Insect Intrigue

2012 Michael H. Kellicutt International Photo Show

Contact II- Iridescence

Photo: Contact II by Becky Jaffe

The Coastal Arts League hosts an annual juried photo exhibit to showcase the natural beauty of the northern California coast. I am happy to be included in the 2012 Michael H. Kellicutt International Photo Show. The opening reception will be held on Saturday, July 7th from 5 to 8 pm.

“The Surreal World of Insects” Opening on June 23 at Terraria in Oakland, CA

Surreal World of Insects Flyer
Please join me for this exhibit of my insect photographs from June 23rd – September 1, 2012 at Terraria, Oakland, CA.

Convulsive Changes


Insects wear their hard parts on the outside, unlike people. They must shed their rigid, protective exterior in order to grow, just like people.

This Orthopteran has just emerged from her old shell, called an exuvium. Her wings are wet, folded, and translucent at this stage. She will spend the next hour or so drying her wings, pumping fluid into them to stiffen them, and gaining color.

During the molting process she is especially vulnerable to predation, which is why she wisely undertakes this process at night, taking cover under a leaf that shields her from birds patrolling overhead. She will transform herself five to seven times in her life.

Here’s what I want to know: Is consciousness continuous throughout these convulsive changes?

A Few Simple Questions


This grasshopper has a few simple questions:

1. What is the relationship between spirit and matter?

2. Is it that A) spirit gives rise to matter; or B) matter gives rise to spirit; or C) it’s a cyclical relationship, wherein spirit gives rise to matter, which in turn gives rise to spirit, which gives rise to matter infinitely like the mythical serpent eating its own tail?

3. Who has a soul, and who doesn’t? We might readily concede that a kangaroo has a soul, but what about jellyfish? I strongly suspect that grasshoppers have souls, but what about lilies? Do bacteria have souls? And viruses? What about the sun? And the wind?

4. How the body? Why the body?

5. How the soul? Why the soul?

6. What the soul?

7. WTF the soul?!

8. Is having a soul the same thing as having a conscience, or mere amoral sentience?

9. Do spirits get recycled, inhabiting different material forms? Is there some sort of spirit flea market in which formless souls choose among bodies, trying them on and shedding them again in an eternal rummage sale of hand-me-down flesh?

10. Or is “spirit” an emergent property of matter, a synergistic serendipity of infinite molecular permutation, a happy (and occasionally not-so-happy) coincidence?

11. How long does the soul live? Is existence permanent or temporary?

12. What is the tenor of the relationship between spirit and matter? Is it an epic love affair or more like a one-night stand?

13. If the relationship between the two is symbiotic, which type of symbiosis is it? Mutualism? Parasitism? Commensalism?

14. Can a soul live without a body?

15. Can a body live without a soul?

16. Do I have a soul? Do you?

Please provide clear, detailed, and omniscient answers in the comment section. Thank you.