Imagine if gardens were tended only by post-modern philosophers

Some days the garden offers more than pretty flowers. Some days it evokes ethical discourse…in my head this morning, since no one’s around when I go out to water and find the grape vine infested with yellow and black caterpillars. Here’s the dilemma: do I go all Spartacus on them and KILL THEM ALL! Or seek out my inner Gandhi and let the famished beasts continue to feast on the fleshy leaf parts until all that remains is lacy skeletons?

Western Grapeleaf Skeletonizer Caterpillars snacking in my garden

Western Grapeleaf Skeletonizer Caterpillars snacking in my garden

Maybe Derrida has some helpful advice…”The circle of the return to birth can only remain open, but this is a chance, a sign of life, and a wound.”

Kind of on the fence there. Perhaps his pal Nietzsche will be more helpful: “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.”

So I must decide if these caterpillars are monsters. Lyotard would probably suggest that to do this, I need to investigate their narrative, not the Grand-Narrative (which in this case is no doubt mine), but the meta-narrative of each tiny caterpillar.So, here goes.

Meta-narrative of the Western Grapeleaf Skeletonizer: “My hunger knows no bounds. I must eat and eat and eat. And poop. These poisonous thorns on my body that welt your skin don’t make me a monster! They merely shield my soft body from harm while I eat and eat until I’m consumed with the desire to crawl under a scrap of bark to weave myself into a cocoon. And then emerge a moth that flies in the daylight. The daylight! Not under the moon with my moth brethren, but like some freak butterfly. My life’s a sham.”

Well, that’s no help. I empathize, yet want to put it out of its misery. Maybe Baudrillard can lend me a hand in deciding whether to kill the caterpillars or not: “You need an infinite stretch of time ahead of you to start to think, infinite energy to make the smallest decision. The world is getting denser. The immense number of useless projects is bewildering. Too many things have to be put in to balance up an uncertain scale. You can’t disappear anymore. You die in a state of total indecision.”

It may be time for wise old Hippocrates to chime in: “To do nothing is also a good remedy.”

Awesome.