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Looking closely at ANTS 

I know I have not popped in here since quite some time, but I was just waiting for some profound fact to be thrown into my face, because that really is my true inspiration to write.   I just don’t find myself able to blog about the irritating colleague, or last night’s dinner, I find these too mundane. Or it’s just because I am not so social. Anyways, I finally experienced a few moments of deep reflection last night while watching an amazing documentary on National Geographic, ‘The City of Ants’. 

The documentary was magnifying the lives of these ordinary creatures whose lives are anything but ordinary. Their structure and the chemical mechanisms within it are so intricately woven that I was baffled. They are known to have some unique capabilities and what sets them apart from most insects is their social behaviour. They thrive in communities and believe in group coordination to achieve their purpose. They don’t believe in individualistic goals. They divide work amongst themselves and their appearance decides what work they are best suitable for. They identify other classes of ants by their smell. So there are various classes of ants such as the carpenters or maintenance worker ants and army ants who are headed by a queen or queens. The queen ants ensure that the generation of ants in her colony never die by laying thousands of eggs. That’s their sole purpose of life. While the male ants have only one role- to mate with the queen, after which most of them die. 

A fact that really turned on my ‘reflection mode’ was that how these creatures thrive amidst all the dangers of the environment. Group work, ants joining for a common cause, fighting together, that’s what does the trick. 

The biologist on screen was explaining that their social behaviour is very much similar to ours. But I feel that they are better off than us humans. They have a fixed purpose of life, while most of us don’t even know what we are doing day after day, year after year. Most of us are just living, biding time, but how many of us have defined a purpose for ourselves? Even those who define goals, they sometimes face defeat or don’t really enjoy the contentment even after being victorious. What could the reason be? It is because our goals and purposes are individualistic and self-centered, unlike ants. And because we are self-centered, we have nobody accompanying us on our downtrodden paths. That’s where we fall flat. 

So what is your purpose in life? Do you want luxury, fame, goodwill, happiness? Do you aim to be a helper, a political or religious leader, an owner of a business empire, the head of a happy family? 

I think it’s time we set our priorities or we can just settle into our fruitless monotony. Unlike ants, we atleast have a choice. 

Photograph credits: Andri Priyadi