Menu

ZEN AND THE ART OF KILLING INSECTS WITH IMPUNITY

ZEN AND THE ART OF KILLING INSECTS WITH IMPUNITY

by Pontificus Maximus, August 21, 2018

I woke up, groggily walked to the kitchen, turned on the lights, and… EEEEEWW! Thousands of ants had invaded the tiniest morsel of whatever I cooked the night before that fell on the floor and where having a feast! YUCK!… I instinctively grabbed whatever chemical spray I could find (Fabreeze air freshner) and doused them and whatever friends and family where roaming the vicinity drawn to the scent. I never lived anywhere where ants roam around all over your place scavenging for something to eat. Theres been so many of them, its as if there is an ant apocalypse going on and they are fighting for whatever resources they can find. Its not like I leave food out either. They literally horde over just the scent of a drop of pasta sauce, or the crumb of  a cracker.

Hence, I’ve been murdering ants like a demon overlord annihilating an entire species to extinction, and I haven’t always felt so good about it. The first time was simply instinctual. They are annoying,  they had to go. Done! After those first few careless times though… It began to give me pause. I felt compassion for the ants and the unnecessary suffering I was causing them. I would spray them with bleach, recklessly scrub them up with a paper towel, stomp on them, flick them really hard across the room, and all sorts of torturous methods to get rid of them. Among the decapitated heads, severed limbs, mangled bodies… there would be some who ran away, towards shelter in cracks, up my hands, arms and the paper towel I used to scoop them. Some would struggle to their death trying to swim out of the bleach, as those I didn’t douse enough scrambled away wet and bleachy in what seemed like terror!

I briefly considered ways to get rid of them without slaughtering them, but frankly… there was just too many, everywhere, all the time! That just seemed way too unlikely and inconvenient. I felt bad, but… Oh well! That settled it. Exterminating them was fine, so long as I was compassionate about it and eliminated, or at least minimized their suffering. So instead of just scrubbing them up with a paper towel mercilessly, I now wet the paper towel so as to better smash them to death quickly. Though not many survived the initial wet paper towel onslaught, those that might not die right away would quickly suffocate in the wet paper towel instead of half their crushed bodies dangling, crawling, and clinging to their slooowly withering lifes agonizing final moment.

Before my reconciling these uncomfortable feelings about killing ants, just because their annoying and trying to get rid of them alive is inconvenient… I would sometimes let an ant and maybe some of its friends go. Sometimes there would just be a few roaming around the bathroom, the kitchen counter, or walking down the hallway. It seemed there was no particularly good justifiable reason to kill them. It seemed unfair… like it would just be for sport. What could a single or just a few ants do anyhow? I had already destroyed thousands of them! Aaaahh… but things turned out not to be so simple. Apparently ants will send out scouts to go in search of food. So that little ant looking like its just innocently going for a stroll, could signal the horde to swarm my home!

Even then, the thought occurred to me… what if?… like Buddhism, Hinduism, etc… the ants were my reincarnated ancestors? I figured that… even if it is true, as such folklore generally suggests… that the human incarnation is the only incarnation that can become “enlightened” and escape the “wheel of life”… then I might in fact be assisting them in paying their karmic dues in this life and giving them an opportunity to reincarnate as a human, or at least an incarnation further along on their path to the next and hopefully more rewarding life.

Thats when I came full circle and completed the transition from a thoughtful, compassionate, empathetic sort of person who didnt want to kill ants and felt terrible doing it, but did it anyway (…and quite sloppily). To a thoughtful, compassionate, empathetic sort of person who doesnt want to kill ants, but has come to terms with the fact that this many ants is unbearably annoying, such is life, and im glad im not an ant!

I am a God!… who sacrifices his moral desire not to kill ants so that I may free them from their antness as painlessly, quickly, and conveniently as possible, so that they too may have a karmic chance at a better next life.