Thursday, September 4, 2014

Is FEAR of the Natural World our Future!?
Indoctrination, Education & FEAR

Video: Soldiers VS Camel Spider

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.
Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”
~ Marie Curie, As quoted in Our Precarious Habitat (1973) by Melvin A. Benarde, p. v.

Image: Nothing in Life is to be feared…

Just what are these two soldiers afraid of? Behold, ladies and gentlemen, the camel spider:

Image: “The camel spider is a very fast member of the arachnid family, able to reach up to 10 miles (16 km) per hour. It is also not at all deadly to humans although its bite is very painful. Despite this, they are hugely vicious predators when it comes to prey they can handle which includes insects, lizards, small birds and sometimes rodents. They thrive in desert locations and have large powerful jaws which are sometimes up to 1/3 of their body length. They use this great weapon to seize their prey and smash them up with a chopping motion. They are not venomous but use their digestive fluids to dissolve their victims’ flesh which makes it much easier to get what remains into their stomachs. Their main prey are termites and beetles. … Camel spiders only bite in self-defense if they’re disturbed or alarmed. If you happen to be bitten by one you should definitely consult a doctor but as they are not venomous so you need not worry about dying!” 

Now don’t get us wrong, we recognize that arachnophobia and other animal phobias are real psychological phenomena in that many people have “irrational fears,” particularly of creepy crawly things. And seeing images of camel spider bites on the internet likely only disturbs people even more:

Image Collage by Effects of Camel Spider Bites

Clearly, what makes these particular bites appear so nasty is that they were allowed to become infected. They almost certainly hurt a lot, but being that camel spiders are non-venomous, it’s much ado about very little (not the spider, they can grow fairly large as described above).

But irrational fears are irrational fears, fed usually by folklore and myth, of which allow us to debunk a few right now:

Image: Myth vs. Truth 

  1. Camel spiders run after humans: Desert dwellers, Camel spiders don’t run after humans per se; they just want some shade. If you run, your shadow runs with you and the camel spider will chase your shadow to stay in the shade. If you stand still, the camel spider will, too. At night, they are attracted to light and will run towards it.
  2. Camel spiders scream: Apart from a few species of Solifugae which may hiss, most camel spiders are silent.
  3. If under a camel, they leap into the air and disembowel it, eating its stomach: This old myth is probably where the name “camel spider” comes from. Camel spiders may stand under camels for the shade, but they have no taste for camel meat (or human flesh for that matter).
  4. Camel spiders eat or chew on people while they sleep. Their venom numbs the area so people can’t feel the bites: Camel spiders are not venomous, and though their bites are painful, they are not deadly to humans. They also only attack in defense. It is conceivable a camel spider might bite you if you threatened it while sleepwalking or tossing and turning, but they would just as likely just run away.
  5. Camel spiders can run up to 30mph and jump up to a height of three feet: The fastest camel spider clocks in about 10 miles per hour. They don’t do any significant jumping.
Source: LiveScience Camel Spiders: Facts & Myths

Media and Pop-Culture Bake Such Myths into the Psyche

Let’s not forget how much Hollywood likes to take such “scary” folklore and myth and completely blow it out of proportion for the sake of “entertainment”—cheap thrills, chills and gags—for profit.

Image Collage by GenesisEcoFund: Hollywood’s Love-Hate Relationship with Spiders (movie posters) Image Sources:

From “Horrors of Spider Island” and William Shatner’s not-so-famous “Kingdom of the Spiders” to “Arachnophobia” and “Spiders 3D” (movie posters depicted above) Hollywood’s enduring love-hate relationship with creepy crawlies sees no end in site…well, except perhaps for this big REAR END…

Video: ‘Big Ass Spider’ Trailer 

Does it not beg the question? If all this is for “shits and giggles” (it’s all just old fashioned myth; harmless entertainment), then explain to us the reaction of the two soldiers in the video which opened today’s blog!? The answer lies hidden in the fact that these are SOLDIERS…

Institutions Indoctrinate “How Things Should Be” and Dogma Replaces Reality; Rationality

There is no question that the military is one of the most powerful, potent and ubiquitous forms of indoctrination there is. It is also without question that apart from certain fanatical religious organizations, there are few institutions which can match the military for indoctrination into strict codes of conduct…dogma by any definition. (Is this the hidden reason why soldiers wear “dog tags”?)

There is no authentic “education” in the military (despite there being military colleges and universities). The entire structure and programming of the military is designed to achieve one goal: a robustly constructed, finely tuned, well-oiled machine ready to leap into action at a moment’s notice…
…unless there happens to be a ‘big-ass spider’ in the barracks.

Indoctrination and dogma lays down track for the train follow. Sure, it can be a powerful locomotive, carry the weight of an entire nation, and run like clockwork (especially if it’s in Japan or Germany), but it’s not so good when it comes to flexibility and dealing with elements which don’t run on the rails…don’t follow arbitrary schedules…aren’t machines.

In other words, indoctrination leads to fear of NATURE.

Nature is the antithesis of indoctrination. Nature, as science now know, functions on “chaos” a lot more than “order.” Whereas indoctrination and institutionalized education seek to define all the possible parameters and acceptable possibilities within said parameters, nature constantly surprises and amazes.

No matter how often science thinks it has nature nailed down, something new and incredible is revealed which blows the lid of everything we knew was “out there” (or “in here,” as the case may be).

But our minds are so programmed, so conditioned into a certain “set pattern” of thinking and doing; so digitally, mechanically geared, we have the natural reaction to the appearance of anomalies in nature: WE FREAK!!! (Again, like our soldier friends in the video which opened today’s blog).

Our institutionalization, mechanization and digitization of minds (via indoctrination, education and entertainment) creates fear of the new; fear of the unknown; desire for “order” and fear of the natural world which is “chaos.” And the result?...


Is it just us, or when watching the video of the soldiers, you’re kinda worried that these are the same people armed to the teeth with fully automatic firearms and have in their hands some of the most sophisticated and destructive weapons systems ever conceived of?

Maybe this video is an exaggeration; maybe it’s the canary in the coal mine…a stark reminder of the slippery slope of indoctrination leading to tension, anxiety and fear from that which is all but completely harmless!

What’s the answer? Ecosystems of course!

What if our soldier friends had access to (or grew up living in; studying in) a vibrant high-order ecosystem? What if part of their education and training included being in an environment of mutual harmony and symbiosis, with a positive relationship with all living things?

Image by & PeapodLife: It’s a Jungle out there, so get used to it with a jungle in here.

Now, no-one is saying ecosystems should come equipped with camel-spiders! (They wouldn’t like all the water anyway). But a spider or two may move into an ecosystem over time. There will be little tiny shrimp in it, almost certainly. Maybe some crabs. Fish. Maybe other animals (as per size of the system, comfort levels of the home/building owners/managers, etc).

If our educational system is already so institutionalized, we must carefully look at the current educational system and examine what role ecosystems can play in changing educational paradigms.

In contrast to a steaming locomotive, authentic education, modelled on nature and taking its cues from ecosystems, provides individuals with the equivalent of an off-road vehicle, enabling them to go exploring their world and be much better equipped to changing circumstances, adapting situations, and unknown, unforeseen encounters.

And possibly avoid rather embarrassing viral videos of the internet. (C’mon dudes…it’s only a spider. And we guarantee he’s more afraid of you than you are of him!)

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