The 7 Legged Spider

One of the problems of having 8 eyes is that we are not sure as to how to wink. With 4 eyes on each side of the face there are 15 possible ways. Each clan has its own signature winking style(In this globalised world, clans are analogous to what you call as cultures, I am not using the world culture as the number of different practises we have can be counted on fingertips). In our clan, we wink by closing the top, the second and the bottom one.

The art of eye-contact also varies with clans, and is more strictly followed. As we are essentially clothless, looking anywhere but the eyes might lead to troubles, you know what I mean. 😀 The problem of eye contact is more complicated than that of winking. You people have only 1 set of eyes and so you dont appreciate the sophistications involved. Imagine you are being photographed by a number of cameras simultaneously. Now when you look at the pictures, you will notice that in one and only one picture, your eyes are looking at the camera, in all others you will be looking somewhere else. That is the problem that we have to face, if the spider you are talking to and you do not look at each other simultaneously, you both are at a loss.

Now let me tell you how eye contact works out in our specie. There are three phases in the process 1) Initialisation, 2) Synchronisation and 3) Execution. Whenever two spiders or a group of spider meet, one of them, usually the host announces that he is about to initialise. You see with 4 set of eyes, we have a nibble. The top pair is the MSB of the nibble and the bottom one is the LSB. Opening an eye is 0(default state) and closing is 1(excited state). So in the initialisation phase, the host signals a 16 bit code by opening and closing some pairs of eyes to signal a code, and signalling 4 such codes at the intervals of 2 seconds. So this 16 bit code indicates which type of eye contact mechanism is to be used. Now that every spider knows which mechanism is to be used, the host conveys an 8-bit synchronisation code(01100000), every spider tries to synchronise to the host’s eyes using this synchronisatin code. And once all of them are synchronised host conveys a 4-bit all one code(1111) and then starts the execution phase in which the eye-contact mechanism decided in the initialisation phase is put into actual execution. Now one might wonder why such a complicated mechanism? The reason is that in the dark ages, when different clans were isolated, each of them generated their own mechanism, but as the world got smaller, and as no one was willing to drop their identity and adopt others’, such a mechanism had to be created.

However, we have one benefit over your specie. A handicapped spider like me is not stigmatised as in your case. Now you might think what difference a lost leg would make, when 7 others are working fine. This is where you underestimate the world around you.

Let me give you an idea of the intricate art involved in weaving the spider net. Its similar to a painter painting on a canvas sheet. We both have to select a canvas(a suitable place to weave the net), we both have to have brushes(legs in our case, imagine the trouble a painter encounters when he has to paint with one of his brush missing), and for both of us the first stroke matters the most. Both our livelihoods depends on how perfect the painting is made, in my case its an even direct relation. And both of us have to keep aside the thoughts of livelihoods when creating our arts to generate our best masterpieces.

Everything is an art, even the engineering which you are so proud of.

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