The web of life

We are all interconnected.

We are all interconnected on the web of life.

For the last week I have been thinking about my relationship with nature.  What follows I have decided to break into a series of blogs over the coming days.

Amongst my many adventures with nature I have given a helping hand to many animals.

This week I came across a spider creating its web across a door of a house; the web was quarter complete, and I knew that this spider was onto a loser, because as soon as someone passed through that door the web would be shattered.  As an act of kindness I destroyed the web so that the spider would begin again in another suitable place, but waste only a quarter of its resources through my vandalism rather than all its resources on its web later.

Earlier in the year I interfered with the progress of a hedgehog, assisting police by removing it from its journey across a busy road to get to a grass-covered roundabout.  Had the hedgehog proceeded in its mission, it would have been crushed under the wheels of a vehicle.  The hedgehog was deposited in a place of safety.

Many times this year I have since they were small been feeding a family of three cygnets and their parents.  This act of kindness however had a selfish motive in that I wanted to grab their attention for the purpose of my photography.

Reflecting on these three examples, spider and hedgehog would have reacted with great hostility to my vandalism, their handling and my interference with their activities.  The swans appreciated my food, but if I got too close to them, especially their cygnets, they started hissing and getting aggressive.  My acts of kindness to be honest won no appreciation for my person or existence with these animals; I could almost say they were the most ungrateful of creatures.

Thus is my question(s):  Why am I being kind to these animals?  Why should I bother to accommodate my life with the rest of nature? Do I have a responsibility to nature? What do I gain out of this? What should be my strategy to nature? What should the relationship of mankind be to nature?

One part of the jigsaw slotted into place when I took a photograph of a spider web on Thursday, the insight that we are all interconnected on the web of life.  From this insight things started to come together, to which I will write further in my next blog.


25 responses to “The web of life

  1. Karma will be your reward. We are supposed to respect and care for nature. Too many people forget that with our silly busy human lives we are a part of nature.

  2. As a younger man, I would have stomped on spiders and bugs. Today, I try to approach all life with respect. Important post Alex. Thanks.

  3. I like you = ) Your appreciation of nature. Though I do fight a fear of spiders, only if they are on me.
    Still Afraid of that bite you know.. …
    I understand your ‘kharmic courtesy so to speak’,
    a banana spider (I Think they are called, non poisonous huge. Though like all bugs you could get a reaction)
    changed me toward spiders. For I too once during the hot season in samsula fl.
    stumbled upon its web. At first I was a little reserved, but I got closer, Its reaction was to bounce its web to warn me.
    So I watched reserved for a while don’t remember how long a couple weeks maybe when I’d remember to go look , it collected bugs, it ate, Saving some for later, quite simple,within all those cypress trees. it tended its web. It was gone after a “fast flash storm” -i called it.
    I recognised we aren’t that much unlike Nature how we collect, and continue to grow, and rebuild. Its a weird way to say it. at least for me Cause there’s so much in between it . Nature people, the earth.

    • Hi, thanks for your comment. I live in the UK and we have at this time of year an explosion of these non-aggressive spiders who tend to build their webs across everything so that more than likely in the day you walk into them. The spiders are chasing a large fly that is supposed to be abundant, but appears to be less in number, so many of the spiders will starve.

      When people begin to pay attention to nature they realise as you say that their life experience is little different than what is going on in nature. Let me say for instance that the three main goals of human beings is to live, to grow (learn), to create (write poetry… reproduce) which is no different to what is going on with all plants and animals. Nature can provide insights that can assist in art, science, business and philosophy. If you have a problem over anything it is likely nature can tell you the solution. All people need to benefit from the guidance nature can provide is observation, ability to give attention, and a reasoning ability (to question, problem solve).

  4. For me my interaction with nature has sifted because it was one of the easiest ways to just be randomly kind. The unexpected result was that I started looking for more ways to be randomly kind, until the randomness disappeared and became the norm.

  5. I think the reason we are benevolent to nature is because of morality. If you think it’s moral to help living things, you won’t need a reward to do it. You’ll do what you think is right. In fact you can think from an egoistic point of view (but still valid) that if you didn’t help them, you would feel some remorse, so the reward is not feeling that remorse.To sum it up, you don’t need direct reward for the being you help to still get positive results from your actions.

    Keep thinking!
    – NoCrossWords

    • I am sure as you say, morality plays a large part. It does not with me since I reject morality as a decision making process in favour of teleology, but that is another story.

      • If I may ask, of what consists a teleological decision making process? (If you have already written on that subject, please refer me to the text, don’t bother rewriting an explanation! Thanks!)

      • Teleology is an ancient Greek concept that considers that everything has an ultimate purpose or design. Teleology is difficult to apply to inorganic objects, but works well for organic life and anything created by human beings. An example is a knife, the purpose (telos) is to cut objects. A good knife is a sharp knife for it cuts better, a bad knife is a blunt knife. Good action is one that achieves a purpose or ultimate design.

        Every human action or choice is governed by a purpose; what makes the action good or bad is if it achieves that purpose or not. With morality action is based on rules, with teleology action is based on purpose or ultimate design.

  6. Many living things have no cognitive ability to understand our guidance or assistance. This should never preclude us, as human beings to continue to nurture and care for all that’s around us. From Ghandi – “The greatness of a nation and it’s moral progress can be judged by the way it’s animals are treated.”
    I’d say it’s highly rewarding to be able to live up to Ghandi’s words, though I agree that doing these acts of kindness should be instinctive and automatic, rather than a moral decision one makes. We have strayed from our duties and natural inclinations to protect and preserve life.
    That being said, until we think of others automatically, we’re doomed. Self is just too darn BIG.

    • Great quote from Ghandi, which I shall remember. Yes, the act of kindness should be instinctive, though all action in my opinion should be questioned and followed with awareness of why it is done.

  7. The spider is waiting to spring it’s trap. Nice cobweb.

  8. Nice post. All we have to do is remember we are all on a tiny dirt ball flying through space. As humans, we would miss the spiders if they were no longer there, since they catch insects. However, if we died off, the spiders wouldn’t miss us a bit!
    The picture you have there is an Orb Weaver spider, it makes those nice round webs. They eat their web once a day, have a rest for about an hour, and then weave a new web. This is why their webs are usually so clean looking.

  9. Hi! Bro, We are ONE Family! Cheers!

  10. Exactly.

    Yes; it’s not so much a realization that we are part of nature, but that we ARE nature. That all of us, every single living organism (actually, there is no distinction between living and nonliving organism, all organisms are alive in a way) IS nature; for, together we comprise what we know as Nature. As the cells in our human bodies are an amalgamation of an aspect of our human being-ness, so are we all as living organisms an amalgamation of Nature’s body. We are the Inception of Nature and nature is a dimension of the universe and so on, unto infinity.

    Tell me, where is the beginning and the end of matter? Do I end at my fingertip? I don’t think so, because at a certain level of magnification the atoms of my fingertip and the atoms of the space beyond my fingertip are not so different. Where do I end and space begins? The idea of ending and beginning are illusions, there are no real boundaries. We continue…


    Beautiful post.

  11. Most of what we do makes no sense. I recall a sci fi story – think it wsa Arthur C Clarke when extraterrestrials came to potentially wipe us out. They judged us in terms of how we treated other animals. Just a thought.

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