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Notes and Reflections on Books and Media

by Hannah Leitheiser

Man as Parasites

The Mason-Bees

J. Henri Fabre

1914

Link

2017-04-13

'What then is parasitism, if one must look for it among animals of different races? Life in general is but a vast brigandage. Nature devours herself; matter is kept alive by passing from one stomach into another. At the banquet of life, each is in turn the guest and the dish; the eater of to-day becomes the eaten of tomorrow; hodie tibi, cras mihi. Everything lives on that which lives or has lived; everything is parasitism. Man is the great parasite, the unbridled thief of all that is fit to eat. He steals the milk from the Lamb, he steals the honey from the children of the Bee, even as the Melecta pilfers the pottage of the Anthophora's sons.' - J. Henri Fabre

Ah, misanthropy. It's actually kinda worse than that, though, since in cases of more formal parasitism, the parasite cares about the host remaining alive. In this chapter, Fabre is discussing, and somewhat defending, 'Cuckoo Bees.'