Thursday, October 29, 2020

Biophobia: one more example of our fear of Nature and of ourselves



A clip from "Dust."  They are a company specialized in airing short sfi-fi films. The quality of what you can see is very variable, goes from the boring to the silly, includes the very clever, and sometimes true gems. 

I thought I could inflict on you this clip not because it is especially good, but not so bad, either. It may be good as entertainment. It has distinct "1950s" feel and it could go in the same category as the old "The Creature from the Black Lagoon." What's strange is that it was made in 2020 and one could think we had overcome that attitude of old that saw non-human creatures as monsters. 

Here, we have a good example of the current wave of "biophobia" -- it is the story of a young woman who is bitten by a mosquito. Then, the mosquito flies to meet a subterranean monster who uses the genetic information contained in the woman's blood to create a clone of her.

As I said, not bad as entertainment but, as biophobia goes, this is the way many of us see the creatures that surround us. Creatures to be kept away from our bodies as much as possible, least we'd be contaminated. And, in the end, I think the clip has a logic that perhaps even its authors didn't realize: it is our fear of sickness, our fear of death, our fear of bodily decay. All amplified by the tiny monster we call coronavirus -- a name that brings a hint of  the crown that death used to wear in medieval iconography, a symbol of power.

All fears that have taken over our minds everywhere. And how the woman of the clip sees he double is as she sees herself as in a mirror. It tells us a lot of how we see ourselves nowadays. We are scared of our fellow human beings, a monstruous, innatural, unimaginable (up to now) feeling. It is, first of all, a sickness of the mind. We will not be healed we come to a pact with nature, only then we'll be able to understand who we are. Onward, fellow holobionts!



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Ugo Bardi is a member of the Club of Rome, faculty member of the University of Florence, and the author of "Extracted" (Chelsea Green 2014), "The Seneca Effect" (Springer 2017), and Before the Collapse (Springer 2019)