The parasitic way (life feeds on life feeds on life…)
parasite (according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary):1 : a person who exploits the hospitality of the rich and earns welcome by flattery 2 : an organism living in, with, or on another organism in parasitism 3 : something that resembles a biological parasite in dependence on something else for existence or support without making a useful or adequate return
The hottest topic that has entertained me a while began with my co-worker and I looking up parasitic wasp videos on YouTube . What I’ve learned is that nature is more cruel and terrible than I had previously thought. Examples of human atrocities are cited with comparisons to the brutality of animals but it wasn’t until recently that I realized we still have a ways to go.
What separates us from parasites, for instance, is that we are often violent to defend ourselves, whether ideologically, to prevent attack, to hunt, or even as recourse. We have developed a complex mind that can make a decision to kill. What is more spectacularly interesting to me is when the desperate course of survival goes so far to imbue an organism with the instinct to find a host and implant its offspring. When we think of a parasite the standard hoarder such as a leech or tape worm comes to mind but there are organisms far worse and deviant. Think Alien. Think chest busters.
One video we found from from National Geographic showed a lumbering caterpillar crawling across a leaf, laboriously carrying its body, unaware of the load of wasp larvae growing inside. They feed from the blood of the caterpillar, growing, and contributing a 1/3rd of the weight of their host. Finally, with jigsaw precision, the little bastards chew their way out but it’s not enough to kill the caterpillar and the worst is not yet over. After the larvae rolls itself into a cocoon, the caterpillar uses its own silk to knit an additional layer of protection, while warding off other predators until it finally dies of starvation. The scientists believe that the same virus that had infected it earlier, zombifies the caterpillar into a slave.
But that’s the parasite and in its own savagery, the nature of its functions are divinely perfect but it does appear to be the desperate reaction of a species with no other way of survival than to further its existence in this manner.
I also got to thinking about our own development. In a way, a sperm and an egg combine to form a parasite that sucks the life out of a woman until it bursts out of her womb in one glorious and violent struggle but at least we stick to our own. If I were to consider our existence as a whole then maybe we’re more parasitic than previously mentioned (oops). Deforesting accounts for much of our global warming problem and reaping our land of its resources to facilitate our species isn’t any worse than what the wasps do. But does nature implement virus and disease (parasites in its own right) to keep us at bay? We destroy nature and nature destroys us. One without the other could catastrophically affect our global environment.
The most effective cycle is the one that ultimately ends the existence of the host. It’s what keeps everyone in check.
Tomorrow’s topic? Demonic possession — yet another parasite that has the incredible power to psychically overwhelm a victim and transform him into a hissing, frothing beast, unrecognized by friend or foe.