Bats are peculiar creatures, a strange hybrid between a mouse or a fox and a bird. The flying freak sleeps upside down during daytime and gets active during nighttime. There is no doubt this animal was, and stills the object of many fantasies. Therefore what are the main fantasies on bats?
In Biblical tradition, bats were believed to be messengers of Satan. The Puritans believed that if a bat flew close to someone, somebody was trying to bewitch them. This is the reason why one might see bats sculptures on the outer walls of Gothic churches in Europe.
In 1897, Bram Stoker wrote his Gothic novel Dracula, introducing the character of Count Dracula and established many conventions of subsequent vampire fantasy. Stoker was inspired by European myths about vampires and some types of bats that solely drink blood. Dracula inspired more fiction about bat behavior like vampires. The success perpetuated the fantasy and the fascination of bats.
Then in 1939, the artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger created Batman, a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books. Originally named the “Bat-Man,” the character is also referred to as the Caped Crusader, the Dark Knight, and the World’s Greatest Detective. Unlike Dracula and the common idea of bats, Batman is a hero fighting criminals and bringing justice to the world.
Just to name these examples among many others, bats became a narrative symbol in our subconscious mind, explaining both fear and fascination of these creatures. It pushed more and more people around the globe to approach bats, studying them, domesticating them, killing them or even eating them. To Chinese, bats are a symbol of happiness!
A bat is an infected animal but due to its immune system it can live with viruses. SARS, MERS, COVID19 are said to have been transferred to humans from bats because of human interactions with them.
A bat, like any other creature, is crucial to the environment equilibrium. We should save bats by letting them be in the wild. Don’t hug a bat, don’t kill it, don’t eat it, and don’t get close to it.
In Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche wrote: “Become who you are”. Defining the “who you are” implies the following concepts: conscious animal, thinking animal, rational animal, speaking animal, political animal (Aristotle) and the list goes on. Then how to become an animal?
The link between humans and animals has always been solid but gladiatorial. History of mankind would have been totally different had horses been extinct alongside dinosaurs. So, naturally and culturally, animals have always been present in humans lives.
Mythology tells us stories of deities, humans and animals. Most of the time, deities had human and animal traits. Only evolution of societies draws a separation line between what is considered as culture, (therefore human) and nature (the animal world). The more this line of segregation was thick, the more collateral damages were made on beings from both sides.
The animal in me brought animal rights back to life. Sympathy with animals and nature motivates all sorts of new ethical actions such as veganism, nature protection, and ethical treatment to animals and so on.
The animal in me also brought to life a new (or old new) workout: the animal flow. It consists of moving like some animals, mostly reptiles, to increase mobility, strength and flexibility. Now this makes me think differently: an ethical treatment to animals is one thing and becoming an animal for few times a week is something else.