The Moth does not seek the flame

Just found out that the reason a moth will circle around a lightbulb or a naked flame is that it utilizes the light of the moon when it navigates; thinking it is turning left it actually turns right in a steep curve – edging closer and closer to its point of reference.

Thus dies the romantic notion of Ikarus-proportions, that the moth seeks light, and that it`s attraction to light causes its demise.

In Clive Barker`s epic novel Sacrament one of the characters

feeds live moths to a pyre he has made, telling the hero, then a young impressionable brat – “living or dying we all feed the fire…” – the moth and the fatalistic motto is a constellation which functions well when we do not think of the scientific facts, but fades in glory. The Moth crashes into lightbulbs, windowpanes and some rare times into flames – because its natural envoirment has changed, and it is unable or unwilling to compensate for this.

There is a lesson to be learned there too.

One thought on “The Moth does not seek the flame

  1. This theory is based on scientific speculation not divine wisdom. It may well be true, but is unlikely.

    Moths do not fly upward at the moon nor sun, yet will do so towards standing light sources even if placed at the same angle as our solar companions. A moth should also possess the desire to avoid intense heat and fire, yet is does not when coming within the reach of a burning flame.

    No navigator would fly into the sun, regardless of what the guages say, and moths are similar in this respect. Besides, moths do not fly in declining curves around sources of light, they fly at them and hit against them as we have all likely seen.

    Interesting though the theory is of a false light misguiding the moth, it is only theory, possible but not proven. There is nothing romantic about a foolish and fiery death, but the reason it occurs remains a mystery.

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