Thursday, November 30, 2006

Scariest Animals

I would choose "spider" as the scariest animal. This is because it has such a completely inhuman appearance. The scariest animals are the killers. Spiders, cats, sharks, and snakes. There are probably others, but those are the scariest. You could say that a killer monkey is also scary, and this is definitely true. You imagine yourself locked in a room with a killer monkey your size, and you are definitely scared. But a killer monkey is just one type of monkey. Many monkeys are not killers, and probably would not hurt you if you were alone with them in a room.

The point about the monkey is also true for bears and dogs, which by the way are closely related to one another. Bears and dogs can be killers, but they also eat garbage and fruit, meaning that killing is not all that they think about. A dog can be your friend, and you can be his friend in return. Bears have a reputation for being big and lazy, though this is not necessarily true. "Killer bear", as well as "killer dog", is a useful specifier.

Cats are killers. All they think about is killing other things. For fun, we might keep one around with us, to live with us, but only because that particular cat is small. Again, imagine yourself in a room with a cat which is your size, and you are scared. Notice that I do not have to say "killer cat", because we all know that all cats are killers. But cats are like us. They're warm-blooded, and they have babies which we all think are cute. A cat is a battle machine, but you can empathize with it.

Snakes can be scary. Like cats, all snakes are killers, and so it is redundant to say "killer snake". Going by the alone-in-a-room-with-it test, you can agree that a snake which is about your size is a scary thing. But there is something silly about a snake. It is scary in general, and is only concerned with killing things, but it doesn't have any legs, which makes it look like a noodle or a piece of rope. So in a way, snakes are kind of stupid looking. Noodles are not scary, and so this detracts from the scariness of a snake. But certainly, snakes are scary, I will agree with whoever claims this.

Sharks are also scary, but it is unlikely you will run into one, because they live in the ocean. To a fish, a shark is probably the scariest animal. However, to a human, or to any other monkey, a shark is not the scariest animal. You do not walk around in the woods at night fearful of being eaten by a shark. You can't even picture yourself alone in a room with one, unless it is a room full of water, in which case I agree it is very scary. Also, they look a lot like fish, and fish are not scary animals; so, like a snake, a shark looks like something which is not scary, which detracts from its scariness.

As an aside, I will mention that a crazy man with a knife, or a gun, or a chainsaw, or some other terrible thing, is undoubtably a very scary thing. But, like a killer dog or a bear, and indeed just like his brother the killer monkey, the crazy man is only one type of man. In general, men think about killing a lot, but they also think about other things which are not related.

What makes the spider so different from all of these scary animals? Well, obviously it is a lot smaller. This is related to another other thing which makes it different, and that is that it is an invertebrate. Further related to this invertabrate nature of the spider is its face: spiders do not have faces. They can have a dozen eyes all over the top of their head, and their mouths are not mouths at all, but orifices surrounded by poisonous hypodermic fangs and gripping appendages made to prevent you from escaping. They do not chew, but rather drink you as a beverage after they have dissolved you with digestive juices which they inject into your maimed, paralyzed body. This is terrible!

Now, at least a cat has a face. You can look a cat in the eye, and relate to it. A cat has a soul. A cat is a mammal. Cats have babies, which everyone calls kittens, and which everyone agrees are not scary at all. Imagine yourself in a room with a spider your size! Its exoskeleton would probably be bulletproof at such a scale. You couldn't look into its eyes unless it was a jumping spider or maybe a type of wolf spider, since those spiders do have frontally placed eyes which have relatively good acuity and color vision. But you wouldn't be fooled by these spiders. A jumping spider is a perverted mockery of a cat. You and the jumping spider have nothing in common. You cannot relate to the spider. Spiders do not love their babies, and no one thinks that their babies are cute. Spider babies will eat their mothers if they can't find someone else to kill first.

This is why I would choose the spider as the scariest animal. If you put me in a room with a spider which is my size, give me a big knife so that I can cut off my own head before the spider gets me. I'll fight the cat, or the snake, or the shark, especially if you give me a gun or a chainsaw. But not the spider. A spider is like an armor plated eight-legged poison-fanged tank. Man, I just thought the dumbest thought, which was, "I hope no spiders read this", because I am that scared of spiders.

40 comments:

  1. I agree with you on all points, but I'm curious about a couple. You said cats are killers, relatable to humans, and have souls, whereas the spider is a killer and not relatable. So, are you defining a soul with how relatable an animal is to a human? And if you’re scared of spiders, why have one for your profile?

