A true story.
A girl sits in ART 157, hunched over her slide notes. The projector buzzes and clicks Mondrian, Picasso, Calder endlessly. A small black beetle, perhaps Pterostichus melanarius, the common black beetle, crawls up the back of her white linen shirt. The girl cannot feel the insect through her shirt. In fact, if it wasn't for the student behind her, she would have never known the beetle existed.
The student behind her, another female, goes to brush the beetle from her classmate's shirt. The first girl whips around at the second's touch.
"What's wrong?" the first girl asks.
"Nothing, just a bug," says the second girl.
"Ew." The first girl searches the rust colored carpet for seconds, stomps the carpet, and turns back around to her notes.
"I was going to take it outside," says the second girl.
"Why?" says the first girl, indignant.
"You didn't have to kill it."
Why is it such an automatic reaction to kill things of "lower intelligence?" An insect has to do nothing else but exist to warrant human retaliation, it seems.
But the bug is alive, just as any human is. Just because it is not graced with the gift of intellect does not mean its life is purposeless. It is alive, and deserves to be alive because it is alive. Circular logic, right? Maybe.
Pterostichus and other members of Coleoptera, the beetles, almost always serve a vital purpose in the environment. They even keep agricultural pests like aphids at bay.
I suppose it's just sad that there is no hesitation, no consideration - not of the animal's "feelings" necessarily, but of the actual necessity of the act. Why is it necessary? Does it improve your life? Or is it more about dominance and the right to act, to make choices?
Every day we seem further and further away from nature, much of which E.O. Wilson considered to be our friends.