Beautiful But Deadly

Anatole France

By: William G. Muir

I have to say it, the above quote is nothing more than specious logic. If the path looks beautiful we shouldn’t ask were it leads. I can’t help but think of this as the most dangerous piece of advice I have ever heard. It is this kind of thinking that lead to thousands, no millions of people either getting gravely injured, or even worse to death.


I know I wrote a post a few weeks back were I spoke about the path that is least traveled. But let me state I never argued against going your own way and doing what it is you feel like you need to do. I just wanted to point out that not everybody’s cut out to go on their own. That for some people being part of the crowd is the more sensible choice. I was asking that we don’t look down on such individuals.

But this advice I just have to speak out against. Just because something is pleasing to the eye doesn’t mean we should drop our guard. That is when we need to be even more vigilant about observing our surroundings. It is often times the most beautiful things that are the deadliest things. How else are you going to lure the inattentive into your trap?

All we need to do is look to nature itself and see that beautiful things can be quite deadly. Now while not all of these plants may not be harmful or deadly to humans, there is some creature on this planet that these plants can have adverse effects upon. So don’t think just because you are immune to such things that they are just peachy keen for our cousins that we share the Earth with.

You don’t need to go to a far off island or take a trek through the rain forest to find beautiful plants

that will kill you. All you have to do is look into your own backyard, there you will find all kinds of deadly things. Some, if not most of which will cause you great harm. For example the Oleander, It is said to be the most widely grown toxic plant in the world. You want to talk about dangerous, every bit of this is plant is harmful in someway. We are not just talking about the flowers, or the fruit, or the leafs, or the seeds. We are talking every last bit. If ingested people can expect to experience such things as change in heart rate, nausea, vomiting and it can even effect the central nervous system. Just one leaf of the plant will cause death in infants and toddlers.

So what other harmful vegetation is out there, lurking in your backyard or gardens. What plants are sitting there looking all gussied up, just waiting for you to show them a little attention before they cause you to get sick. How about Lily of the Valley, Hydrangeas, Peonies, Narcissus, Water Hemlock, Castor-bean plants, Chrysanthemum, what do all these plants have in common? They are all dangerous if ingested. Reactions can be as minor as nausea and vomiting. Major side effects can include changes in heart rate, violent convulsion and seizures, possible breakdown in the bodies circulatory system and even death.

Some of you are probably saying right now those are plants, I don’t garden and avoid any interaction with nature. I say fair enough. But what about the food you eat, is it safe? Fruits and vegetables are nature’s way to transport seeds. While some plants just let the wind carry their seeds away, others evolved eye catching and tasty containers that attract the attention of animals to carry away the seeds. This way the seeds might have a chance of being dropped in a fertile soil and quite possible bring about the next generation.

Just what are some of these deadly, natural foods?

First up the Lima Beans. How many of us at some point in our life has been told that we needed to eat

our Lima Beans because they are good for us. Well if you are going eat the Lima Beans you better make sure that you have cooked them fully. If not thoroughly cooked just a handful of Lima Beans can cause you to be violently ill. Whatever you do, do not eat them raw.

It is not just Lima Beans that can do you harm, cherries, apricots, peaches, plums, and apples can kill you. Each of these fruits contain cyanogenic glycosides which creates cyanide in the pits and seeds. While not harmful in small does, if you eat enough of the seeds or pits it can be deadly.

You can even find examples of the beautiful but deadly in the animal kingdom. All one needs to do is turn one’s eye to the North Pole. There you will find one of the most beautiful, yet one the deadliest animals in all the world, the Polar. Sure they look cute, especially the cubs, don’t you just want to cuddle one of those little precious things. Well you better not, and you want to know why? Because they are bears! That is why you fool. Just because they have white fur does not mean they are any gentler than your average bear. Nope, they are the meanest of all the bears.

Ok so that is a bear, you might have figured it was deadly. How about an animal that people seems to love, the dolphin. Everybody thinks that dolphins are just so darn cute. They splash about in the water and at sea parks, performing tricks for people. If you want to there are places were you can swim with the dolphins, and it is believed that dolphins may have a level of intelligence that put’s them right behind humans. That would make them the second smartest creature on Earth.

Despite all their cuteness dolphins can be quite the dangerous animal. We have heard stories of dolphin saving humans from sharks. What you may not know is that dolphins have been observed taking part in what has been described as militaristic maneuvers. One species of dolphin has been known to attack individual of other species. They also become quite aggressive around human females, wishing to mate with them. It is not unheard of for male dolphins to attack human males when they think the human males are competition for the attention of a human female.

How about chimpanzees? Who doesn’t love a chimp? Admit it you have all laughed whenever you see chimps on television or in the movies dressed up like people and acting human. It is the fact that they do remind us so much of ourselves that we have a fondness for the furry little creatures. But let us not forget that chimps are wild animals. They have a strength that is 5 times that of a human. They can be so aggressive that one not so long ago nearly ripped a woman’s face off. She wasn’t a stranger to the chimp either, this was a lady that raised the chimp.

We don’t even need to look to plants or animals to find  examples that something that might be appealing to us but in fact turns out to be dangerous. We would all like to have more money. What with the state of the economy today who wouldn’t jump at the chance to earn a few extra dollars? Hoaxers out there know this and will take whatever steps are needed so they can line their pockets at some fools expense. Take the Nigerian email scam for example, with your cooperation, a good faith gesture of cash and your bank account you too can help a Nigerian prince smuggle millions of dollars out of the Nigerian economy. And those just looking for a break in this life will fall for such scams. They just want to find a way to make life easier for themselves and their families.

What about war? Modern warfare is sold on the notion that there is someone out there and they are trying to hurt you, your love ones and your country. That is how Germany was sold the second world war. Hitler was able to convince enough of the German people that the their woes were caused by other people. Not the first world war that they had plunged the nations of the Earth into only a generation beforehand. What Hitler was able to do was shift the blame away from the German people and lay it at the feet of other people, chief among them, the Jewish people.

So once again the world went to war with Germany and her allies. Millions of people on both sides of the firing line lost their lives on the battlefields. Millions more were slaughtered in the concentration camps. What for?

War is destructive and ugly, yet too many times it sold to us all wrapped up with a pretty little bow on top.

As you can see you should never look at something beautiful and not question its motives. Sure it might be harmless, not all beautiful things are going to hurt you. But then again things that are harmful are not going to advertise that fact. It sure would be nice if they did. How much easier would it be if all criminals walked around in black and white stripped shirts and a mask over their faces. Just like in the cartoons. But they do not, instead they could be any one of us. They have a way of blending is so they look just like the rest of us.

In conclusion always ask where the beautiful path leads to. It might just be headed towards the city dump.


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