Such a negative word. Parasite. You think of vermin and viruses. You think of slimy, gross things eating away.
This is such a human-centered way of thinking. If it doesn’t benefit us, it is bad. I’ve written along with others that our need to define things as good or bad is part of our undoing. We have this need to control in our need to define.
What is against us has to be bad. Of course.
But mosquitoes are what birds eat. Their song, their strength in flight, is fed by these insects that cause us torment.
Who knows about tapeworms and viruses? Who knows what purpose they play? Do we have to know?
When we take antibiotics, anti-life by definition, we are killing these very viruses. They are growing and thriving in an environment that is hospitable for them. Perhaps kinder would be to just prevent the environment in the first place.
Is it the fault of moss that it grows in a wet place? No. So if you don’t want moss, fix what is causing the moisture.
What about cancer? Cancer is mindless, but it grows and divides. Is it alive?
Part of the mission of Star Trek was to seek out new life.
They flew around the universe encountering countless beings that looked like people and countless more entities that looked nothing like life. Week after week we learned along with them to see value in these beings, these entities. We learned to see them as having a purpose, as having sentience.
The most important thing we can learn is that just because their purpose and sentience isn’t the same as ours doesn’t make it wrong.
We’ve heard that just because someone else is on a different path doesn’t mean they are lost.
So, does this mean that we allow the tapeworm to move in? Does this mean we show compassion to cancer and we don’t cut it out?
These are hard questions, and I’m not sure I have the answers.
I think there is something in there about boundaries.
I’ve heard one definition of jealousy is thinking that someone has something that is yours.
Surely your body is yours.
But if it is, consider this. A rabbi once said that “Is that your nose? Where is your receipt?”
We don’t create ourselves. We have some influence on our bodies by what we eat and if we exercise. We can somewhat shape ourselves. But for the most part our bodies are gifts to us. Unmerited.
Our bodies are temples. Our bodies house our souls. Even our souls are gifts. Consciousness is a gift of the Creator.
Who are we to refuse entrance to other members of creation?
Now, if we keep our bodies in bad shape we will invite more things than we might know how to deal with.
It is like having a small house and hosting a huge party. We might have a lot more party-goers than we know what to do with. We might run out of party food and they will start eating our staples. We might have to call the police.
But what happens when the party goers are cancer? Is the doctor the police? Doubtful, considering the nature of Western medicine. It treats the symptom rather than the cause. But that is the focus of another post, another day.
I don’t have the answers. I’m OK with asking the questions and living into the answers. Sometimes just asking the questions is a good start.
The biggest thing I want to get across is that just because something isn’t for us, isn’t part of our plan, doesn’t seem to have a purpose that benefits us – doesn’t mean it is bad. It just is. It is part of creation. Perhaps we don’t have eyes to see the purpose. Perhaps it doesn’t have a purpose, and perhaps we need to be OK with that.
We tend to want answers, and closure. Perhaps it is healthier just to observe without judgment.