Monday, December 04, 2006

Love In The Ant Farm

Imagine an ant farm, a very large, lavishly decorated ant farm. Lines of ants work steadily, hauling minute crumbs from the piles throughout the farm. Busy ants balancing bits of twig and bark as they keep perpetually busy building nothing, but always in the process of preparation should the need ever arise. Their motivated little teams take breaks in unison by the human made still pools of water, so they can rescue the ones who trip over the tiny rocks scattered here and there, when they fall into the water.

But even in the ant farm, groups separate themselves from the others. The corners of the farm are not common territory, and what boundaries there may be, are visible only to the ants, who attack in their industrious warrior teams the minute that unseen line is crossed. How these decisions to group are made, is impossible to discern, even after hours and days and weeks of watching, hoping for some clue, some insight into their little ant minds. It is possible they do not even know themselves.

Now imagine one particular group of ants in one distant corner. These ants are different than the rest, not in appearance, but in something else, the something which brought them all to the same corner. They do not just work; they work and philosophize. They work and speculate. They work and dream. And as they do so, they create in their minds that which they imagine.

But imagination, once set loose, demands a physical response, a real world thing which can be touched and known and felt. And within this restlessness, this desire to move the twig a bit off balance, or to take it perhaps on a different trail, emerges one particular ant, the most restless of them all. This ant cannot traverse the same trail day after day, always carrying the load on the same shoulder. This ant cannot be satisfied with an accidental fall into the pool; it must immerse itself day after day in the hope of tasting a different, previously untasted drop of water.

Now imagine this ant one day, realizing its life was impossible, its world too small, packing up all its dreams and expanding beyond the invisible lines of its own safe boundary. But instead of terror at encountering its first different ant, its first ant from one of the other corners, it approaches this stranger with respect and curiosity. It offers a taste of its dreams in greeting.

Since ants rarely travel alone, it meets a response not in the first ant spoken to, but to one hidden in the group, way back down the line holding the end of the stick. This ant at the end, hears something in the stranger ant's dream. It hears its own unspoken dreams. And since these particular ants who work on the fringe of the accepted group boundaries are generally fair to diverse opinions within their own group, they take the stranger ant into their own corner simply because one of their own saw something they could not yet see.

Now...imagine the whole process started from the beginning, only this time it is in another corner of the ant farm, and it will be a different ant who will go forth and seek out yet another corner to explore. Eventually these groups will interconnect and become one group because in each group will be an ant from home, a familiar ant who will bring in those who saw something it could not see.

This is what it takes for change to take place in the world.

Design from Ursine Logic Changing hearts and minds one t-shirt at a time


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You left out the Ant Eater coming along and screwing the whole thing up.

You also did not take into consideration the mean little kid who takes the ant farm and shakes the sh*t out of it just for fun.

There has to be safeguards so the ant farm will survive.