2011-04-24

The Little Ant with the Criminal Mind (10/28)


(10/28) The little ant had other things to consider in his project to unite the captive exiles into some kind of community.  There were other captives among the black ants, for example the pink ants and the orange ants.  Would it be possible to unite all of the captives?  It was not easy to tell, not easy to tease apart which aspects of the behavior of the pink ants, for example, were part of their original culture and which were part of their effort to assimilate with the black ants’ culture or what they had borrowed from black ant culture.  For example, if he saw a pink ant eating fermented flower pollen, was it because he had done that back at his own original colony, or because the black ants did it, or was he trying to carry out a pink ant ritual using what new materials were available, or was it something altogether new and original?  Was it possible to find a set of pheromones, a set of foods that they could all eat, and a way for them all to communicate this new “culture” to one another and to newcomers so that this new culture would be able to go on from there?

(10/28)  The little ant marveled in retrospect about how social awkwardness was more fearful than death.  There were several times where he had very nearly died in an accident and during the accident he was able to think clearly and sidestep danger despite the very real threat of dying while the mere fact of being caught in one of his reveries filled him with untold fear and embarrassment.  For example there was the time when there were excavating around a pebble and he was clearing earth from underneath it and it began to settle.  He leaped away and had he not in that very instant done so he would have been pinned and crushed and the tunnel would have led ants marching around past his dried-out remains.  Another time he was adding water to a water droplet and it got too big and burst.  He had been directly beneath it a moment before but had moved away and had he still been there he would have been enveloped by the water and drowned.  And yet he was not choked with fear either at that time or upon reflection afterwards.

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