Son: Why don’t ants ever get sick?
Lona: Ah yes, very good question son. Here is the long answer. When we closely examine the nature of the ant, we find that each individual ant has only the most bare of neurological structure. Whilst this is constructed very elegantly to allow each individual ant to function in its sphere and toward its purpose, any inference regarding an emergent consciousness within each ant can be entertained only with a generous amount of credulity. Setting aside for the moment any possible teleological reasons for the existence of each individual ant, it does appear that the constituent colony members exist only to further the survival and propagation of the larger group of ants without any objective sign of sentience. Furthermore, the concept of sickness involves both utilitarian and psychological constructs. Sickness can be seen as a sequence of events that cause an entity to have a sub-optimal level of functional vigor. It is highly questionable whether this idea can even apply to a single ant. As the lassitude of encroaching entropy descends upon each colony member, they slow down and they are either pushed aside or even devoured by the larger crush of the arthropodian masses. This cannot truly be seen as sickness because each ant exists only for the survival of the larger whole. As one ant fades, a new ant scuttles in briskly to replace her, reflecting no decrease in teleological purpose, and thus this cannot be considered sickness. Psychological considerations of illness are also likely to be absent in an individual ant that appears to lack even the faintest echoes of self-awareness. If an ant cannot even know it is suffering, can it be said to be sick? Whilst ignorance cannot exactly be said to be bliss in this setting, neither can it be described as a contemplative gaze into the abyss. I hope this was helpful. Love, Mom.
Son: Thanks for the answer, it was enlightening. But are you sure it’s not just because they all have lots of tiny “antybodies” Haha!
Lona: (after a pause)… Ah yes, that must be it 😀
All rights reserved for text- Lona Gynt October 2017