Dung beetles and compassion

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guano mountain

I was watching the “Caves” episode of “Planet Earth.” It showed a mountain of bat guano 300-ft high, with thousands of shiny beetles roiling across its surface.

I felt something nasty in my stomach. When I examined the thought that went with the feeling, it was along the lines of: “These are terrible creatures.”

I asked myself, “Is this feeling of constriction… familiar?”

It was. Disgust. Contempt.

“Contempt? Am I somehow making a moral judgement… against insects?”

Though the idea was absurd… I stayed on the lookout for that feeling. I noticed a similar sensation when watching the news.

I get the same feeling about CEOs sometimes.

Was it less absurd to think of them as “terrible creatures”?

I don’t like the feeling I get when I see people ignore harm to feed on profit.

I also don’t like the idea of feeding on feces.

But I don’t need to see living beings as “terrible creatures.”

If I’m aware that I don’t like how they gather resources, and I’m honest with myself that I’d never do things the same way, I’m less tempted to deny the value of their existence.

I can see the greediest corporate “monster,” as also a human being doing the best they can for the people they care about.

Regardless of the feeling in my gut.

 

 
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