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  2. That is absolutely right. "Soul" in this case is just a psychological construct on the part of the perceiver. I perceive the soul in the cat; the cat doesn't so much possess the soul, see? I might say that an animal has a soul if its brain (and therefore its subjective consciousness) is vaguely similar to the human brain (and therefore the subjective human consciousness) with which I am familiar firsthand. Cats, like other mammals, have a brain which in most respects is a lot like a human brain, so they have a soul. A spider's brain is like a ganglion donut wrapped around its esophagus, which is totally not like my brain at all.

    And I have a spider for my profile because I think they're cool, even though (indeed perhaps because) they are scary.

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  3. make more sense this time...

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  4. Thanks for responding. I thought you would say that about the soul. Judging from your picture, I was completely convinced you were not scared of spiders and would possibly have a tarantula for a pet!

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  5. EARTH: Human beings are scariest...

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  6. I really should have mentioned something about alligators or crocodiles, which are also scary. Still, I've seen people fight crocodiles, for example the Crocodile Hunter, who was killed by something else, and anyway that gives me hope that at least a crocodile is fightable, which makes it a little less scary.

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  7. I can agree with the other Anonymous about the humans being among the scariest, but I certainly would not rank humans #1. What is scary about the human is the underlying potential for killing. They can manipulate, so they can create a false sense of security. I think that is the most fascinating aspect of serial killers. But, as acknowledged in the original post, those are only a certain type of human. I am petrified of spiders, so spiders are #1 in my book. I do not react to a human in the same way as I react to a spider. If aliens observed humans, they would probably be scared of the human animal, but it is my understanding we are talking about human reaction, not alien.

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  8. Spider is the scariest -- human nature;
    Human is the scariest -- beings nature (except for human & dolphin).

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  9. OK, we can agree. This has been a fun post! I never pass the chance to talk smack about spiders!

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  10. Humans aren't that scary. Humanity is scary, since it's so good at smashing stuff up, though if the Earth were capable of thought or feeling I'd say it should be glad to have us here, rather than an eternity of dumb bunnies and trees running wild all over the place. Humans are more interesting. Spiders are interesting too, but scary.

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  11. AN: You are not the Earth. How could you know it prefers humans to bunnies?
    AH: You are not the Earth either. How could you know it doesn't prefer humans to bunnies?
    AN: I cannot prove the Earth dislikes humans, but you cannot prove the Earth prefers humans either.
    AH:...
    SPIDER: Enough! I'm Spider. I know I don't like humans.
    BUNNY: I like trees better.
    TREE: I don't think spiders are scary at all.

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  12. 1.) This is the best blog post I've read in some time!

    2.) I'm posting under anonymous just cause it seems to fit the comment style, though I'm not anonymous!

    3.) I had two tarantulas as pets (Andrew, did you ever hold one???) and after having a pair in your living room (well contained, I should say) they seem to start taking on the feeling of 8-legged hamsters instead of insects.

    However, they move suprisingly fast, and one time when I woke up on some weekend morning I was startled to find out one of them had escaped, and the knowledge that there was some 6-inch spider hidden somewhere in the immediate surroundings was quite unsettling. (it ended up just being hidden behind the water bowl)

    You could hear the tarantulas crunching thru crickets from a room away!

    The end.

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  13. i would eat a tarantula before i would keep it as a pet. plus, all you anonymousers are making me very, very nervous.

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  14. ok, more nervous, now...

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  15. ah, yes, you did have two tarantulas! i remember now. yes... i mean, no, i never held one. i'm sure that i really, really wanted to. i never did, and i regret it. i... i...

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  16. I am calling myself Anonymous 1, because I posted as anonymous first in these comments. I really am just some random spider who happened to read this blog! (God, that's dumb of me to say. I've gone from halfway intelligent to dumb in a few comments!)

    So, we all agree with Andrew, SPIDERS ARE SCARY! But the Earth should be scared of humans because we take away from it more than we replenish. At least the lower life forms have a more balanced circle of life, in my opinion. I think that no matter how much we try to make amends to the Earth, we can never strike even.

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  17. Anonymous #612/7/06, 1:42 PM

    I do not think we should blame humans for the destruction of the earth. Er, I mean, we shouldn't fault them. We evolved the fastest and so we got to our destruction phase first. If we nuked ourselves to extinction, the lizard children of the future would just do the same thing eventually. Except they might not pollute the environment, seeing they can run across the lands already at blazing speeds using their four legs and streamlined bodies. And don't get me started on the lizard ladies... meow!

