Ants Under a Magnifying Glass

“Do bugs have school?” my 5-year-old daughter asked me.

“No, they don’t have school, baby,” I responded in a robotic and classically trained human way.

Then I thought about it because I don’t just want to pass on my conditioned understanding or misunderstanding of the world. And, like anything else, the more you consider all possibilities, the less clear any sort of answer becomes. What if they fucking do? I don’t really know. In our perception, bugs don’t have school, but maybe our perception isn’t reality to a bug. We think we know, but the more we learn, the more we come to understand how little we know. We realize our ignorance more with each passing moment. We only over-think things like this until we realize how little thought we’ve actually given to them. I don’t want to confuse her, but my guess is that no matter how I responded, she wouldn’t be any more confused than the rest of us.

Next time, maybe I’ll say, “You know what, sweetie, people don’t think bugs have school, but people are pretty dumb, so who knows.”

Listen to this episode with bonus content on the Thought and Other Absurdities Podcast right here and most other places you find podcasts.

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  1. My thoughts align with yours, we can only see things with our lenses and until we gain knowledge we simply don’t know. And in defining school? No doubt ants have some sort of learning processes 🤷‍♀️ Or maybe an ant is born straight into adult-ant-hood. Lol

    Liked by 3 people

  2. My introduction to philosophy/epistemology is via immanuel Kant, so unfortunately this is a problem I often think about. Our thoughts and perceptions are shaped by the very nature of being human and (probably) can’t be transferred to non-humans, and vice-versa for other species to humans. So we arrogantly presume that humans are the smartest species on earth when we have no way to gauge how things like bugs epistemologically experience reality. 🤷‍♂️

    This will also be a problem should we ever make contact with an “intelligent” extraterrestrial species.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They may try to contact us, but they certainly won’t find any intelligent life in us. LOL. It’s such an interesting field of study. You need only watch ants for a few minutes to find out that they are as big of bastards as we are. They’re clearly thinking bigger picture, life as a unit of species than we are. It all appears quite selfless. I could be wrong, though, they may be just as assholey as we are.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Consciousness, I’d assume, is probably more of a collective experience with ants as opposed to an individual one with us. That’s something unfathomable to humans. Unfortunately, assholery is just a part of life, at least when it comes to interspecies relationships. Humans are definitely not alone in that regard

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh my, that is super profound! I couldn’t help but chuckle at the thought of the ants having a school for themselves.
    It’s a great lesson which we all need to keep in mind! Thank you for sharing 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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