On ants, the hive mind and humanity.

I watched some ants yesterday, they were pulling a piece of pasta across the rug on the floor of my camp here in France. Where ever you sit on this green earth there are ants going about their business. There are some one hundred, thousand, million, billion, trillion or so, working away, terraforming the earth, long before we humans had invented the term. Or even discovered fire.

Ants are eusocial insects. Eusociality is described as the highest level of organisation of animal sociology. It is defined by the following characteristics :- collective brood care, overlapping generations within a colony of adults and a division of labour between reproductive and non-reproductive groups. No gender confusion there. Humans are not eusocial animals. Yet!? On one level though we are still subject to the hive mind.
The ants I watched didn’t seem to have an identifiable strategy for getting the pasta across the rug. It looked like chaos but every now and then the whole seething mass would seem to take a microscopic movement in the direction of the nest. I watched as a small piece broke off, several ants were attached to it as it moved away from the masses, some fell away whilst others wrestled with it. One and had a definite grip on it even with the others on top. Soon though, all of the others have given up trying and had returned to the big problem. Leaving our heroic ant to get on with the business of bringing the small moresl back to the nest.
The hive mind is like the survival drive. The hive mind is the deepest level of communication. The ant is not thinking ‘Oh I’ve heard of this food source, fancy getting some?’ The ant does it job. It is an ant and it is driven to be its self, in all its ant like ways.

Humans have the same drive. To be our selves, in all of our idiosyncratic possibly neurotic human ways. Self-actualisation is the highest of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. Once all the other needs for food, shelter, safety, intimate relationships and friendships have been met, the last two are for self-esteem and self actualisation.

To put it another way our highest need is to answer the question ‘Who am I?’ Yet in the Modern world to even ask this can seem like folly. A Modern answer to the question of ‘Who am I?’ is, an accidental arrangement of atoms and cells that accidentally became self-aware and capable of creative thought! It was an answer that failed to ease my curiosity even if at that level of thought, scientific rationalism, it’s true.

Body, Mind, and Heart, three different states of being. In the Body state we are clearly separate but in the Heart state the distinction between us becomes less clear. We all know our physical bodies will die, the Heart is the part (that one suspects we all share) that wonders and asks ‘What next?’

Modern thought, again with the scientific rationalism, thinks it has answered the question. Nothing! After you die, nothing, that’s what! Nada! Niet! Zero! Zilch! Lights off! Goodnight! Saionara! Rien! If that a good enough answer for you to go into the world and live a meaningful and beauty full life then great! I’ll look forward to meeting you on the road. I, however, think a more honest answer and it’s my answer is ‘I don’t know what’s next!’ Saying ‘I don’t know affirms the unknown. Modernism is arrogant like that it thinks it knows everything, or at least that everything is knowable.  Postmodernism is somewhat worse but more about that later.

The hive mind is there for us humans. It exists in our culture in our songs and poems. the films and art that we make. We all pull like ants at the piece of pasta that is our collective evolution. Dragging it across the rug of whatever. We may never know the final resting place, but like the ant you just have to be yourself.

Blessings, if you’re into that kind of thing. X

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