The Tribunal of Mice

God gave us this garden to live in, and He gave us dominion over all of the creatures who live in it. I expect that one day He will ask us “And how well did you care for the creatures that lived in your garden?” When that day comes, we could do well to hide our faces. The millions, probably billions, of mice who have suffered trauma, amputation, induced infection, shock, freezing and burning, so that we could find out how living beings respond to these things, died for very little, as far as the needs of the kingdom of mice is concerned. We have found that if we repeatedly remove a mother mouse from her children, shock and traumatize her at unpredictable times, so that she is unable to prepare her young for her departure, the babies will undergo genetic change that will show itself at least through the fourth succeeding generation. Talk about the sins of the fathers reaching into successive generations – except for the fact that it’s not the mouse fathers for whose sins the young mice pay – it’s ours.

 

A mouse is a harmless thing, except when it cohabits with a species that stores grain. They love their children, perhaps in a different idiom, but probably as much as we do. Again, enterprising scientists have established that a mother mouse will suffer extreme trauma and subsequent depression if she hears young mice being hurt.

 

Mice only like to have sex when they’re not in pain. How astonishing that we would need scientists to tell us this. They do it by inducing inflammation in female mice and then giving them the choice to avoid their mouse suitors. I have to wonder how different we are as we walk on this earth. We do not need scientists to tell us that we prefer pleasure to pain, that we don’t much want to have sex when our bodies or full of inflammation, that we love our children, and that they feel and somaticize the impact of our own trauma.

 

Thinking teleologically, we might suppose that God created mice to be a vast and unassuming food supply for any earthly predator smaller than a wolf. They live quickly and prolifically and they ask for nothing. We might do well to hope that when the end time comes, God will not call a tribunal of mice and consult with them about our fate, and that if He does, the mice will be kinder to us than we have been to them.

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