Friday, September 13, 2019

Of Mice and Men

Size doesn’t matter when it comes to having a big heart, but can an ant or an amoeba have a soul? Even animal lovers who fawn and fret over their dogs and become heartbroken at the death of a  beloved cat, take a totally prejudiced attitude towards mice who, as as rodents, some of the lowliest and most despised creatures in the great chain of being, don’t have equal rights. It’s unlikely that you’re going to see anyone in tears over the death of a rat, which is a name given to a snitch. Yes, even a lover of all creatures big and small hates to see an infestation of ants and will easily squash the colonies that pour out of the cracks of the flagstone pathway leading from the house to the driveway. But if worms have no souls, why should humans? Could it be that once the last breath is taken, the great work that nature conspired to make culminating in vaunted consciousness is dead as a doornail and in fact no better than the lowly mouse whose untimely end is signaled by the snapping of a trap. Yes, the mouse was stupid enough to eat the cheese, just as an unthinking human texting on his or her iPhone inadvertently walks in front of a car and boom, it’s curtains! Nice to think the light flickering in the house of a deceased person is conveying a message, but it’s more likely that the socket in which the lamp is plugged requires a surge protector. Charlotte's Web is an example of anthropomorphized vermin and Gregor Samsa woke up to find himself turned into an insect, but do any them, or the humans they were modelled on or derived from, have souls?

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