Sunday, October 26, 2008

as industrious as an ant

we have all heard the story about the ant and the grasshopper. the story is used to teach the virtues of hard work and saving, and the perils of improvidence.

the other day i stopped by the roadside to watch an army of ants at work. now i understand better the sayings, 'as busy as an ant' and 'as hardworking as an ant'.

the ants were in the process of building a subterranean nest. i watched as they went about their work. each ant would carry a grain of the earth from inside the nest and drop it near the top of the mound. no one ant stopped to ogle at a young female ant (maybe there wasn't any around); no one ant stopped after dropping the load to malinger; no one slowed down his pace to reduce the number of trips; no one stopped for a toilet break; and no ant stopped to talk or exchange information.

they were just so purposefully driven. i did not see any ant that was playing the role of a supervisor. no one was there to oversee the task that had to be done. every ant knew his place and he went about his work without having to take instruction, without having to ask any question and without having to stop to decide whether the load was too big for him or not.

if we humans could work as cooperatively as ants, we would be able to achieve a lot more. but then, we would be working endlessly (antlessly) and mindlessly.


Victor said...

I do believe that the ant's work ethics is pre-programmed. Ok, maybe we are not as hardworking as ants but we are more intelligent, i.e. know how to skive, I mean take a break when we are tired and yes, also ogle at attractive young women ant-nyway.

Lam Chun See said...

In the early days of our productivity movt, Spore's NPB chose Teamy the Bee as the mascot. Our counterparts in Msia also wanted to use the bee, but were a bit slower and had to settle for the Ant instead, so I was told by some of them.

I used to have some video tape of some of these cartoon stories. My children watched them over and over.

yg said...

so, it is better to be a bee than an ant.

Seen This Scene That said...

In a way, some humans can work as endlessly and routinely as ants. While this 'co-operation' helps to pay salaries and generate corporate profits, can we ant-ticipate how ant-citing life would become?

yg said...

you are right, seenthisscenethat. that's what i am going to show in my next post - people working almost ant-like.