Monday, May 12, 2014

Go to the Ant, You Sluggard

Scripture tells us, "Go to the ant, O sluggard, observe her ways and be wise, which, having no chief, officer or ruler, prepares her food in the summer and gathers her provision in the harvest.  --Proverbs 6:6-8 So the ant's industriousness is recommended to us as a model.

But are there other characteristics of the ant that we might emulate? Here are some thoughts.

1. Ants are opportunists. They roam around looking for a tidbit of something sweet or greasy, and when they find it, they descend on it full tribe, like a locust attack. They don't bypass opportunity. They seize it.

2. Ants are proactive. They manage to seize opportunity because they send scouts out to roam all over the ant domain, looking for any chance encounter with food. They know that you cannot seize an opportunity you don't know about.

3. Ants are team players. If you watch ants, some are communicating with other ants, some are keeping the ant highway systems open with chemical trails, some are managing security (as when the soldier ants come out). As team players, ants are always ready to take one for the team.

4. Ants share everything: Food, shelter, trails, even ant poison, unknowingly. They have huge air conditioned spaces for the young and take care of huge quantities of eggs by assignment.

5. Ants are committed to maintaining the roads scholarship and some of the money must come from this fund. So, when you see these scouts or an entire colony on the move. They know, for example, that storm drains are useful, even though it's not raining right now.

6. Ants are resilient. They bounce back from tragedy with an eagerness to go on again. Think of those tens of thousands of ants you kill with your bug spray can, only to find next day thousands more, each with the same purposefulness and opportunism.

7. Ants persevere. Ever tried to wipe the ants out, to prevent them from coming back? But as long as  you leave the sugar or fat item out, they will soon be on it in huge numbers again and again and again. Ants don't know the meaning of the word surrender.

8. Ants recycle. Ever spray a stream of ant killer, and wipe out a few thousand ants? Then  you came back later only to discover that all the ant bodies were gone. Yes, the ants cleaned them up, took them away so they could recycle their juices. Look for a pile of shriveled up ant bodies near the backdoor.

These, I think, are the cultural strengths and weaknesses of modern societies populated by humans. Maybe we should go to the antlll

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