Inherent Fears.

Ever notice how many people are either scared of or grossed out by “bugs” and other “creepy crawlers”?  I mean, REALLY notice?  It’s almost overwhelming if you sit back and think about it.

Just the fact that these tiny (when compared to us) and relatively harmless organisms are CALLED “creepy crawlers” raises a lot of questions to me.  Horror movies and Halloween stores say it all.  The insects, the rats, the spiders, the snakes, the bats… overflow out of every corner.  And, without question, this is just accepted as normal.  It is so common that it seems like no one ever even bothers to ask “why”?  I bet most of the people reading this aren’t even beginning to ask “why”; they are rather mentally insulting *me* for doing so because it should be “obvious”.

When an insect or spider is seen, it is almost expected that at least one person will become extremely distressed by it and possibly even plead that someone else kill it for them.  Arachnophobia (the fear of spiders) is the number one most common phobia in the world.  It’s a cliché joke that a woman will jump up on a chair in hysterics if there is a “mouse in the house”.  Snakes are associated with the devil and a lot of people seem to genuinely believe that the entire species is “evil”.  When a human being is believed to be a bad person, we call them a “worm”, a “snake”, a “rat”, and so on.

It’s as if people forget that these are living creatures that play a vital role to our ecosystem, just like any other.   Instead they become “vermin”.  Many of them will even be inaccurately described as “parasites”.  And it’s not merely when these creatures are uninvited guests in our homes – it’s also when one is seen outside, on the television, in photographs, or even just talked about.

The extreme prejudice and hate is so strong that if someone comes along who does not share this viewpoint and say has a pet snake or collects bugs… people now think that person is “creepy”.  Does liking or even merely not hating a “creepy crawler” indicate there is something wrong with you?  Why?

Why is it “gross” if instead of squashing a bug with a newspaper, someone scooped it into their hands, carried it outside and let it go free?  It’s a fact that rats (as well as EVERY other animal) can carry disease… but what makes people think that domesticated PET rats do?  And why is it that someone can have a snake draped across their shoulders, content as can be, and people still expect that snake to lunge at them if they get too close?   And assurances that it’s not venomous or it doesn’t bite do nothing to make people more at ease in the company of the creatures.

I’ve asked myself hundreds of questions like these and tried to wrap my brain around it… since it’s not rational to be terrified of a creature that you are THOUSANDS of times stronger than… all I can conclude is that it’s biological.

See… 99% of insects are considered harmless to humans.  But that leaves 1% that is dangerous.  And aside from trial and error, there is really no way to tell the harmless ones from the dangerous ones.  Same thing with snakes, only 13% of them are venomous, but no living thing on earth just inherently knows which are and which aren’t… you have to learn it.

I speculate that the fear and unease that most people feel in the company of these creatures is actually a defense mechanism that has been genetically bread into human beings.  In the animal kingdom they call that “instinct”.

Of course, that theory does nothing to alleviate my annoyance when people give me a disgusted look and tell me I am “gross” for being one of those people who doesn’t share that viewpoint.  Instinct or not, I still expect human beings to activate the rational part of their brain when engaged in a conversation about the subject.

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