Gaia is the word for "unity-of-life-processes". The experiment here is to unify the various threads of voice and sense of self together into an undivided unity. Spirituality, economics, politics, science and ordinary life interleaved.

Monday, October 25, 2004

On Bloodshed and Violence

I was just finishing a particular meditation, and I was returning to consciousness with the usual whole-brain arousal commonplace when you do regular deep meditation. As I rolled off the meditation mat and crawled over to pick up my slippers I saw the house spider, a thumbnail sized black female, flee from her hiding place beneath the second slipper.

WHAM! I went from meditation to animal in one breath… I fell back whimpering, then cagily went back through all the shoes which I keep beneath my altar to find the spider, slipper in hand.

The whole mind state potentiated by meditation focused on the most primitive brain functions within seconds… I literally went ape, and simultaneously the forebrain ran the programs for “human” - prioritizing my near-cooked breakfast to the mental back shelf, hesitating, rationalizing, considering, then… the human function gave way to the broader primate functions. Find and destroy.

I threw the shoes aside but I forgot that spiders can perceive regular patterns (duh, they build perfect webs!), and she had realized her life was in grave peril and fled to beneath the altar. I backed off to consider for a few seconds, then stripped the altar and flung the cloth aside and found her underneath. She had been smart hiding there and there was no other hiding spot near.

I hit her hard three times; she died after the first blow but I hit because she had shocked me into a certain primate vindictiveness. Then I crawled onto my seat and whimpered with surprise for a few seconds, caught temporarily without words and in a different mental environment.

I turned off the bubbling pot and then, driven by inexorable instinct, returned to the shoes. The 'safe' ones I merely tossed against the brick wall, but the 'dangerous' ones I nudged carefully with the hard plastic flipflops, looking for something more on a sure instinct.

It had given me sorrow to see the female I'd just killed move from her customary spot, because it meant that either she had died or become pregnant. That spot had had good picking of flies and moths, so she'd had no other reason to shift. So over several days I had been concerned mainly that I would find her corpse in my sheets or meditation matting.

But I was wrong. Suddenly, her man appeared, about the size of a little finger nail. She had vanished in order to make babies.

Now you must understand that spiders are not stupid creatures. They have sensors in their legs that alert them to the vibrations of all creatures great and small, and they have delicate chemical sensors that alert them to the biochemistry of predators and prey.

So I must've stank of bloody murder to this poor male, having just killed his mate, and he had been trying to escape up the wall when I found him. I missed him and he fell into the corner out of reach of the flipflop, so I got a plastic handle and nudged him til in terror he fled beneath my dumbell weights.

I waited.

He emerged on the other side and I dispatched him in a quick thump.

If only they hadn't reproduced, they would've been alive now, I reflected, aware that this might apply as much to my own species as to the spiders.

I put a plastic bag over my hand and collected the two bodies and threw them in the bin. Normally I would have put them in the compost but I was angry they had put themselves in a position to be killed. What was I to do? The female would have been pregnant for three days at least, since her disappearence. Even throwing them outside alive would have brought their children in later on.

As to the other house spider, whom I have called Henry, he is clearly a male (and a rather stout one at that), and inhabits the spot above my office desk. He is stoic about changes, remaining in the one spot and travelling no more than a foot for the plentiful prey that comes in for the cool office air when I leave the back door open.

It is not violence and murder that are acquired traits in humans. Peace and forebearance are the acquired, learned and practiced, traits, and the varying taste for these virtues among our species bears witness to the seduction of bloodshed over the human soul.

On a related note, the public prosecutor rang me just now to tell me I am to testify against the brutal violence I was sole witness to last year, and face the men responsible.

I scampered up my wall immediately telling her that the detective in charge of the case had threatened to make life difficult for me if I did not testify, with no provocation from me to do so. But she simply brought the shoe up and asked when would be a good time to visit the site and walk through the events of that terrible night.

I am scared. I don't want to face them again. But I am honestly angry still that they could hurt others for their pleasure.

Deeper than mere emotions, however, is my soul. And my soul clearly tells me that by testifying I can perhaps begin to let go of the nightmare that was last year.

So I will testify. And I will move on.


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