The Social Nature of Humanity
Ants live in colonies which have definitive structure: younger ants remain near the queen ant and attend her eggs and larva; middle aged ants dig out the nest in which they live; and ants nearly at the end of their life spans can be risked to leave the nest and gather food. Most ants are infertile females, although the colony does produce new queens and drones, whose functions are exclusively for reproduction. Ants communicate by secreting neurotransmitters to each other, a quick and effective method of relaying commands and information. Healthy ants never try to harm any other part of the colony. The entire ant colony is a single organism, and no one ant could function alone the way the colony can.
Dandelions are solitary. While bees and the wind will pass reproductive materials between each individual plant, there is no other interdependence. Each plant can grow roots, leaves, stems, and flowers without help from others. In fact, dandelions must compete with each other for the precious resources of soil and sunlight. A successful dandelion will crowd out other plants, dandelions included, and will produce many seeds. Those seeds will grow into more dandelions that will compete with each other as well.
Humans often fancy themselves as being dandelions, when in fact they are much more like ants. Infants must receive constant care, nourishment, attention, and stimulation, or they will fail to mature. Children spend years and years learning from adults about how the world works, where they fit into it, and what society expects of them. People never stop learning these things. Humans depend on each other for friendship, understanding, love, and well-being at every age. People must all connect with other people to be healthy and to feel alive. People also specialize in society, just as ants do, so that they may provide more advanced goods and services to the society. When people in a society specialize, the farmers may produce more food, the builders can construct more houses, the manufacturers can produce more goods. This has proven more efficient than having each person grow his or her own food, build his or her own house, and create his or her own clothing and furniture.
While ants have neurotransmitters and instinct to communicate to each member of the colony what strategy will be beneficial to the colony, humans have the body of knowledge that all children should be taught. This knowledge consists of appropriate behaviors towards other people, how to take care of one’s self, a set of choices for how to be productive to society, and how to treat and respect nature. When we insufficiently or incompletely pass this knowledge to a child, that child has a social problem and will not be as beneficial to society, and will often detract from it. This knowledge is designed to insure the good of the society’s members by teaching conduct which will have long term improvement of many members. We call this body of knowledge manners, ethics, common sense, wisdom, training, and education.
There are many humans who believe that each person is a dandelion, each must fight with the others for space and food, and be damned those who get in the way. It is nearly impossible to teach someone to respect other people when that person has always found that selfish behavior has been beneficial. While criminals will often fall into this group, they are by no means the majority. A large number of people who have had access to schooling and socialization have discovered ways to take advantage of society, and they do so without understanding or without caring that by harming society they ultimately harm themselves by stunting their own growth and by society finally punishing those who would do it injury. Many people forget the numerous humans who helped them become fully grown, intelligent, and capable, and they simply expect others to do the same without any help. Many people forget how interrelated our society is, and how much we depend on each other.
Dandelions are weak, for they do not defend each other, and they do whatever they can to grow, even at the expense of neighboring identical dandelions. Ants are the most successful genus on earth