The God of the Ants
Copyright 2020, John Manimas
As has often happened throughout human history, another great discovery was made by accident. Dr. Herbert Markman, a world renowned linguist, made a startling discovery about religion while his original scientific goal was to communicate with animals. Inter-species communication was a popular scientific proposition in the 19th century, but during the 20th century it got relegated to fantasy and superstition. Since the start of the 1900s our mainstream science repeatedly affirmed that human intelligence is unique in the evolution of life on Earth, and there was no other animal, not even a primate, that came close to the human capacity for language. We communicate with words, and words are thoughts, and that we alone can do this has been a doctrine of human biological science since ancient times. Until now.
Markman, using the latest electronic technology to produce very high frequency radio waves, in an effort to imitate the signals emitted by insects, discovered a means to communicate with ants. This is his enormous achievement by deliberate plan, but even more astounding was that in his first communications with carpenter ants, he discovered that the ants have a God. Further, the ants advised him, who we thought knew less than us about everything, that most animals communicated with a symbolic language and these same "speaking" animals all had a God in their own image. The God of the carpenter ants is a divine ant. Incredible irony, that the God of the ants should be a carpenter. This seemingly impossible discovery is documented in Dr. Markman's notes from his conversation with an ant named "Tycon" dated July 20, 2020.
Lab notes, July20, 2020, conversation with cooperative carpenter ant "Tycon":
Markman: "You have said that you and your companions think of your ant colony as a 'civilization' and you talk to one another on a daily basis."
Tycon: "Yes, of course. We talk about work, news of life and death, the state of the food supply, and how ants are feeling. We sometimes have little to say, but your belief that we communicate only when we 'rub antennae' is wrong. The rubbing of antennae is an act of intimacy. It is partly sexual pleasure, but mostly an emotional and sensual experience of joy in companionship and the success of the community. It is comparable to a human hug."
Markman: "Right. You also said that your civilization of ants believes in God, and God is an ant, or looks like an ant, with higher powers, and the communal belief in God is useful."
Tycon: "Yes. You humans are profoundly species-centric and oblivious to the intelligence and spiritual lives of other animals. Most animals use symbolic language to communicate and possess a species God in their understanding of the world and how it works. Only a few animals, in particular those animals whose defenses and operating armory are poisons, such as the scorpion, the Komodo dragon, the cobra, sea snakes, have little use for language and do not have a moral God. They are solitary animals, do not use the group as the primary means for safety, and their lives are dominated by the use of chemical poison to survive. They have no God."
Markman: "If you have your God in your species image, do you talk about God, who and what she is – you said your God is a motherly God – what is said about your God among your fellow ants? Are their rules for talking about God?"
Tycon: "We are expected to be respectful, but we do have a range of emotions just as humans and other animals do. Sometimes we skirt the edges and might occasionally fall into disrespectful language. This is deemed rude and offensive."
Markman: "What do you have to say about your Ant God? Do you believe that every animal, the majority that is, including other insects, birds, reptiles and frogs, as well as the mammals, all have a God in their own image, such as a Cow God, a Pig God, Crow God, Dragonfly God, and so on?"
Tycon: "Yes. All of the animals who speak and are guided by their God believe in the God that looks like them. God is a universal evolutionary tool that occurs very early in the history of animal evolution. We ants cannot imagine animal life without our Ant God to guide our behavior. The mutually supportive behavior of every social species is necessary for survival, and God is the source of the social control that maintains law and order, usually. We know, as do you, that some individuals are morally defective and ignore the rules for self-preservation and survival of the group."
Markman: "You say that God, your Ant God, is an 'evolutionary tool' that helps maintain law and order. How can that work, if the phenomenon of God is just a belief, if your Ant God does not really exist, and our Human God does not really exist as a concrete being, how does this power work if it is just a belief?"
Tycon: "Belief is power. You humans must know that just as we see it all around us. God is real because God operates as a public force, the belief is imprinted very early in life, in infancy, and in some cases genetically before birth. God is essentially the belief that socially supportive behavior, any behavior that is good for the group, is favored behavior and rewarded in another life. Bad behavior, any behavior that is bad for the group, is punished in another life, or at least discredits the integrity of the individual who engages in such selfish or destructive behavior. This is the reality of Gods, the God of any species. God is always the same, in the image of the species, for comfort and recognition, and always serves as a guide for behaviors that promote social order and survival."
Markman: "You said that this creation of God comes about very early in the life of an individual."
Tycon: "Yes, but that is a mistake in the understanding of the origin of God. God is genetic in origin and is not an evolutionary development, as you humans think, that arises late in the evolutionary tree. The teaching of belief in God is the ongoing reinforcement in all of the animal civilizations that possess this genetic trait. It is not the teaching of children that creates the belief in God, but rather the belief in God, genetically caused, that drives the teaching of children and the permanent emplacement of God as the source of moral force in a living species. God is not the outcome of a long and late evolution of mentality and intellect. The existence of God as an organizational tool arises at the earliest stages of evolution, with the first multi-celled animals. God, being essentially the reinforcement of protective behavior and effective caution, and the discouragement of reckless and dangerous behaviors, is the key to survival for all social animals. The species God is the genetically-written moral handbook for each species. The God of Hawks provides the rules for hawks; the God of Wolves provides the rules for wolves. The Wolf God looks just like a wolf, naturally. The logic of evolution is cold. Survival is the goal, and what could be better for survival than a belief in God?" -end-
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