Formicidae and Us
Once upon a time before Digital, I read a story somewhere about a public school biology teacher who arranged for his students to study two ant farms sitting on a table, one with red ants and the other with black ants. Each ant colony went about its Formicidae civic duties in efficient antish harmony. Then came the day when the teacher demonstrated what would happen if he placed a stick across the gap between the two colonies, allowing them to encounter each other: All hell broke loose. In the intervening years, I have often asked myself: So, which ant colony was responsible for the violence? The reds ants or the black ants? The Hatfields or the McCoys?
Today I chanced upon a Washington Post story about the escalating enmity in Cameroon between Francophones and Anglophones. Here we go again, I thought. At any given time, all over the earth, there are dozens, maybe hundreds, of human societies engaged in grim struggles over cultural and linguistic dignity and hegemony. These battles rarely resolve in a way that improves anyone’s lives; typically, as they grind on and on, they seem destined mainly to fatten the profits of armaments makers and weapons sellers and everyone else in that food chain who makes money from the conflict industry. But you already knew that.
Meanwhile, something else you already knew: All over the earth, there are also innumerable pockets of reconciliation where people of all ages, faiths, colors, and genders are joyously engaged in practicing to build a culture of partnership, peace, and one justice for all.
Politicians are only going to practice building a partnership-oriented world when we teach them how. We can enhance our odds by taking the NO MORE ENEMIES meme viral. Make a sign that says NO MORE ENEMIES and add your location, if you like. Take a selfie and post it on social media and let’s get going and redesign our species. We can do this. We are not Formicidae.
(To be continued…)