COMMENTARY: Wisdom of the Ants

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 01 May) — They’re small and insignificant, but mind you, you cannot be careless around them.

These days one finds these little creatures anywhere. It has been said that the weight of all ants in the world is equal to the weight of all humans. Though of course there’s no scientific evidence that will support such claim, still, sometimes it can be unsettling to have them around our domicile, crawling in every nook and corner, and sometimes even on our food if we are not careful in keeping keep them out.

After all, they’re only doing their job.

They come in all colors and sizes, though the toughest and meanest of them all are the “red fighters” who are supposedly the queen ant’s guards-in-waiting. If you happen to unknowingly step on any of their troop members or inadvertently stumble on their hill while they’re busy gathering food on a cloudy day and you carelessly stepped on their lot, you better brace for the harshest “resbak”.

At home we somehow managed to have a peaceful co-existence with these little creatures. It’s not that we like them around, but then one just has to put up with them at this time in summer, or at any time at all because then, they too have their place under the sun and we just can’t continue with having to try to exterminate them every time.

Perhaps I have come to learn to respect their existence, having realized that no amount of wiping them away will eliminate them forever, simply because they are very much a part of our world, like it or not.

So very like a situation in our society where the small and the “weak” have bonded together to protect their interests against big, moneyed, corporate greed. Many people would agree that if the poor unites and fights back, it’s against the law of man.
But we don’t have to go back to the stories of the Bible and how Jesus preached about Justice and love for the poor, out in the hills, and not in “synagogues” or in His time the house of worships for the Jews (in our time in air-conditioned churches).

The wisdom of the Ants and other creatures that are living in colonies points to the fact that when it comes to protecting the interests of the overall populace for survival, and not only for the satisfaction of a few, they will fight to the death. This kind of reaction is akin to human instinct which, when threatened or facing danger, humans naturally take up a defensive stance.

Never really one who is religious to the point of conservatism, but I believe some of our leaders, whether in government or so—called spiritual guardians sometimes overlook something so vital to our existence.

National leaders sometimes tend to ignore the fact that social injustices do exist, choosing to close their eyes and ears to the realities of the small people, the insignificant, the “scum of the earth”, those who scrounge for their daily survival, sleep on pavements and esteros, lying their weary bodies on cold cement having nothing to eat…

It is more convenient for the haves to dismiss the protestation of the small workers who demand for just wages, or the farmers who are endlessly tied to usurious practices of landlords who have grabbed what little piece of land they have, in the first place, for their big business.

So then, when things get to be too much to bear for the little people and they have no other choice but fight, they won’t care at all if blame is heaped upon them? What matters for these little people are family and love and their dignity and humanity.

They do not possess wealth or big business to protect, nor do they need these things. And so there’s no other choice too for the greedy but to accept that in our society these people exist, like it or not.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Gingging Avellanosa-Valle is a freelance writer who is a social realist out to challenge ‘standard’ or common ideas with sometimes unsettling propositions).