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Rated: 18+ · Prose · Philosophy · #2268492
Some thoughts I had on life and evolution.
A big black spider encased in her thick cotton web. A struggling cricket succumbing to his inevitable fate. Doing everything he can to avoid the unavoidable, he wriggles and writhes to no avail. As the insect tires and becomes progressively more entangled, the spider licks her pedipalps in anticipation of a delicious dinner. Sinking her fangs deep through the hard exterior of her latest victim... this story of suffering is far from over.

Paralysing venom incapacitates every movement of the terrified cricket. Still alive and breathing, his internal organs turn to liquid as he is slowly digested. Over the course of the next few days she will slurp up her morbid smoothie of moribund decay. There will be nothing left but the empty husk of his dry exoskeleton. Unfortunately for the spider though, she just became the host to a parasitic mermithid worm.

She will get thicker and fatter as time goes on, whilst her new companion grows daily inside her juicy abdomen. It will destroy everything in her body unnecessary for survival... even her reproductive system. Debilitated, castrated and dying in the most horrible way imaginable, the spider is nearing her end. Whatever does remain of her mental faculties will be directed by the parasite towards the nearest body of water.

Motivated by an unquenchable thirst induced by the guest's activity (and perhaps a slight suicidal impulse) she will wander into a lake to meet her impending doom. As the spider drowns, the worm (now inches long) will rip through and exit her body then start swimming instinctively. At home in its new habitat, it will go on to seek a mate to lay eggs with in order to breed the next generation of spider killers. Thus the cycle of life and death has come full circle.

And what was the purpose of all that pain and suffering? There is myriad different philosophical theorems one could come up with to explain and justify it from an anthropomorphic perspective. But the only one that has any scientific validity is the amoral process of evolution and natural selection. Nature (at least at the insect level) has no sentimental feelings to speak of. Whatever survives to reproduce is correct. Might makes right in the lower kingdoms of consciousness.

Such creatures as these are ultimately what made Darwin question his religious sensibilities. And the same can be said for most evolutionary biologists enlightened by the brutality of the natural world. It's easy to justify God's existence from the safety of a pulpit with mere logical gymnastics. But to actually see and understand the violence that permeates every level of the great chain of being... it makes it very difficult to believe that love is what rules this universe.

Perhaps I am only seeing half the picture. Maybe there is some reason behind these monstrous acts of cruelty. Maybe animals don't matter and exist simply to serve the interests of Man, that oh-so noble steward of creation. Or alternatively there is some sort of unknown karmic force at play and the spider was Hitler or Stalin in a past life. Maybe it's all nonsense and there is no grand meaning to life's agony. I don't know for sure, but I certainly lean one way and not the other.
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