Tuesday, 25 October 2011

boundary issues


I've overstepped my ethical boundaries here with this incarceration of  M. luteus inside a fortress of cobalt violet, chrome green and zinc white,  further hampered with a no-go area on the left there made by my own tears, to which it is sensitive, poor wee things.

Shame on me! I should be crying, tears of shame, not that crocodile tear that was so hard to squeeze out on that suny afternoon in a happy lab. Thing is, I think I knew that this bacteria would not like it in there and furthermore I was doing it purely for my own pleasure and voyeurism without regard for it and without giving it any way out.

It's the just-for-a-laff aspect I don't like. I'm quite happy to feed things to other things, do farming, interrogate the lives of anyone, and if it is a case of doing bad things to answer actual questions we can talk about that on a case by case basis. Hunting is fine by me too, as long as you are going to eat what you kill. (In fact my own death of choice would be to be knocked off my bicycle and eaten by a tiger, at the age of 121.) And I'll kill any amount of bacteria and other organisms simply because they I don't want them around, and not think too much about it. But this little vignette here is the opposite of what I want to do.

What I want to do is let things reveal themselves to me in the course of their activities. Or not reveal themselves, if that's the way things turn out. Preferably give them conditions they might enjoy.  I'm pretty sure the Serratia are having a fine time of it, rampaging all over and doing their fabulous swarming and replicating and what-have-you. And I don't feel too bad about the other small colonies of Micrococcus that are gently swelling into placid globs of quorum-sensing activity in their little circles here.  But this is a step too far, to leave a thing no choice but to sit glumly and wait for death, a small, sad, shit, truncated life, a condition we humans find too easy to impose on others and indeed ourselves. It is on a par with keeping hopelessly inbred dogs in handbags and keeping big cats in cages and making people have to work for Blue Arrow as far as I am concerned and I don't want to do it again. Bad Human! On your Rug!

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