There’s a saying in Hindi, अब चींटी के भी पर निकल आये हैं? (Wait, so now ants have grown wings)? It’s invoked to express surprise that a small, tiny little creature has also learn to fly. But here’s the thing…some ants do have wings.
Today is day 25 of #LivingDeeply. These few days, I will talk about the self. Knowing our own selves is today’s topic.
We try to fit into our society. Everyone does, and not many people succeed at it. There’s somehow an implied logic that people need to fit into the crowd. This is damaging to the people who try to fit in, and also to the crowd itself. A sameness is a sign of weakness.
We can’t fit into a uniform society. Each of us is different from another, but we try to hide our light, our genius, because we don’t want to stand out and be seen as a troublemaker. Slowly, we learn to walk like the others, talk like the others, think like the others, and feel like the others. It’s convenient, if soul crushing.
Marauder ants are native to India. This type of ant can come in a very wide range of sizes, from 1.3mm to something that’s 10 times larger or 500 times heavier. They may not even look alike, and some might even have wings.
Each ant in this colony serves a purpose. There is the queen ant, of course, which lays the eggs. There are minor workers, tiny little bugs, that take care of the larvae as they grow. They have the massive major workers which have large heads and scary looking “teeth”, and these take care of fighting off the neighbors. Each ant can be different, and each type of ant has a role to play in the society.
Imagine that tiny minor ant. What if it decides that it’s a shameful thing to take care of larvae, and it would rather be out fighting wars. It wouldn’t be too good at it. Just the reverse, that huge Major worker ant is unlikely to be allowed to enter the larvae-den because they are too huge. So, if the major ant wants to fit in with the smaller brothers, it’s just not going to happen.
What am I? What am I here for? How can I contribute in a way that honors my own self and is useful to the society? An ant doesn’t need to think about this question, it already knows the answer to it. Why is it that as the smartest species on this planet, we are not taught to know the first thing about ourselves?
If you’re the ant that has the wings, it’s your job to fly. Don’t fit in with the other marauders.