Friday, July 15, 2005

A Fly in the Fridge

There's a fly in the fridge as I write this. For Pete's sake, I was just going to get some milk. And the stupid thing flies in looking for the light in the fridge. I can't get it to come out. When it finally leaves the light, it goes to the back wall of the fridge. For all I know it's still there, freezing to death. I feel sorry for the poor thing. I suppose when I studied Jainism in high school, that whole ahimsa thing rubbed off on me. I'm going to go check on the fridge right now. Maybe the fly's realized what's going on.

And yes, I do realize the number of philosophical questions being asked with regard to the fly's consciousness and thought process (or lack thereof) but that is beside the point. Also I realize that flies, given their limitations, cannot really be "stupid." Anyway, checking...
Okay, I'm unsure of what just happened there. I opened the door and there was a fly, but I couldn't tell for sure if it was the same one, or if it had flown towards me from some other angle. I'd like to note the irony of my mention of Jainism when coupled with the fact that I was swatting the fly in an effort to keep it from reentering the fridge. So much for ahimsa...or...

Hmm. If I ever meet a Jain, I will ask them if they have any idea which is the greater good: swat at the fly to keep it away from the fridge, or refuse the swat and let it die anyway. In case the link for Jainism doesn't give you an idea, this "ahimsa" principle I keep talking about basically says you should go out of your way to avoid harming any living thing, including the smallest bugs.

I wonder if there is any sort of Christian object lesson to be got out of this. Suppose the fly is us, attracted by sin (the light in the fridge) when in reality the darkness outside of the fridge is safer, and Someone is trying to show us this way (as I tried to induce the fly to come out by shutting off the light in the fridge.) Of course a perfect being such as God, trying to show us the way, would probably have though to turn the fridge light off and increase the light outside--whatever the theological equivalent of this path would be, it's not looking like it would be especially fun to describe. And the metaphor is incomplete in another way: said perfect being, being all-loving, would not as I did after about two-to-five minutes give up and leave the fly to freeze, and return later to (hopefully; I certainly hope I've freed the fly) free the fly.

The complete metaphor (I'm thinking the better word is, really, analogy, so I'll go with that): The better analogy would be the following. The fly (this means us) is attracted to the light in the fridge, even given its flickering nature, and the light on the outside does not attract it. Someone (this means God) is outside the fridge, trying to convince the fly somehow to leave the light and come outside. But until the fly decides to leave it is trapped inside, freezing. Of course an even more complete analogy would involve many more flies; I do not see the need.

I am almost disturbed how bad I feel about the fly. Oftentimes news that humans -really- are dead doesn't disturbe me so much, and here I am wondering about flies. In a sense I know it's just one of those things that happens when you're human. At any rate, I suppose I'll know with some vague certainty whether I "killed" the fly or not depending upon if or when a dead fly is found in the fridge. Hopefully not in the refried beans or the salad.

That is all for tonight. Goodnight (or I suppose good morning), and God bless.

5 comments:

nana said...

I read a biography of Albert Schweitzer many years ago and he believed in the "soul" in every living thing, thus did not kill even the snakes where i might draw the line. i can remember being very small and giving human thoughts and feelings to animals, plants, and on occasion i still tell the van what a good van it is and pat its dashboard. so i get some of what you are saying.

since i am also 100% weslyan in belief, that fly had a choice. and since God gave free will and since no matter what another person says or does, everyone is free to exercise that free choice, i think it is great to be sad the fly made the wrong choice, but taking personal responsibility for its decision when you did everything you could to dissuade it is not so great. i guess maybe i have a hard time separating my feelings of saddness from my perpetual feelings of guilt and everything eventually turns into guilt. did you know that is magical thinking. and that four year olds are great at thinking that everything in the universe depends on them and that if they don't clean their plate, more children really will starve? actually, if the therapists who created this theory were accurate they would probably call it a God complex rather than magical thinking. i prefer magical thinking, however, because i don't want to even consider the fact that i might see myself as a god in my universe. by the way, why are you awake at 3:00 a.m.?

k-po said...

it is all greek to me danocrates

llgp said...

If it had fallen into the ice tray it could've made a very cool cube.

Pooh said...

One summer I travelled with a singing group and we stayed in homes. I spent he night on a pig farm in Missouri and at breakfast found a fly on my plate. Despite MY horror, the hosts just shrugged. The fly revived and flew off and the hosts speculated that it had probably been in the refrigerator and had finally warmed up. Yummy. Sometime I'll tell you about my ear-wig infested salad on Vashon Island ("What do you expect - it's organic!")

L-Po said...

How can there be flies in our house when it's so CLEAN?????