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  18. I agree, anonymous #6. If it weren't for the big 65mya thing going down, there would probably be dinosaur cities all over the place. Also, Anonymous #1, how can we take away from the Earth more than we replenish? Unless you're talking about all the spaceships we've sent off into outer space, the Earth might miss those.. But, probably, we get more than enough meteorites to make up the difference. I think the Earth loves us, and has no reason at all to be scared. In fact, we have a better chance to protect the earth than any panda bear ever could. If in a thousand years a giant asteroid comes about to crash into us, maybe some humans could divert it or something. No panda bear could ever do that. The Earth should be more scared without us.

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  19. Anonymous #312/7/06, 4:08 PM

    Come on, the Earth doesn't care who lives on it, or even itself disappears (in any way). Humans claim they can and will protect the Earth just because they have to, for their own sakes, not for pandas or bears or the Earth -- they don't care at all, maybe nobody cares...

    p.s. There are totally 3 Anonymous here, right?

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  20. Anonymous #612/7/06, 5:15 PM

    Wait wait wait... nobody cares?? We only protect the Earth because we have to? Oh I disagree! Right, maybe now we need to have Earth, but it won't be all too long before we leave this starting rock and start spreading to the galaxy. But I believe we will always be fond of our Earth, and not just for selfish reasons. In it's own way, Earth as a soul, in the same way Andrew's cat has a soul. We can identify with it, feel comfortable with it. Not many people sit shivering in the night thinking about the gigantic ball of mass they are resting upon. I think many, many people love the Earth for nonselfish reasons.

    The Earth is easier to relate to than, say, scary soulless spiders.

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  21. anonymous #612/7/06, 5:23 PM

    I just thought of something I want to add. I like the reasoning behind Andrew's statement that the Earth should be more scared without us here. We do have the best shot of diverting an Earth-ending catastrophy. (we may also end up causing one, but sometimes the cooking fire catches the woods ablaze!)

    I want to extend that analogy to the possibility of robots springing up in the near future. I think robots will be thought of by many as the new scariest animal on the block, especially when they start looking hyper-realistic and sneaking around where we can't tell them from a regular human. But in the end, they will have the ability to protect and serve us, and I think they will. Sure, they could crush our heads like pimples, but ultimately they will help us extend our existance.

    Did I throw us way off subject?

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  22. I was really thinking more along the lines of the pollutants that are released by our industrialization and technology. A panda doesn’t drive a car run on fossil fuels, a panda doesn’t test atomic bombs, and a panda didn’t cause the hole in the ozone (if in fact, we caused it). Once that shit gets airborne, it’s got to have some type of negative effect.

    I’m not a tree-hugger, and find most of them annoying, but they do raise awareness of certain degenerative aspects. I suppose that if you listen to them long enough, you’ll be convinced that the Earth will end in 50 years, no matter what we do.

    If another species did evolve, yes they probably would have disastrous effects on the Earth as well. And the lizard ladies…I’m sure they will be known far and wide by the sexy tricks they can do with their tongue! Maybe some of the men can do the same! You know, once you go lizard, you never go back!

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  23. This Post Beith Epic.

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  24. I understand what you are saying about the human race being the only possibility for adverting any threat to the Earth, but you cannot divert any threat that happens from inside the Earth (earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, which are also detrimental), unless the threat is the result of something that we’re doing now, like pollution. A lot of people campaign for no pollution, but we really cannot be comfortable, without changing our lifestyle, with zero pollution. Factories and cars are allotted a certain amount of pollution—pollution in moderation is what we’re practicing. I maintain we cannot replenish all we have taken from the Earth if we continue this practice. Our comfort and convenience are paramount. We level land and clear forests to provide housing, interstates, factories, and shopping malls. Sure, we can plant trees and reserve lands for parks, but is that proper compensation?

    You are also saying that humans are the Earth’s only hope to avoid a catastrophic collision with an asteroid. So, the Earth should not be afraid of humans because of the small sliver (what, less than 1 %?) of the population who chose to be astrophysicists, now and in the future? I don’t know. Astrophysicists are cool, and super-sexy, but they are the potential reason that the Earth should love us? Hmm… I think that the Earth has a more-than-healthy respect for us, if nothing else. We are the only creatures on the planet intelligent enough to try to contain and eliminate any threats to the Earth (pollution-wise, plague-wise, space-wise, whatever), but because we are so intelligent, we can eliminate everyone and everything, including the planet.

