Philosopher Undine Sellbach discusses sex, flies and fairy tales

Joe Gelonesi at The Philosopher's Zone:

5519366-3x2-300x200Insects don’t seem to count for much. They bite, buzz around, and wreck picnics. They don’t trigger our moral sensibilities in the way that higher order animals might. In fact, for some, insects generate downright moral revulsion. Yet these small presences are closer to our lives than we care to consider.

Not only are they in the rooms we inhabit, but also in our food. At a special event held at the Melbourne Museum in 2012 diners were given an unusual menu. Courses at Bugs for Brunch included scorpions, mealworms and crickets. Also on the menu was a packet of polenta, described as containing ‘up to 10 insects per packet’ and a chocolate bar with ‘up to 80 microscopic insect fragments’.

In the audience that day was Launceston-based philosopher and performer Undine Sellbach. For her, it was the start of some big thinking on small things.

‘What fascinated me is that what appeared to be an event about science and philosophical argument had this very powerful other level where children and their parents were connecting disgust with ambivalence, making new connections and affinities with the bugs,’ she says.

In this moment of realisation a strange reversal came into view, which Sellbach terms an ‘upside- down ethics’.

More here.