Discovering the Relevance of Words
I saw a spider with four legs yesterday. It was making it’s way across the wall above the utility sink in the garage, and as I watched it I noticed that it was terrible at all the things spiders are supposed to do. It couldn’t run or climb or spin webs well anymore, and it was only mildly creeping me out. It didn’t really seem like a spider at all.
This got me thinking about what makes a thing a thing. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck, right? But what if it can’t walk and doesn’t quack for personal reasons? Is it still a duck? Or is it a spider with too few legs truckin’ around my garage wasting my time?
These questions would mean very little to a disabled spider, even if he could think about them. If he can’t catch flies he will die and the question will be settled. So why do I care?
I’m considering decorating my houseplants for Christmas this year instead of getting a proper Christmas tree. Bringing a tree into your house is a messy business. Perhaps this is why I’m suddenly so obsessed with how I classify the things around me. The last thing I want is a spider with four too few legs occupying the space where a twinkling douglas fir should be.
Can a small conifer in a pot be considered a Christmas tree? Can a bug with four legs be considered a spider? Can today’s rambling collection of words really be considered a question?