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  25. If you're saying that once we burn some oil or coal, or whatever, we can't put it back in the ground and "replenish" it, I agree. I also think that's a pretty stupid expectation. The Earth isn't a museum, and no one told us (humans) that we should leave it the way we found it.

    Now, let's get it straight that the post was implicitly about what people are afraid of, not what the Earth might be afraid of. Furthermore, let's get it straight that the Earth isn't afraid of anything. The Earth doesn't have a brain, it doesn't care what we do. With my asteroid example I was just pointing out that we could probably save the Earth from a big, big disaster if we had to, though I personally believe that it's very unlikely that we would ever *cause* such a disaster. I don't think there are going to be any (big) nuclear wars. Therefore the Earth would, if it could, be happy to have us here.

    Some people are curious, and want to figure out how evolution and natural history worked up until now, and so for them, we want to keep things relatively stable; i.e. we don't want to destroy the ecosystem anytime soon. But again, that's keeping it around for our own gain; we're curious about where life comes from, so we don't want to destroy it all since then we'd have no way to solve the puzzle.

    Now, back on topic: a giant spider the size of a human would be scarier than any other animal scaled to human size. This is settled, I think. As for our coming robot overlords, I agree, they will be scary beyond comprehension, but they won't be animals, and would have to be mentioned in a discussion of "Scariest machines from the future".

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  26. Chaos now -- only humans are able to create it -- interesting or scary :) HOORAY~~~

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  27. Robots aren't the future! We are the now!

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  28. There is no need to attack my stupid ideas or me. I was only going in the direction of the other comments, and so were you! Actually, I see this trend is still going. In the 7th comment, I acknowledged this was about human reaction to animals, but the comments went elsewhere. If you were dissatisfied with the direction, you should have said something earlier.

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  29. I didn't attack anything. I just thought it was stupid to think we can put oil back into the ground after we burn it. Maybe that's not what anonymous #1 meant. Jeez. Anyway, it's about time this post turned into a battle. Someone call me a name, please, or compare me to Hitler.

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  30. Anonymous 112/8/06, 1:53 PM

    Ok, I'm sorry. I guess I'm too sensitive.

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  31. Anonymous #312/8/06, 2:02 PM

    Right, we will always be fond of our Earth, and not just for selfish reasons, but also for fish reasons. We like the Earth because it has a soul, and we can identify with it, feel comfortable with it -- these are fish reasons other than selfish reasons. See, it won't be all too long before we leave this starting rock and start spreading to the galaxy (lovely Earth, used up, bye~~~), but we will still come back or use fancy long-distance technique to protect the Earth, won't we -- for fish!?

    1) I really think we like our Earth, county, family only due to private (maybe it's too natural to think) other than public reasons. And loving doesn't equal to protecting.

    2) As to robots, they could be fantastic, helpful or scary; but robots with souls are useless -- an old, conservative man is speaking.

    3) I’m scared of caterpillar – they are soft and gross.

    p.s. this is just discussion, I think, nothing about attack.

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  32. Anonymous 112/8/06, 2:37 PM

    Not that anyone truly cares, but I am going to ramble on topic. As stated, I am petrified of spiders, so much so I can’t stand pictures of them. I have trouble saying “tarantula” without getting disturbed. I really am terrified of all arthropods in varying degrees, depending on the animal. Pictures are the absolute worst because they are not life-sized. They have been so magnified that they almost look human-sized! Actually, the Charlotte’s Web trailers are disturbing! I’m such a wuss! Ok, so if anyone has it in for me, I’ve given you plenty of ammunition. :-)

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  33. The funny thing about all of this is I bet there is at least one spider within five feet of half of us posters.

    It's watching you. Sensing you. It might try to climb up your pants legs since it's getting colder.

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  34. Whoa. I have not read a single one of these. I just noticed this post existed. Maybe I'll read all of this stuff. Except, my computer broke several days ago and won't turn on.

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  35. well, that throws off my trying-to-guess-who-the-anonymousers-are strategy, just a bit.

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  36. I was just glancing through the other blog posts, and I noticed most of those comments are in the single digits. Congratulations on this post reaching 36! Any guesses who the anonymous people are?

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  37. I know who everyone is. some of them are normal people. one of them is a weirdo.

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  38. Oh crap I wonder if I'm the weirdo or not.... I wonder if I want to be or not?

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  39. Do you refer to me? >o<

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  40. Of course he is referring to me, Anonymous 1. I suppose I really am a weirdo, but Andrew doesn't know me well...then again, maybe he does! I've never known him to be completely wrong about anything, so maybe there's a hint of truth there.

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