Human Nature Nuggets

Unlike sheer instinct, human nature involves individual thought as to how we should handle or improve various situations. As homo sapiens, we never know what will happen as a result, but each of us tries by doing what we think is the best solution. Here are some examples…

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I am a writer at heart, a proofreader by trade, but without a soul if it were not for the nuthatches crawling down my trees, the robins, chickadees, cardinals, and yes, the much-maligned jibbering starlings that create their own unique concerts. I have wildflowers and perennials squeezed into my front and back yards and along the curb of my house in the city. My greatest job: I was a reporter for a locally-based newspaper, where I wrote human interest and news articles, but now I am a freelance writer, both online and in print. See MY ONLINE ARTICLES on how to ATTRACT BIRDS and BUTTERFLIES, and the HEALTHIEST NATURAL FOODS at my contributor page

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Is it Foolhardy to Tenaciously Try to Reach a Goal?

I was digging an 8-inch hole in my yard the other day, so I could plant a new climbing vine, when one of those big, black beetles crawled up. I don’t know what kind they are, but I often see them tipped upside-down on the sidewalk, legs waving madly, as they try to upend themselves. Usually I take a stick and gently try to turn them right-side up, not because I like them (ugh!), but because I feel sorry for them. I do get them on their feet, but as soon as I move the stick, they flop over again. Then I have to gently push them into the grass—but even there they’re quite ungainly.

This beetle was getting too close to where I was digging, so I shoved it away. It came back. I lifted it up on the end of my scooper and placed it by some leaves further away. Then I went inside to get some water. When I returned, I didn’t see it, so I dug some more. Then I stuck a ruler in the hole to see if I had dug deep enough, peeked in, and lo and behold, there was my beetle, at the very bottom!

Reaching in with my digger, I gently tried to scoop up the beetle—no luck. I got it on the tip of the digger and painstakingly edged it up while rubbing the tip against the side of the hole, and the beetle helped by trying to scramble up. Success! I got the beetle out; again put it aside. The beetle chugged away, so I resumed digging. No sooner did I look away than, sure enough, it was back in the hole, on the very bottom. I did the same thing over again, but this time I put the beetle on the other side of the yard. Then, admittedly a bit paranoid, I kept glancing up to make sure it wasn’t trying to return.

What I can’t understand is the tenaciousness of that beetle. Why did it keep coming back to where I was digging? And after I got it out of the hole the first time, it had to have seen my digger going in and out, so why did it go inside?

In some ways, the roots of plants are just as tenaciously foolhardy. They grow freely, blindly groping their way through the soil and sending out offshoots, until they come up against a barrier and have no more room to spread. But they keep trying, until they entangle each other so thoroughly, they and the plant they’re attached to die.

I sometimes wonder if mankind is just as foolish, although we’ve learned from experience that persistence can pay off. We can, at times, if we try hard enough, overcome the barriers we hit and reach our goals, but we also usually realize when being tenacious can be foolhardy. Perhaps it’s a matter of human nature vs. instinct.

Any thoughts?


Blogger pb said...

It really is a lesson in life. Much of our biosphere actually works in the same way. Overabundance, overpopulating, overexuberance. But that is how Nature works.

When it gets stupid, then the penalty is quite severe. Death, usually, out in the wild.

That's why we protect our children, who are still learning. And maybe why we need government, church, etc, to protect ourselves.

4/19/2006 7:52 AM  
Blogger kathy said...

sounds like that beetle bug was determined to get buried in the dirt! In the summer I have this battle going on with the ants. they are determined to invade my home. I get these long lines of ants that appear on my kitchen counter and I find them in my bathroom too.
We humans too are determined to get what we want...and we are destroying our planet earth to get it. but in the end i believe nature will strike back at us.

4/19/2006 12:30 PM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

I guess when you can't see very far, you so silly things. Hopefully, we two-legs can learn the appropriate lessons in time.

4/19/2006 1:08 PM  
Blogger madcapmum said...

Oh man! It's not easy to know which path to take. On one hand, who wants to be a "quitter"? And on the other hand, it's stupid to keep banging your head against a brick wall.

Wisdom would be a nifty trick, if I could learn it. ;-)

4/20/2006 6:48 AM  
Blogger Rob said...

Interesting..I often find myself in this dilemma...and often I persist when I should give up.

4/20/2006 10:47 AM  
Blogger Bonita said...

Most of the lessons we learn from being in the world of Nature tell us something about ourselves, too. Take bind-weed, the common morning glory. Once you get it, you can't get rid of's blossoms are there every morning saying "I may be ordinary, but I'm blooming anyway!" What encouragement for the rest of us.

4/21/2006 9:40 AM  
Blogger Darlene said...

Wow, what a wealth of knowledge, viewpoints and reactions--thank you all!

Bonita, as for bindweed, those little cultured ones (morning glories) that you buy in packs have always been a bit difficult for me to grow. But years ago I dug up some natural ones from along some railroad tracks because they were so beautiful. Well, needless to say my yard started getting overwhelmed with them spreading, and I had to dig them up. They sent tendrils every which way, choking out my other plants. After that I learned how tenacious they are, because it's been years and I still find those tendrils sneaking around every so often. From now on I'm sticking to those tidy, cultivated ones, and have more glorious mornings.

Just got another idea--could the beetle possibly think he was hiding from me? Did some instinct tell him to go down in the hole where I wouldn't see him? Guess he couldn't hear my mind telling him that I was trying to move him away for his own good. Imagine that!

4/21/2006 3:50 PM  
Blogger Mary Ann said...

Your poor little beetle wasn't thinking any thing. It doesn't have that ability. It can't choose its goal. And that's kind of a good thing. For us, choosing the goal is the hardest part and the part where we're most likely to make mistakes.

4/22/2006 5:56 PM  
Blogger Darlene said...

Alas, I know it wasn't thinking anything, but in a way that's sad, because that means it was mindlessly driven to keep going towards that hole, although in all likelihood not to go down into it. So what forces were driving it?

4/22/2006 9:52 PM  
Blogger Vonnie said...

Hey Darlene,

Great writing, my dear, you know how to get people thinking!

I have two thoughts on the matter:

1) Maybe he was attracted to you for some reason.

2) Maybe you were digging up his house! Ya think? ;)

4/24/2006 6:00 PM  
Blogger QuickThink said...

Ha, that sounds like the June bugs that used to drown themselves in my parents pool

5/09/2006 7:39 PM  
Blogger jim said...

Digging in the ground, you opened the emotional field of the earth, the source of the beetle, the beetle was attracted to the opening, to the intense call of Mother Nature, the beetle spends his whole little life seeking union with Her. You were helping, then you were preventing, if the beetle could have had a human thought, he would have been very confused at your 'compassionate' behaviour.

Water is liquid emotional energy, also Hers, Mother Natures, and those June Bugs, likewise, just want to get close.

Pardon me for my wordiness, interesting subject though.

5/10/2006 10:00 PM  

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