Tuesday, March 13, 2007

You need us

A Japanese friend told me today that she read about some studies done with ants, in which the researcher discovered that 20% of the ants in a colony are lazy. They don't work. They are useless slackers.

The researcher then removed the lazy ants to see what would happen, and what happened was that 10 - 20% of the remaining ants became lazy. So he kept doing it, and it kept happening, until finally I guess he was only left with Type-A ants, because they all started arguing and fighting each other.

I don't know how accurate this story is. I tried looking it up and only found information about a slightly different experiment, and an abstract about some further research based on the original research. (I did find an irrelevant but rather amusing little exchange on Yahoo Answers, though.) However, the lack of facts does not in any way prevent me from having a theory about this. It never does.

My theory is that the 'lazy' ants are not lazy. They are dreamers. They are the peace-loving hippies, the philosophers, and the thinkers of ant society. They probably meditate, write haiku, have little guitars, and give out free hugs. They are perpetual students of the world around them. They stop to smell the roses, read a lot, stargaze, pick their noses, and write songs about how the rain makes them feel.

Every society needs dreamers. Take away the dreamers and everybody else kills each other. The dreamers give you an outlet, quite aside from the poetry and music. You need to have somebody to complain about. "USELESS LAYABOUT!" you can yell as you rush off to work. "GET YOUR FAT ARSE OFF THE SOFA AND DO SOMETHING!"

And you feel much better. If you hadn't been able to do that, you would have had to kick the cat, and that would be ... catastrophic. The cat would bite a dog, the dog would chase a car and cause an accident, the drivers would blame each other and start a fight, and so on. Society would break down within days.

My friend and I discovered, upon reflection, that we are the human equivalent of lazy ants. When the government gets sensible and institutes a decent welfare system for our previously unrecognized but necessary category of people, we'll be the first to sign up.

You NEED us.


Wiccachicky said...

I LOVE it!!! What a great little story to brighten up my day.

kenju said...

I love it too. Now I know what Mr. kenju should be called.....a dreamer. LOL

Pkchukiss said...

I have another theory: those ants are politicians; they campaign for office under the Royal Ant Queen, and are there to tell the other ants what to do.

As they say, it is tough for the Queen to run an entire colony on her own, she relies on greedy underlings to boss the other ants around.

Faerunner said...

If they're instituting welfare for the chronically lazy, would anyone show up at all? :P

That said, I might get away from the computer long enough to take advantage of it!

Keera Ann Fox said...

I have yet another theory: They aren't lazy; they're efficient. If you want something done the easiest way possible, ask a (so-called) lazy person. One of my co-worker appreciates my unwillingness to work harder than necessary; I usually come up with a way to do something with the least amount of effort.

If the lazy ants are truly lazy (just song-writing and stuff :-) ), they may be forcing/inspiring the other ants to figure out how to make 80 do the work of 100, which is also a way to gain efficiency.

Paula said...

Ha! That's great. :)

Radioactive Jam said...

I started working on a nice, clever comment but then I thought, "Meh."

Lia said...

Great theory! I must remember that for future explanations of why laziness is a virtue.

Pearl said...

That's a fabulous story, and conclusion.

Lippy said...

I think it's marvellous how human beings can rationalize absolutely anything... thankfully!!