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Undeserving Villains

I recently went on an underground mine tour, hopeful to find sapphires. Along the way, we came across these two little microbats crammed into a small hole.

The guide started talking about them with a sense of protective fondness. Explaining what we can do to care for them and how important it was to look after them. In complete contrast, there were a couple of kids who were totally scared and fearful of these bats. Not wanting to be near them at all. Rushing past and clinging to their Dad.

As we moved on, I began thinking. Bats clearly know what it’s like to be the undeserving villain, prey to the fears of others. From claims that they are a bringer of bad luck to accusations that they are a creature with a sinister compulsion to drink blood. They are a spreader of disease. This has led people to all sorts of methods to get rid of them. Bats have suffered at the hands of human ignorance.

When looking at facts, which the guide had begun to do, a different picture is painted. Even though bats are an unwitting vector for disease, less than one per cent of bats are infected with diseases like rabies. Canine rabies accounts for over ninety-eight per cent of cases worldwide, yet our canine companions are not cast in the same light.

Over one thousand bat species consume billions of insects and pollinate hundreds of plant species across the planet. Only three species – the vampire bats – consume blood. This need does not make them villains. In fact, it could make them heroes. Research into the properties of the vampire bat’s saliva has revealed a potential treatment for human stroke victims.

Bat’s message is simple. Good and bad exist in all circumstances. All living things are capable of behaviour that can be perceived as harmful, but not always to the detriment of the good they do.

It is up to us to decide what we will believe. How much we explore and investigate information, comments, and views of others. Making sure these are accurate and not based on unfounded fears. In this way, the real villain – ignorance – can be exposed and addressed. Lifting fear. Ensuring that an unseen hero, a good person or situation can triumph.

As we came to a stop, the guide began talking again. I looked around at the group, who were attentively listening. The fear of the children had disappeared. The fierce passion of the guide had shifted to amusement as he told a different story. I looked back into the darkness which concealed the microbats. Then curiously looked above me, into a small hole. Two little faces poking out. None of the group had noticed.

The situation was the same. A group of people in a mine, standing below two little microbats crammed into a small hole. However, the atmosphere in the group was totally different. Calm, engaged, and enjoying a new experience.

Maybe ignorance is bliss? It isn’t always the villain.

There is, after all, good and bad in every person and situation. Sometimes we just need to take the time to look closely. Then bingo, we've found it.

Like this sapphire. We had no idea what we were looking at until the guide pointed it out and explained.

I'll leave it up to you to find the other hidden gems in the photo and your life.

Something to think about...

“We've all got both light and dark inside of us.

What matters is the part we choose to act on,

that's who we really are.”

- Sirus Black


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