2011-04-24

The Little Ant with the Criminal Mind (10/29)


(10/29) How was the little ant going to hatch his plan?  What did he have control over?  Very little.  What was he constrained by?  Very little.  This was a big change from his life in his old home colony of red ants.  He was smallish, so he couldn’t do as much work as the other captives anyway.  He reasoned about which aromatic substances they might gather.  He seemed to be relatively immune to the effects of most pheromones generally.  His inability to instinctively “read the air” which had been such a curse, a millstone, back in his home colony was starting to look like a positive boon here in his new environment as a captive red ant among the black ants – he could easily resist their efforts to control him.  He was free to choose to work as he was “expected” by the new colony or he could choose to do as he liked anywhere and everywhere.  The black ants were relatively lazy in their efforts to control their captive slaves and to extract useful work from them.  Unlike at the red ant colony, and indeed here at the black ant colony among the black ants themselves, the pheromones and one’s fellow ants under the influence of said pheromones exerted a strong, nay, lethal pressure on the individual to conform and to perform, and most individuals seemed to do so without thinking.  The little ant had always lived in desperate fear of slipping up and failing to give the correct impression to one and all that he had the picture, that he was following the pheromones.  In black ant captivity, all their captors did was place certain aromatic piles of certain herbs and other materials around and have a few “sentries/taskmasters” who had gorged on these and other materials so that their bodies exuded pheromones which caused the captives to work at certain activities, for example excavating and clearing rubble and rubbish and following the taskmasters’ trail out to the midden or to the rubble pile.  There were no ants dedicated to enforcement and the other captives did not care either if any ant were not toeing the line, so to speak.

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