Hey Baz, long time no speak...hope your scaly crew's all good.
Anyway, of course you're right about the myths that abound in the Pakistani and Indian community, although for the first time, I have a better understanding for my mother's intense fear and hatred of snakes.
Having done a lot of research on venomous snakes (for my own edification, I don't intend to maintain these in my home) over the last year or so, and later finding myself in their presence at places like the Indian River Reptile Zoo...I can understand the basis of the fear. Wonderful, beautiful and ecologically important these animals may be, but they also have the potential to cause great harm and suffering when uninformed humans come into contact with them, or even informed people who tangle with them by accident or other misadventure.
The fear and loathing which I once found foolish, I now see has a rational basis. Those aren't garter snakes hanging out on the subcontinent, something that someone such as myself, living in Toronto my whole life, can't quite get my head around.
That said, over the years my mother has made a lot of progress. She can admire snakes when they're securely caged, and has held lizards in her bare hands, overcoming a lifetime of fear.
As for your philosophical take on it all, I think that's kind of a long and circuitous route towards compassion for your fellow human beings, but I suppose better the long route than no route at all. Cynical as ever, I will say this much; I've met a lot of reptile keepers. Some of them are truly intelligent, insightful and admirable people. I've met just as many who are ignorant or just plain stupid. In most cases, I don't think keeping reptiles is going to make someone reflect on deeper meanings the way you evidently do.
In my opinion, people are people no matter what kind of hobby they happen to pursue, and aren't easily improved upon. Luckily, it's not impossible for people to better themselves. I guess that makes me an optimist.