Do you think it's wrong to step on bugs?

So I was at a school picnic we had to go to today. As I was sitting down, some ants started crawling onto the plastic blanket next to me. At first I just started flicking them away with my fingers but more came, so I took one of my sneakers off of my feet and started squashing them under it. As time went on they really didn’t stop I got up, put my shoe back on, and just started stamping my feet on the whole damn line.

When I sat back down, some Indian hindu kid called me “white bully” because I step on bugs. Why do people react this way? I’ve stepped on bugs my whole life! Much easier to flatten them instead of save them. If bugs are reincarnates of people, well… too bad, the little guys can kiss my giant stinking feet… better luck next time haha.

Moved to MB: no philosophical thesis.

It’s wrong if it’s because you’re a spoiled little shit who can’t take the tiniest little discomfort and has no regard for other sentient beings or the environment or whatever. But it’s not necessarily wrong.

I agree, you were called a bully because it was apparent the you enjoyed the killing. So are you more concerned about being called a bully or the more provocative white bully? You really must have exhibited too much enjoyment to get an ethnic attack on top of the bully attack. I would think about what you did and how you did it if you truly wish to learn.

Am I the only one who feels bad when I kill a bug, accidentally or otherwise? Makes me feel like a murderer, stamping out a small life.

Silliness. Can’t help it, though.

Bugs don’t feel pain, so at least you can rest assured that, though you may have prematurely ended a sentient being’s existence, it didn’t hurt. That doesn’t necessarily make it right, but it makes it less wrong.

The only bugs I don’t feel bad about having to kill are the ones that attack me or mine. Every thing has a reason for living.

Well I suppose, if I’m honest, I don’t mind killing mosquitos. Hate 'em.

Also, spiders, but only if they touch me. Then they deserve to die.

Could not agree more about spiders. Even the helpful ones. Its a kneejerk reaction. They die. Then I will do the eeewie eewie dance which involves slapping and brushing imaginary bugs while saying eeew many times along with other choice words. Not mature and thoughtful I know but I think the reaction will not change.

Even men have their own version of that dance.

Once, I was in a bedroom and I felt something land on my neck. I swiped at it once and it didn’t come off. The second time it flew on the floor. It was a huge spider. I shouted, lol, and killed it, and after that I kept on swiping my clothes and my hair for the next 10 seconds or so just to make sure.

Most spiders are harmless. But when something lands on your neck…that’s fucking scary.

Oh yea, husband and son do it too.
There are very helpful spiders that kill the poisonous ones and other insects. I leave them alone til they cross that line. I have also stopped killing many fireant hills. They kill other noxious insects such as fleas and flies. They kill the larvae. Pain in the butt critturs but useful. Flea infested cats and dogs lie near a hill and get cleaned. Damndest thing. Others beside me have witnessed this. The fireants go after the blood smelling fleas and their progeny. Awesome that a human screwup can be helpful.


You came to a philosophy forum to ask this question, when you have so many alternatives. This makes me think you’re genuinely interested in the answer, but your closing statement portrays indifference.

Wrong and right are relative to individuals and their goals. Stepping on ants is indeed wrong from ‘that kid’s’ perspective. In order to know whether stepping on ants is right or wrong for you, you must ask what your values are and what impact and precedents your actions set in relation to your values and goals, only then can you discern whether stepping on ants is right or wrong for you.

I say live and let live.

It upsets me if I kill a bug, what gets to me is the needlessness. Doesn’t do anything for me, and it’s an existence gone. I project my own existence onto them, and imagine.

I’m overly sensitive to it, I think as a reaction to my earlier indifference and even enjoyment in harming animals.

In India there is a religion called Jain. The followers strictly adhere to a path of non-violence in any form. This means harm in any way to any living thing. There are those (I have seen them) who carefully brush the ground before they walk so as not to tread on an insect or other animal. They even go so far as to cover there mouths with gauze in case they accidently eat a fly. Some do not eat in the night because the light attracts insects that then fall into the food on the table and they might eat them by mistake.

While I respect such beliefs, I see it as a denial of life on this world, disrespectful to how life is here. I understand the belief. It is to promote evolution of whole. But, it disregards so much. You cannot evolve in denial.

How is it disrespectful? Idealistic and maybe naive at worst, but disrespectful? I don’t get it.

Bugs are wonderful amazing creatures but I still squish ones that are all up in my face.

Not sure I can fully explain.
It seems to disregard a crucial part of living and learning. The process deeply involves death, dying, dead. We don’t want to kill wantonly or without reason. We kill through need or accident. Hunting is, well I think how hunting is aproached determines ethical value.
Anyway, to do as that sect does denies the process that existence has determined as part of life and learning. If you do not know death, killing, harm how can you actually learn the lessons from it? Acceptance, remorse, regret, pain associated, respect, love, fear, anger. All of this and more must be learned, felt, processed in order to learn and grow. Just guessing won’t cut it. Does this make any sense?

I think also denying death to other life hinders that lifeform’s life process in a same or similar way.

In “Tristram Shandy” Sir Toby found a fly in the window, opened the window and exclaimed, “Surely in a world as big as this is, there is room for me and thee.” (paraphrase).
Obama was brought to task by animal rights activists for swatting a fly.
There is one fly in my apartment currently. I watch him/her scratch his legs on his wings. I think what makes me feel icky around him is that he has to vomit in order to eat. I don’t want him vomiting on my food.
There is also a gnat that comes around ocassionally. I don’t mind him because he likes beer.
In short I can’t just kill these critters.

Not really. What makes you think that Jains don’t understand death? I think this is about what you accept as normal. If murder is normal in your neighborhood, is it disrespectful to refuse to murder? That sounds like gang logic to me.