Once again, I have an idea for a periodic series that may never actually be a series. I’m just going to take quotes I find interesting, or inspiring, or infuriating and riff on them for a bit.
“Normal is an illusion. What is normal to the spider is chaos to the fly.”
I like this quote. It sounds cool, but I wanted to dissect it a bit.
In this context, normalcy has been defined on a subjective basis. The spider catches the fly in its web as a part of its everyday survival. That is what it does.
But the fly does not anticipate being caught, and so it perceives this action to be chaotic, or perhaps even evil.
From the objective viewpoint of “the Universe”, however, this behavior is neither normal nor chaotic. It is simply that which has been observed.
Now, if we take a segment of 10,000 spiders, and 9,567 of them exhibit the behavior of catching flies in their webs for sustenance, then the statement that this behavior is typical or expected has scientific merit.
However, “normal” is still a subjective description — even more so in this example, because the fly’s perception of the spider’s behavior is born of highly irrational emotion.
Fear. Panic. Mortality. Disorder… Chaos.
That is what the fly is feeling when it is caught in the spider’s web. Regardless of the scientific expectancy of the spider catching flies in its web, this fly is not giving one iota of thought to the fact that this is “normal” behavior.
What… is the fly supposed to accept its fate as a scientific reality of the Universe???
Anyway, that irrational processing of the spider’s behavior is exactly what makes this a good quote. It evokes fear from the fly as an individual, and a more pervasive sense of foreboding: the Universe is uncaring and unforgiving.
Chaos reigns supreme.
Language is fun, huh? Maybe I’ll do this again if/when I find another thought-provoking quote.
Or maybe it will languish on the trash heap of abandoned blog ideas, forgotten by an uncaring and unforgiving Universe.