Of Spiders And Bees
The difference between writing an academic paper and with jotting down one’s opinion on a blog post does not lie alone in technique. In academic writing, we need to find sources as reference to the claims which we make in the paper, but on the other hand with blogging, the only things needed are a keen interest in the topic and a willingness to assert one’s viewpoint on it.
These two forms of writing can both be educational and entertaining depending on how the writer wishes to present it. At the same time too, both forms take a lot of effort to accomplish.
While there seems to be more similarities than differences in writing for these two mediums, it may be pointed out that there is a single difference between them which is able to separate these two completely and thoroughly.
Let me begin by relating the tale of the spider and the bee.
Once, a curious little boy went out into the woods out of boredom; this little boy was smart for his age and was very, very observant. As he hummed along his way, he stumbled across a row of flowers. These flowers were fresh and colorful so the little boy had a hard time resisting the urge to pick one and sniff its aroma. And so he did.
While he was getting ready to go along his merry way with the flower safely tucked in his breast pocket, a fat little bee came buzzing towards where the flowers lay. The boy, being observant as he was, stopped in his tracks out of curiosity to what the bee may be up to. He saw the bee happily dropping its pollen on the pretty flowers as it sucked on the nectar readily offered. The boy noticed too, that there was another bee behind the first one and just like its predecessor, the second bee performed the symbiotic action characteristic of the relationship between bees and flowers.
The little bees went on their way and so did the boy. Again out of curiousity, the boy followed to whither the bees were headed until they hovered around a beehive. The boy hid behind a tree for his safety, and witnessed with his eyes how the two bees joined the many other bees in building around new territory, a sort of extension to the existing beehive. Our hero could just imagine these little bees also making honey out of the nectar that they’ve taken. Being glad with what he saw, the boy left the scene and continued down his path.
As he was walking deeper into the woods, the boy chanced upon a huge cobweb built on a lush green plant. The boy went closer out of curiosity and there he saw at a corner of the cobweb, a big spider busy weaving more webs with expertise. He noted with awe the intricate details of the cobweb, congratulating in his mind the workmanship of the spider. After staring at the spider making more cobwebs for a little while, the boy decided that it was time for him to continue his way.
Our little hero explored the forest more for quite some time up until he took note that it was already getting quite dark.
Once he got home, he found his mother cooking dinner. He approached her and handed her the still-fresh flower as a form of apology for being late. The mother took the flower but ignored however the sheepish grin of his son. She asked him to go get a broom and clean the cupboard in exchange for her forgiveness.
The little boy did as he was told, and once he opened the cupboard, he was once again met with a lone spider building a small cobweb. In our little boy’s innocent mind, it was wrong for him to destroy what he perceived as something which the spider built with patience. So he called out to his mother to voice out his hesitation at the task he was supposed to do.
The mother meanwhile, had to shake her head at her son’s naïveté; clearly her son misunderstood. She took him to the kitchen and got out a jar of honey to place it on the table. The son, curious with his mother’s actions, paid close attention.
The mother pointed to the jar of honey and enumerated to him all the benefits that one gets from it. The bees, who are responsible for this honey did not accomplish it individually as they had to be first and foremost a team of bees to be able to fulfil this task. The boy nodded, understanding what his mother wished to express — that when bees get together, the product of their teamwork is something as important and beneficial as honey.
The boy’s mother also related to him the manner with which the bees gather their tools to make the honey: the bees, instead of staying in one place, go forth into the vast environment to search for flowers, different kinds of flowers, to get the nectar from, and in exchange, to drop the pollen to.
The boy felt a deeper appreciation for the bees after that, but he was still confused. What significance has this fact have in relation to him not wanting to destroy the spider’s cobweb?
His mother sighed and patted his cheek. The spider’s cobweb, useful in one thing, that is, to capture flies or other insects, is generally a nuisance in that its presence indicates a lack of discipline on the part of the owner to clean his house. She says, if one sees cobwebs in any part of their home, they could and would think that the home is poorly kept. And these nuisance, the mother tells, are the product of the spider. The same spiders who work alone and refuse to share their space with other spiders.
Therefore the point is, the mother wants the son to understand how to distinguish between what’s important and what’s not. To know how to discern the context behind each thing, each event, so as not to be fooled into giving something a recognition which it doesn’t deserve.
The curious boy, now enlightened with the matter, proceeded to do what his mother asked him to perform earlier. And with that, our little tale ends.
The moral of this story goes beyond the things which the boy learned from it. As it is, the difference between writing for an academic paper and for a personal online blog is brought to light. Like the spider, the lone blogger spews out cobwebs by himself, meaning opinions that just add to the many other opinions that clutter the internet. But like the bee, the student or professional who writes academic papers goes out of his way to do research, encountering different books and articles, interviewing experts in order to perfect his references and put out a well-written paper that is backed up by facts rather than by the whims of opinion.
Respectively, a properly-researched paper written by an academe is by way of analogy compared to the honey produced by bees, while the personal opinion of a blogger is comparable to the cobwebs made by the spider — that is, while it may be useful for catching comments which in this case we may refer to as ‘flies’, in the long run it is nothing more than idle talk being spun in almost every corner of the Internet.