What the hell is a ‘Moss Piglet’? Why would it inherit Mother Earth? What has its inheritance got to do with the price of a loaf of bread?
In other words why is it relevant to US (human beings) and our lives in the here and now? Very valid questions with enormous relevance to our ‘here and now’ if you are one of the human beings that wanders around spouting a belief in Animism.
Animism – you know how that one goes. All things possess a distinct spiritual essence – animals, plants, rocks, rivers, weather systems, human handiwork and perhaps even words. They are therefore perceived as animated and alive, having soul, spirit or sentience and are therefore sacred.
Many folk make the claim that they are ‘animistic’, especially (but not limited to) those who follow Pagan paths. They believe in animism. That is until challenged by the concept that there are way too many human beings on the planet. We, (the human beings) are turning the planet into something that will no longer continue to support us as a life-form. We could do with reducing our numbers by a few million. This then becomes a totally different matter.
It isn’t politically correct to suggest that we ‘lose’ a few million human beings (whether deliberately or accidentally). We must preserve human life at all costs. Why is the attitude of preserving human life at all costs so prevelant? Because human life is sacred! Whoa, haven’t we just said that we are animistic; ALL life is sacred.
When we make the statement that ‘we are animistic’ what do we really mean? Do we mean that as ALL things are viewed as having soul, spirit or sentience, ALL life is sacred and therefore ALL life is equal. OR do we mean that some forms of life (aka human beings) are more sacred than other life-forms?
If we are saying that the soul, spirit or sentience of human life forms is greater, more valuable, has more rights than that of other forms of life, then that is NOT animism. True animism sees all things as equally sacred, even the Moss Piglet. This brings us back to the very first question; what the hell IS a Moss Piglet?
Moss Piglets push the envelope of Animism
A Moss Piglet, also know as a Water Bear, is a Tardigrade; an eight legged, segmented micro-animal. Short and plump with their legs divided into four pairs, usually reaching about 0.5 mm (0.02 in; 19.69 thou) when fully grown, they are found everywhere. Scientists have identified more than 1,000 species. Looking like miniature Gummy-Bears they are also weirdly cute, that is if you can actually see one.
Suggesting that Matthew 5:5 needs re-writing to read “Blessed are the Moss Piglets for they shall inherit the Earth” is likely to have the ‘human life is more sacred’ brigade in a fit of apoplexy. Implying that this tiny creature is somehow more ‘fit’ to inherit than a human being is really going to push the envelope of Animism for a lot of people. This brings us to the second question;
Why would Moss Piglets inherit Mother Earth?
For a start they are known as the hardiest animals on Earth; actually they are virtually indestructable. Tardigrades live everywhere on Earth. In salt or freshwater, on moss (where the name Moss Piglet comes from), in underwater mud — pretty much anywhere they can find water. They feed on fluids from plant and animal cells, as well as on bacteria and even other tardigrades.
They can survive the sort of extreme conditions that would ring the death knell for virtually all other known life-forms. Some can withstand temperatures down to 1 K (−458 °F; −272 °C) (close to absolute zero). Whilst others can withstand 420 K (300 °F; 150 °C). Coping with pressures about six times greater than those found in the deepest ocean trenches, ionizing radiation at doses hundreds of times higher than the lethal dose for a human, and going without food or water for more than 30 years adds to their reputation.
Moss Piglets belong to the classification Tardigrada. An ancient group, with fossils dating from 530 million years ago, in the Cambrian period. “Scientists are so intrigued by this hardy little creature that, in 2007, they put dehydrated waterbears on a rocket to see how they’d do in the vacuum and solar radiation of space. That is (I believe) the OUTSIDE of a rocket. Upon their return 10 days later, 68 percent of the waterbears that had radiation shields survived. Even some of the unshielded ones made it back okay and reproduced successfully.” https://www.kidsdiscover.com/quick-reads/waterbears-freeze-survive-space-still-look-cute/
It is time to Soul-search our Animism
When the Sun turns into a red giant and swells to consume the Earth in a fiery death, we can be sure that there will be at least one living creature to experience the destruction – the Moss Piglet. Human beings will by then be a thing of the very distant past.
Are we have problems with the concept of a creature such as the Moss Piglet being the inheritor of Mother Earth? Then perhaps it it time that we asked ourselves whether we are truly animistic. Or whether we are just paying lip-service to the concept that ALL life is sacred.
For more information, we have a whole section on Animism
If you would like to know more about Moss Piglets you can find them starring on Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tardigrade