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The Socialists in My Backyard

Posted by on May 27, 2013

Yeah, I’m OK with the Socialists in my backyard.

To be candid, I’m more than OK with it, I put them there, I’m giving them free room and board, and I hope they stay. Thousands of Socialists in my backyard, and I’m helping them out. I must being going insane.

Honey bees are socialists – every single damn one of them – and I’m fascinated by it. I’m fascinated because I can’t imagine what it’s like to live as part of a collective; always working in complete harmony with the thousands of others around you. You never want more or less than you have, being perfectly content to take your assigned place, and work you entire life until you die – all for the good of the colony.

Call me a capitalist pig, but I just can’t see wanting that little from life, and working tirelessly for the good of the whole and nothing else. Hey, I think a little pro-bono work is an important part of one’s life, but this kind of selflessness stuns me. I’m not referring to the selflessness of giving of yourself as you would to your family or your community. It’s more of having no “self” – or no sense of self. I need to know I’m an individual, and have control over my own destiny. I need to have a sense of “self”.

But honey bees are different creatures than humans. They don’t operate as individuals. They don’t have a concept of self, just of the colony. It shouldn’t be so hard for me to grasp this. Nature has quite of few of these creatures; ants included. But yet, I struggle to think of their lives. So meaningless to me, but I am sure, full of purpose to them. They start working moments after being born, and for 90% of the hive that are workers, they die on the job, flying until their wings disintegrate.

I have grown to have great respect for them. For their tireless work. For their sense of duty to the colony. And for their lack of “self” that allows the colony to exist. I respect them, I am fascinated by them, but I don’t want to be them.

To each their own.

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