Talon

The plight of the spider

Humans harbor a natural craving for power

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After a long night of typing English blogs and attempting to decipher the differences between the preterite and the imperfect Spanish verb tenses, I decided to take a shower to relax and contemplate shower thoughts that plague us under the pressure of the warm water.

I stepped into my bathtub, ready to unwind with my delicious coconut shampoo and hair mask, when I realized I had an unwanted visitor.

I almost jumped out of my skin while the tiny, evil monster looking back at me. (And no, it was not the rubber duck with a cowboy hat that’s been sitting on shelf for a couple years now). Instead, I was greeted by the eight-legged spider who dared to ruin my attempt of relaxation. As I fell prey to the flight or fight response, whatever little skill I learned from “Kung-Fu Panda” came into play. I grabbed the nearest object and was ready to swing. I lifted my arm to ambush the intruder, when I looked a little closer at the little guy.

The spider was desperately trying to climb up the wall of my shower to find a way out. The water had destroyed its web and the spider was getting closer and closer to drowning.

A new feeling washed over me. It was something I felt in many other occasions, but not for creatures like spiders. I was genuinely struck with a strong sense of empathy for this harmless life form. Instead of using the object in my hand as a murder weapon, I used it as a bridge to help the spider escape safely outside to freedom.

We have the ability to kill 50 or even 100 spiders in one sitting, yet it would be such a cruel thing to do. A spider has no ability to fight back and there is no sense of equality in our sizes. If these statements are true, then why do we take advantage of our physical abilities?

Size and power are forces that drive us to make drastic and sometimes inhumane decisions. It’s contradictory in the sense that power grants us freedoms, yet it can take away another creature’s in less than a second.

With power comes control.

Throughout history and even today, people find comfort in having control over something. Leaders dominate groups of people, nations expand to accumulate more land and the tyrannical individuals with more access to knowledge and wealth have been crowned the most powerful of all.

Even on our own planet, we have harvested every resource accessible to us while simultaneously destroying the nature around it. We continuously kill other creatures in and around our own homes to sustain our species.

But here’s a little reality check: we are the ones killing ourselves.

We have an internal instinct to do whatever we can to survive, but over the years, as we make breakthroughs in science and technology, we quickly develop an intensified sense of greed to satisfy our hunger for power.

While understanding these sometimes malevolent intentions is twisted, it is true. But this is not an answerless enigma. There is a very clear solution: understanding the darker aspects of human nature. Power and control are the dim aspects of our psychology. This is why traits of empathy, appreciation and tolerance are lights in a foggy tunnel.

Practice empathy, appreciate what you have and not what you want, and express tolerance for every form of life on our planet. Because despite what we think, we only have one earth. Let’s make our planet the best it can be – and learn to share it with our less powerful neighbors.

So, the next time you see a spider, leave it. Don’t destroy its web — appreciate the intricate and beautiful design it produced. It isn’t a mistake that the spider’s web is the common metaphor used to explain how all of us, spiders and humans alike, are connected. All of us are individual strings in web of connections. Cut one web and the rest collapse.

We have the tools to build and to destroy, so remember: your power is a privilege. Use it wisely.

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About the Writer
Ellie Hand, Digital Media Manager

Ellie Hand is a sophomore at Oak Park High School. She is currently the 2018-19 Digital Media Manager.

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