Ogni spazio vuoto è un'opportunità, ogni interstizio un'occasione per fare casa. Anche se non ve ne siete accorti, stanno cercando di addomesticarci da sempre. Se volete sapere cosa sta arrivando, cominciate a notare quelli con cui vivete.
Every gap is an opportunity, every interstice a chance for home-making. Even if you didn’t notice, they are trying to domesticate us since forever. If you want to know what is coming, begin to notice those with whom you live.
Nome comune: Ragno crociato
Nome scientifico: Araneus diadematus Clerck, 1757
Global distribution (WSC 2021): Europe, Middle East, Turkey, Caucasus, Russia (Europe to Far East), Iran, Central Asia, China, Japan. Introduced to North America
Caratteristiche anatomiche: Il nome comune di questa specie, “ragno crociato”, fa riferimento al disegno che mostra sull’opistosoma (addome) il quale richiama la forma di una croce. Il nome scientifico del ragno “Araneus diadematus” fa riferimento sempre al disegno sull’opistosoma, che osservato nella sua totalità ricorda un diadema di pietre preziose.
Come tutti gli altri ragni anche il crociato possiede 8 zampe, tra le quali il primo paio è leggermente più lungo e ricoperto da peli sensori, vere e proprie estensioni della sua percezione; infatti non essendo dotato di un ottima vista, nonostante gli 8 occhi, affida la lettura dello spazio circostante alle vibrazioni che capta lungo la sua ragnatela.
Comportamento:Tesse una ragnatela orbicolare, sul cui centro sosta attendendo potenziali prede, insetti volanti per lo più, usandola non solo come strumento di cattura ma anche come estensione della sua percezione dell’ambiente circostante, compresi pericoli ed eventuali predatori. In caso di pericolo infatti, individuato attraverso forti vibrazioni della tela, si lascia cadere da questa, ma assicurandosi di poterla raggiungere facilmente, passata la minaccia, con un filo di seta di sicurezza.
Anatomical features: The common name of this species, "cross spider", refers to the pattern it displays on the opisthosoma (abdomen) which resembles the shape of a cross. The scientific name of the spider, "Araneus diadematus", also refers to the pattern on the opisthosoma, which in its entirety resembles a diadem of precious stones.
Like all other spiders, the crusader also has eight legs, the first pair of which are slightly longer and covered in sensory hairs, which are real extensions of its perception; in fact, not being endowed with excellent eyesight, despite having eight eyes, it relies on the vibrations it picks up along its web to read the surrounding space.
Behaviour: It weaves an orbicular web, on the centre of which it stops to wait for potential prey, mainly flying insects, using it not only as a means of capture but also as an extension of its perception of the surrounding environment, including dangers and possible predators. In case of danger, in fact, identified through strong vibrations of the web, it lets itself fall from it, but making sure that it can easily reach it, once the threat has passed, with a safety silk thread.
History suggests that the more we define ‘the human’ as a subject of intellect, mastery and progress – the more ‘we’ insist on global unity under the umbrella of a supposedly universal kinship – the less possible it becomes to imagine any other mode of existence as human. The apocalypse is typically depicted as humanity reduced to mere life, fragile, exposed to all forms of exploitation and the arbitrary exercise of power. But these dystopian future scenarios are nothing worse than the conditions in which most humans live as their day-to-day reality. By ‘end of the world’, we usually mean the end of our world. What we don’t tend to ask is who gets included in the ‘we’, what it cost to attain our world, and whether we were entitled to such a world in the first place.
The Enlightenment conception of rights, freedom and the pursuit of happiness simply wouldn’t have been imaginable if the West had not enjoyed a leisured ease and technological sophistication that allowed for an increasingly liberal middle class. The affirmation of basic human freedoms could become widespread moral concerns only because modern humans were increasingly comfortable at a material level – in large part thanks to the economic benefits afforded by the conquest, colonisation and enslavement of others. So it wasn’t possible to be against slavery and servitude (in the literal and immediate sense) until large portions of the globe had been subjected to the industries of energy-extraction. The rights due to ‘us all’, then, relied on ignoring the fact that these favourable conditions had been purchased at the expense of the lives of other humans and non-humans. A truly universal entitlement to security, dignity and rights came about only because the beneficiaries of ‘humanity’ had secured their own comfort and status by rendering those they deemed less than human even more fragile.
What contemporary post-apocalyptic culture fears isn’t the end of ‘the world’ so much as the end of ‘a world’ – the rich, white, leisured, affluent one. Western lifestyles are reliant on what the French philosopher Bruno Latour has referred to as a ‘slowly built set of irreversibilities’, requiring the rest of the world to live in conditions that ‘humanity’ regards as unliveable. And nothing could be more precarious than a species that contracts itself to a small portion of the Earth, draws its resources from elsewhere, transfers its waste and violence, and then declares that its mode of existence is humanity as such.
To define humanity as such by this specific form of humanity is to see the end of that humanity as the end of the world. If everything that defines ‘us’ relies upon such a complex, exploitative and appropriative mode of existence, then of course any diminution of this hyper-humanity is deemed to be an apocalyptic event. ‘We’ have lost our world of security, we seem to be telling ourselves, and will soon be living like all those peoples on whom we have relied to bear the true cost of what it means for ‘us’ to be ‘human’.
The lesson that I take from this analysis is that the ethical direction of fragility must be reversed. The more invulnerable and resilient humanity insists on trying to become, the more vulnerable it must necessarily be. But rather than looking at the apocalypse as an inhuman horror show that might befall ‘us’, we should recognise that what presents itself as ‘humanity’ has always outsourced its fragility to others. ‘We’ have experienced an epoch of universal ‘human’ benevolence, a globe of justice and security as an aspiration for all, only by intensifying and generating utterly fragile modes of life for other humans. So the supposedly galvanising catastrophes that should prompt ‘us’ to secure our stability are not only things that many humans have already lived through, but perhaps shouldn’t be excluded from how we imagine our own future.
This is why contemporary disaster scenarios still depict a world and humans, but this world is not ‘the world’, and the humans who are left are not ‘humanity’. The ‘we’ of humanity, the ‘we’ that imagines itself to be blessed with favourable conditions that ought to extend to all, is actually the most fragile of historical events. If today ‘humanity’ has started to express a sense of unprecedented fragility, this is not because a life of precarious, exposed and vulnerable existence has suddenly and accidentally interrupted a history of stability. Rather, it reveals that the thing calling itself ‘humanity’ is better seen as a hiatus and an intensification of an essential and transcendental fragility.
Claire Colbrook, “End-Times for Humanity,” Aeon