It's not the downward spiral of Europe's economy, or the surge in American socialism demanding that government pass more laws to make us all happy, nor is it the continuing domination of politics by the worst sort of people - the power-hungry. No, the real crisis isn't even the accelerating hypnosis and brain control of billions of people by the insipid, never-ending drama and drivel of television. None of those things affect me. I'm in Australia.
The only real crisis as far as I'm concerned is spiders. My projections show that at the current rate of breeding, in less than 1000 years the Australian continent will be completely covered one foot deep in writhing, creepy spiders. And that, my friends, is clearly one foot too many. Massive sea level rise would be luxury in comparison.
A couple of weeks ago, I woke up in the morning, sat up, put my chilly feet straight into my house slippers without even checking in them first, and pulled an old wool sweater from a heap of clothes on the floor. Then with bleary, unfocused eyes I staggered in the general direction of the kitchen for some much-needed cereal. This being the southern hemisphere winter, it was not warm enough to eat cereal in only my underwear.
As I reached out with my left hand to grasp a spoon from the drawer of spoons, I noticed that there was, dangling awkwardly from a silken strand attached to the sleeve of my sweater, an immature Redback spider.
YI YI YI YIIIIIIAAA WAH WAH! Stomp stomp stomp.
NOW I was fully awake. I thought nothing more of this not-unusual Australian incident until about a week later. I noticed that my right shoulder had been strangely sore for too long to be just a pulled muscle from splitting firewood up at the shed the previous weekend. It felt not just sore, but lame. And oddly heavy. Strangely painful in ways I hadn't experienced before.
It felt achy when held in almost any position except pulled up against my neck. Sports cream, hot packs, massage, nothing made any difference. I began to wonder if perhaps, that morning in the kitchen, I might have been bitten by that Redback. I mean, not a full "rush me to the emergency room" bite, but just a nibble. A quick nip. Who can say how long that spider had been scrabbling around on or in that wool sweater, or where it had come from before that.
There was a raised red mark on the back of my upper arm, which I took to be a failed boil that never quite got going. But by no means was it at the center of the sore area. I suppose I will never know for sure, as the soreness/lameness/heaviness now enters its third week.
The alternative theory is that I was bitten by something else that I never knew about and that got away with it, or that I had perhaps experienced a very little, tiny, small stroke. Neither of these thoughts leaves me feeling any more in control of my life and destiny though. And so, lacking evidence, they must be dismissed on purely ontological grounds.
But if any new evidence were to come to light, you can be bet your sweet Hegelian tush that ontology will always yield to empiricism in everything. It always has, and always will. Yes, I'm talking to you, science denier! Your ontological objections to empirical truth are weak and purposeless. So there.
Wow! Philosophy really does have its uses. For a moment there I got so fired up about philosophical wrongheadedness that I completely forgot for the moment that my shoulder was hurting and that the whole country was covered in spiders.