for me to deal with. Does anyone else have this experience? How do you handle the guilt?

    On spiders, I like them respectfully and at a little distance. It's enjoyable to watch them maneuver in the webs and crawl around. They can get from one place to another quickly which can be a bit scary. Having a few spiders in your house is thought to be a good thing as they eat other pests and it means your house isn't loaded up with pesticides. I live in the south USA and routine exterminators are common here for better or worse. I don't let them spray pesticides in my apartment.

    We only have a couple of poisonous spiders here. I've seen a lot of them but keep a safe distance. I've killed a few, but mostly I practice
    Live and Let Live. I enjoy snake watching too. But keep a safe distance from them also.

    Funny, only an hour ago, there was a tiny spider in my house. I Encouraged it to crawl onto a piece of cardboard and took it outside, alive and well. Long may you live!

    When I was in Australia, I went hiking in a national park. Tried after the hike, I sat down and leaned up against a tree. A local walked by and said the deadliest spider in the world lives on that tree. The news nearly paralyzed me, but I managed to get myself upright in short order. Dang that scared me! In fact just knowing how many deadly creatures there are in Australia had me on alert the whole time I was there. At another place, Fraser Island, I went on a solo hike. I heard something rustling. Then out of the brush walked a giant lizard. It was about 4 or 5 feet long. I swear I thought I had gone back in time to the dianasour age. I had never seen or heard of monitor lizards! I've seen plenty of alligators and there are some similarities. Still something about the lizard made me jump! I love hearing about living there, Madeleine! Thanks for sharing about how you live with the wild-deadly-life there!

    1. Terri,

      I have always wanted to visit Australia, but it really is so far away. Big flight. I did meet many Australians while Linda and I traveled the world. We met a lot of really great people, which made me want to visit their country even more. It sounds like you had some major adventures while you were there. Glad you made it out alive.

      It is hard living these days if one is trying to do the least amount of harm. They have us dependent on a system that does a great deal of harm, with few alternatives. We are shopping dependent, car dependent, washer and dryer dependent, fast food dependent and on and on.

      My big guilt trip is driving. For a long time it has not felt right to slog across the landscape spewing noxious gases in my wake. But we do drive, mostly to get food and go to appointments. Driving for pleasure or for "something to do" is not something we do much any more, even though we love adventures and travelling to see and experience new things. I ride my bike a lot, but that is not an option for Linda.

      We just have to do what we can and not be paralyzed by guilt. It can be a good motivator, however, if managed in a healthy manner.

      The spiders of the world thank your efforts. In such a violent world where the sacredness of life has been so degraded, all acts of compassion are important, no matter how seemingly small and insignificant. How we treat the spiders is how we will treat each other.

  3. When my children were young and we would find a spider in the house --- and if their first reaction was to kill it --- I would say to them, "Hey, that spider probably has a wife and children waiting for him!" (As I write this I wonder why I masculinized the spider and gave him a "wife" who was "waiting for him" (sigh).) I confess that the lack of "really scary" insects/snakes/scorpions is one of the many reasons I'm grateful to live in Canada; the thought that climate change may make our winters milder and cause a migration northward of less benign creepy crawlies ... that makes me shiver.

    From Terri's comment: "Knowledge is a good thing. Yet it produces emotions that are hard for me to deal with. Does anyone else have this experience? How do you handle the guilt?" Yes. Me too. It is a huge struggle for me to watch the actions of those around me --- I feel both anger and despondency, neither of which are healthy emotions. I keep trying to do my best, to minimize my own consumerism, to buy only those things I truly need, to live as green as possible, to set a good example. But I admit it's hard to keep going at times; I find it extremely disheartening that the environmental movement, which has been going on for decades now, has not caused a monumental groundswell of change in behaviour.

    1. Marian,

      Aww, I do like that. Of course, right? Spiders have lives, too. And quite amazing ones, too, I imagine.

      We are lucky in Canada as far as shiver-inducing things are concerned. But you are so right about climate change - things are changing right now, and we may get a whole new host of critters.

      It has been a long time that environmentalism has been warning of ecological collapse if we continue on our path of waste and excess, but eventually the groundswell will happen. It will happen because we will have no other choice. For many it will be too late.

      In the meantime we look to the beautiful things, and thankfully there are still lots of those to be seen if we use the right eyes.

  4. Lots of thinking to do when applying this to all areas of my life. Thanks for that. :D

    1. Adge,

      Even though kindergarten teaches us to share and be kind, that is usually where such teachings stay. Outside of kindergarten, we are encouraged to be selfish and not care about the repercussions of our decisions. Thinking too much is what they do not want us to do, because then you realize how wrong everything has become.


Discussion and debate is welcome on NBA. I believe that this can be done via courteous, concise comments relevant to the topic of the post, whether or not they agree with the views expressed.

Comments containing profanity, abusive language, or baiting will be deleted.

Comments with a user name attached above, or in a sign off in the text, are appreciated. It lets us meet on common ground, and get to know each other better.

I answer comments depending on what is happening in my life, and how much gardening, cooking, hiking, and music making needs to be done. I am also a full time caregiver to the beautiful Linda, partner in our joyous, simple life.

Click the "notify me" box to be updated on the thread by email.

Note: Comments are moderated to eliminate links to commercial interests. We are proudly a no selling, no buying website. Spammers take note. Please.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...