About this blog

This Blog is named after an ancient gnoseological riddle which hints hidden, disseminated, omnipresent wisdom.
I invite you to search, listen and observe with me for "the word of tree, whisper of stone, and humming together of the abyss and stars."


Surprising personality

Just imagine that almost all of us have another person living next to us in our apartments, cleaning our crumbs and occasionally also stealing from our cookie jars or causing some other minor mischief. Imagine that that person is living right in front of you and with you: in the wall, between the bricks, under the floor boards or behind the drywall. No, I am not getting peculiar or paranoid or both. Earlier this summer the Proceedings of The Royal Society B published an article documenting that ant nests of the same species (in that case rock ants - Temnothorax Rugatulus) develop different yet lasting behavioral traits depending on their environment and their prior experiences. In one word, not individual ants, but ant-nests have personalities: a nest becomes a person!
    I remember hearing something like that three decades ago from a family friend and naturalist/entomologist based just on his elemental observations. When you think about it, it actually makes very good sense. Social insects achieve high levels of cooperation and cohesion - their hives and nests often act as one entity. Now, let us do a little mathematics - an average ant worker has about 250,000 neurons; depending on the size of the nest (anything between several hundred to millions and even hundreds of millions of ants) it can have a combined neuronal capacity anywhere between a dog (hundreds of millions of neurons) all the way to a small team of scientists or even a medium-sized scientific institute (billions and trillions of neurons)!
    Ant nests clearly have the neuronal capacity to develop personality, and now it has been scientifically documented that they do this very thing. The biblical Book of Proverbs (30:25) made a similar observation many centuries ago: Ants are a nation without much strength, yet they are able to plan and store food for a lean season. Come this Sunday as we continue to reconnect with the ancient spiritual wisdom of our faith and celebrate not only ants but the all-embracing mystery of life. We will celebrate the life-giving spirit, a divine spark which we humans share with all creatures, large and small.

And next time you see an ant, perhaps even several of them, invading your home or kitchen, please consider mechanical cleaning of your detritus and crumbs rather than a cocktail of chemical poisons in a spray. It might kill off ants efficiently and quickly, but also quietly, inconspicuously, little by little, poison you and all our environment. With ant colonies we might share personality, but with individual ants we certainly share the divine spark of life, the same molecular physiology of life.

No comments: