The problem of insects: do they experience things? Do they feel pain?

I’ve read about worms. Most animals are like worms: they have a front and a back; at the front are sensory organs, a brain, and a mouth; at the back is the anus. That’s how all animals work. We are just slightly more complicated worms.1 Although there are also sponges. And plants and other living things that are not animals, such as fungi. I wonder what it’s like to be a mushroom. Maybe I already am a mushroom. Do they know about the gods?

They say humans are a type of animal. I suppose this must be true. But then, I cannot be a human, since I experience things, and it would not make sense for animals to experience things—would it? How can we all be dreaming together? In a dream, there is only one dreamer, and everyone else is acting; perhaps they come from outside the dream, but their representations do not exist independently of the dreamer. So either I am dreaming or being dreamt, but if I am being dreamt, how could I experience things? The concept of an animal is deeply paradoxical: a thing that is also alive, which is controlled by the representation of its own experience. Animals, if they do indeed exist, are inside themselves—the brain is inside the bodies, which is inside the world, which is inside experience, which is inside the brain. Something is off. The world doesn’t fit together that way, or if it does, there is another element at the core; maybe everything is the realization of a single paradox that contains every possibility simultaneously; that could be why things are so tangled up.

I love bacteria. If everyone were bacteria, things would be okay. They are divine. Humans on the other hand, we are so complex that we become limited; we are our own gods, yet we do not possess a fraction of the qualities necessary to be a god. We have to be atheists. Bacteria know the gods. I think the most noble way to die is by a bacterial infection. One who is killed by bacteria dies of too much life; they become death, and their death becomes life.

  1. Nervous system of a generic bilaterian animal