*Random post inspired by an army of ants in my kitchen*
The army marches in single file, lockstep in perfect synchronicity. Their single purpose in life gives them intense focus. From day one, they never question the meaning of their existence but rather dutifully perform their work. They are hunters, pure and simple. Their sole mission: Feed the queen.
They search for food and water. Often, they will send out straggling ants who serve as scouts to randomly search for nourishment. Once the discovery is made, the army gathers in unison and initiates their path to deliver the new bounty to their queen. The stragglers all unite with this singular mission – there are no rebels, misfits or challengers disloyal to the queen. Essentially, they operate as a SWAT team. They have a clearly defined goal and no one deviates from the operation. M.I.A. is not in their DNA. With discipline that would be the envy of the mightiest military force, they attack the task at hand and no one dares step out of line. Each knows his role. They follow a carefully planned path to and from their target to safely deliver the prize to their queen. They move at the same pace and appear to be guided by a track. It is an absolutely astonishing display of uniformity, discipline and devotion.
It is precisely due to this unwavering loyalty which makes the following scenario so stunning, indeed, tragic. Man has brilliantly created a method to infiltrate the queen with our own trojan horse. We offer up a tantalizing bait, unbeknownst to the loyal army, of poison. The ants dutifully follow their procession, marching back to the queen with what they believe to be nourishment for their beloved supreme mother. But, in shocking contradiction, they are effectively delivering her death sentence. It is a precious betrayal that ultimately leads to treason at the highest level. When Caesar decried “Et tu, Brutus?” in his dying moments, it symbolized one of history’s greatest betrayals. But which is the greater example of treason – the violation of trust purposely or the breach of trust obliviously? Brutus displayed his infamous double-cross with the former intention, and the ants innocently delivered their death sentence with the latter. Both had similar end results – the ultimate death of their leader. The former has an element of malice whereas the latter of sad tragedy. It’s treachery (and heartbreaking!) either way, but it’s doubly painful when the victim realizes the betrayal is with full intent. Knowing someone within your own inner social circle has turned on you has to be devastating.
And so, as I watch this procession to the death to rid my ant problem in my kitchen, I implore you my dear Queen Ant, please show mercy to your innocent army that fed you your death. It was with the best of intentions, absent of malice – they were simply following their marching orders.