Are we the greatest species on Earth?
Danny Big Balls…
As a species, we often pride ourselves on the marvels of our vasts accomplishments and all the things we’ve managed to accomplish with the use of only our minds, our bodies and our ability to collaborate with one another.
I mean how many countless award ceremonies do we have to reward ourselves and massage our egos, either as individuals or multinational corporations? How many of our holiday destination are geared towards oogling at the feats of those who came before us? How much of our television broadcasting is dedicated to giving a thumbs up to just how awesome we can be if we put our minds to it? How many of our subjects in schools are based around human derived concepts?
We render ourselves fortunate that we have been able to remove the need to survive in our environment (that all other creatures have) and develop in other fields, like the ability to do all this weird shit like fly, communicate across the internet, sing, dance and write and all that bollocks.
But considering the amount of time we’ve had on this planet, are we that far more advanced than anything else?
I used to think, Fuck yeah, alongside everyone else, we must be, right?
Meet Ronny Horse cock
Then on the dawn of the youtube era, I remember being sent a video to watch by one of my work colleagues, it was the one below
Now one of the very first things I want to mention here is that Science and research can be a real bitch and in order to uncover what they did, some bastard decided to wipe out potentially millions of ants in one swoop.
Now I would hate for some benevolent being to come up to us and pour lead in my house in order to Go ‘Oooh, these simple creatures had free pornography on their wired information electronic systems, how cute’.
So it was a bit of a dickish thing to do but in the grand scheme of things, probably doesn’t matter too much. I wouldn’t even be writing this if they didn’t, so fair dos
The second is I was completely and utterly stunned that any other creature on this planet, let alone fucking ants were capable of working on this kinda scale and with this much order as well.
When they unveiled the size of the actual colony and that they roughly moved 40 tons worth of dirt in order to get it to this level, I couldn’t get my head around it. 40 fucking tons? With no equipment. That’s like carrying three cars worth of weight on your back and plonking it somewhere else.
I mean look at it, I find it absolutely extraordinary. It looks like an ant version of metropolis
Now think, all of this was developed because of a synergy of a group of insects who needed each other in order to survive. Just pretty much a simple vision brought to life over god knows how long.
I just think it’s kinda sad that you look at some of the things we have done with our time on this planet and how long its taken us to get that far and what we relatively simple organisms are able to do. Kinda puts a big poo poo stain on all our achievements me thinks…
Just imagine their potential if they no longer had to worry about surviving and where their next meal was coming from and not worrying about getting attacked. Which direction would this level of organisation ultimately take them? Scaringly, how little time would they take to get there with that level of social cohesion?
Mind you, this is only one colony that was found, imagine the potential size of others not leaded to shit.
Touche Ronny, touche…
So this got me thinking about ants in general and I started to read up on them on wiki, I won’t bore you with the relevant information but they appear to be pretty cool animals with alot of intelligence in the way they operate. The article is listed below alongside some supporting articles if you are interested.
I was surprised to find they’ve adapted to survive on pretty much every continent on the planet and make up the weight of approximately 1/4 of all living creatures on earth. That’s the very same size as Kanye West’s ego!!!!
They are also pound for pound one of the strongest animals and also have the largest brains for their sizes too. Plus some of those bitches can fucking fly, fly dag nammit!!! What more could you ask for?
I wouldn’t be very much surprised if Aliens did land on this planet and bypassed humans to communicate with something which seems to have a better sense of order and synergy with its surroundings.
It’s no wonder science fiction continues to use intelligent bugs in one fashion or another as the base for an extraterrestrial threat. You never see Shetland style ponies from another planet starring in a sci fi flick do ya?
All in all remarkable creatures with vast potentials (the ants, not the alien ponies).
Are they potentially better?
This really got me thinking. Would we operate better as a species if we took up the same eusocial model as these superorganisms?
Just think of all we could achieve if we all moved towards a common goal rather than the disgruntled shattered societies we have now.
We may think we have evolved as civilizations over the last few millennia but only the goal posts have moved. We’re still knee deep in the same old problems we’ve always had. Take this
“Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.
Written by Socrates thousands of years ago but feels like it was written yesterday right??
I mean we still have poverty for God’s sake
As Nelson Mandela rightly pointed out in 2005?
“Poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.”
“Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life. While poverty persists, there is no true freedom.”
“Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom. Of course the task will not be easy. But not to do this would be a crime against humanity, against which I ask all humanity now to rise up.”
This is made even more poignant considering the major countries in the west throw away enough food daily to feed the world seven times over (see my thoughts on food here).
We can’t even feed everyone, we fight over the most petty shit, we argue over literally anything, can’t keep children in line, spend more time distrusting one another rather than working together and derive joy from the most brain numbing activities out there.
Let’s not even get started on what Agent Smith thinks of us
I just wonder why if we keep making the same mistakes over and over again as a society, why don’t we take up something more productive just to cover those real basic life essentials for everyone? Just for literally a blip of what is considered the age of the universe to fix the fundamental once and for all? There is no good reason why everyone should not be sheltered, fed and educated in this day and age.
You can put a man on the moon if you want but if his brother dies of hunger on earth, than really how far have we come?
Is mimicking their way possible?
Again alot of these eusocial colonies experience a ‘Hive’ Mentality with a shared goal or collective intelligence.
We tend to think that we don’t have that but when you think about it, there could be an argument that while we may not necessarily be born into a role, we are certainly pushed into certain roles based on limited options around us.
For a large majority of people, you can pretty much set out what type of life they will have from the offset.
I mean take this into consideration.
Up until a certain age, the majority are looked after and indoctrinated into an education of the world based on a belief of knowledge expected of us from our respective governments.
Then we get the ability to specialise for those who are wealthy, those who aren’t are spat out, with little to no means of doing anything without obtaining a basic skill with limited monetary value, in order to get paid to supply their basic needs.
So effectively they just go out and perform remedial tasks or labour service sector activities in order to keep their head above board. You ask the majority why they are doing what they are doing and they won’t be able to give you a holistic answer. Most of the time it’s because they were told it was required.
Geographical and spiritual freedom is limited and because they have no other options to obtain value, they are overworked and underpaid.
When you think this equates to over, say 92% of the global population, you tend to wonder whether the majority are actually any better than worker ants in the grand scheme of things.
The rest of us with some level of skill are either trust into the realm of entertainment in order to preoccupy the mass worker ants into keeping them complacent with their state of life.
This fills the somewhat soldier role or protecting the masses type thing.
While the super few fortunate mould the world into what they wish with the invention of arbitrary value measurements of all things and the general basic thought process to consume as much of everything of value as possible in order to obtain the most power
Again very similar to what the Queen ant really does.
So our societies don’t tend to be that much different to ant colonies in the grand scheme of things.
Yet like I pointed out earlier, we tend to fall short of their dedication to the cause. Is the very basic nature of survival an integral part of what makes us align and evolve?
Most military organisations tend to run in an eusocial fashion in order to survive Conflict
You only have to look at any major period in war and there you would find the majority of the key technological advancements in history. The inherent fear of being killed by another ‘colony’ was all that was required to replicate the eusocial behaviours shown in ants, to solve specific issues.
I just wonder the scale and type of external conflict required in order to resolve our fundamental global issues. It’s amazing how quickly we can pull resources together to solve a crisis when faced with the brink of extinction?
Is there anything that makes us better?
So there appears to be one things these super organisms have yet to appreciate and while they all work in a great organised fashion in order to survive, they don’t appear to have anything along the lines or art.
Art is ultimately the legacy of any decent species.
It provides the quality of one’s life, the difference between living and being alive. Surviving and existing.
So when does an organism stop thinking about survival and start thinking about obtaining artistic values?
If you think of a human being as a complex set of individual living entities, we are made up of billion of individual cells made to perform different simple functions (in the same way colonies of ants are designated with unique functions), then the majority of our cells are indeed built for survival. When do we have the time to generate the cells required for reason, expression and obtaining value in the essence of that we do not need in order to survive.
When can we expect another species to adopt these sorts of traits as well? I would love to hear an ant tell another ant a Joke.
The only potential hiccup to a eusocial eutopia
Is the problem with us actually our greatest asset, the ability to choose?
Alot of insects are born to perform a specific functions and will carry out that function till their dying day. They effectively creating a caste system.
We have seen in many cultures the impact it has being designated a certain caste at birth. It usually the inability to leave a caste (or the stigma associated with it if one has moved) that causes the concern. You only have to look at the roles slaves (or as it has now been rebranded as globalization via an outsourced foreign labour force) have had on pretty much every civilization since the dawn of mankind.
When most people speak of the wrongs of caste systems, they think of the Hindu religion and the many stories we hear in the news and from our respective friends of people being unable to marry people from other castes. Even in these time,s society has a hard time accepting the marriage of royalty to people without noble blood.
I think it boils down to a few things.
First it stands in the way of the capitalist meritocracy that if you work hard, you can rise up from nowhere and do anything. This in itself is clearly bullshit but its this belief that actually keeps people complacent I believe because there is a hope to escape. You tend to find when there is no hope is actually when a group of people are more likely to try and force a change for the better.
I think it is also due to the fact that not all castes are viewed or perceived to have an equal value in the overall livelihood of the culture.
Like in most societies (and corporate models), you have this pyramid of power with the largest section of society with the least power and as you go up, less and less people hold increasingly more and more power.
Again, this is why we spend much time in the mourning of national figures yet hundreds and thousands of people like you and I die without the world stopping. Because of this, the lower you social status, the less you seem ton contribute to society and the less people give a shit about anything you have to input. Unfortunately this is just the world we are born into and it’ll take a lot to turn those pyramids into squares.
With regards to the ant colony, It has the same type status. A colony would soon die out without a queen yet there are potentially hundreds and thousands of worker ants. So a loss of a worker ant is not detrimental to a society.
Is there anything we can take from Eusocial behaviour?
However, I think there is something that comes back to this notion of working for survival.
In this period of time, I believe each ant genuinely believes internally that their role is of great value to the whole. In the same way we don’t appear to rank our senses, we accept each one is just as important as the other in experience life as a whole. A queen could not survive on her own and neither could a worker ant. They work together because they need to and just because an entity is destined to have a certain role doesn’t mean they are valued any less than anyone else. They have genuine role equality in their society. Everyone is important and you work to support everyone else, just not yourself. Your deeds are reinforced with Honour.
You don’t have look too far to see Honour is something we lack in our climate.
It is also a very human trait we have that in order to obtain a sense of self value, we reduce the values of those around us and create this state of suppression.This is perhaps what happens when genuine survival is taken out of the equation and a colony starts to exist in harmony or dominate its surroundings.
It’s also in our nature for the undervalued to lose sight of what they are actually doing and the impact of it all and focus more on the boot you are under, forcing you down while they harvest the fruits of your labour.
As they say the devil makes work of idles hands and when complacency of the impact of outside forces comes into play, the mind turns to see the culprits coming from within.