You think of yourself as a person with at least one foot on the path to enlightenment. You rationalise the killing as being acceptable considering the nature and insignificance of the victims.
Yet the cockroach is to you as you are to the sentient entity known as Everything, aka Reality. The ant knows you as well as you know Everything. The mouse in the mousetrap understands its agony as well as you understand the trials and tribulations that Reality inflicts upon you. Do you want Everything to treat you as you treat those you believe are “lower” forms of life?
Actually, the sentient entity known as Reality doesn’t always treat humans in ways that humans would describe as “gentle” or “loving” or “respectful”. Let’s not forget that every thing is as much a part of Everything as anything, which is why Everything treats every thing equally. The so-called “acts of Everything”, including droughts, hurricanes, tsunamis and earthquakes, continue to cause misery and death to humans, cockroaches, ants and mice indiscriminately.
What makes humans a “higher” form of life than, say, mice? It’s true that mice don’t build cathedrals as well as humans do. But humans don’t scurry or gnaw or reproduce as well as mice do. In what way is cathedral-building a worthier activity than gnawing, or reproducing for that matter?In human terms building cathedrals is constructive, and gnawing is destructive. But in fact humans are much more skilled in destruction than mice are. The philosopher King in Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels describes humans as “...the most pernicious race of odious little vermin Nature ever suffered to crawl upon the face of the earth.”
The Earl of Gloucester in Shakespeare’s King Lear remarks that as “...flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods. They kill us for their sport”.
The sorceress Medea in the play by Euripides says that “whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad”. Medea kills her children to spite her ex-lover Jason, an act of madness that some would say implies the absence of free will. To this day many humans deny responsibility for their actions on the grounds of insanity or of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The destruction that humans inflict upon ourselves and others reflects a collective madness for which it’s tempting to blame the psychopathic Jehovah, who blithely describes himself as wrathful and jealous. After all, Jehovah gave us “…dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth” (Genesis 1.26 KJV). Or perhaps it’s all the fault of evil bankers, or globalisation, or multinational corporations, or power-hungry politicians.