I speak a thousand tongues and understand the rest. Fluent in their languages, I communicate with spiders and birds and walruses. I hear grass grow before it breaks the surface of the soil, though the sound competes with the noise of grub worms chewing their way through acres of tangled roots, working their way toward freedom. If I listen carefully, I can barely make out the sound of salmons’ synapses firing when they dream about their struggles to reach the sea; the sound waves created by those thought processes are radically different from those of chickens contemplating what to do with those damn eggs.
All right, I’ll admit to fabrication; thinking fanciful thoughts does not make them real.
We cannot truly understood the depth of our ignorance. By trying, though, we make a start.
We should be startled and stunned and embarrassed by how little we know of our own physical world. But, instead, we hide from and celebrate our ignorance, pretending it shows us to be the masters of all we survey.
Do spiders think? Do their thought processes mirror ours? Or do they experience the world in a different way than we do? Some people actually believe they can answer those questions. Oh, the arrogance!
If you have to know, it’s the spiders who control the planet. It’s the spiders. They are everywhere, even in the corners of your eyes while you sleep, sipping the moisture from the slick surface and bounding away to feed ocular nectar to their young. If you could converse with spiders, you might understand their attraction to ocular fluid.
If you could experience the world as a spider, you’d probably realize the absurdity of racism and religious objections to same-sex marriage, though you might discover spiders don’t give those matters even a fleeting thought.
I wonder, if you could experience the world as a spider, would you be awestruck by your ability to walk upside-down on ceilings or scale walls while standing upright? Does the term “upright” have the same meaning to spiders that it does to humans? I mean, if we spoke the same language, of course.
Experiencing the world as a spider, how would you justify eating your own young? Would a female human be able to come to grips with matriphagy, experiencing life as a spider?
It’s absurd, of course, to ascribe characteristics of human thought to spiders, just as it’s ludicrous to ascribe the attributes of spiders to people. But you know you want to. You really want to.