The Human Ant.
Take a quick look outside your window. Chances are, you’ll see buildings, houses, or even (in some cases) looming skyscrapers. The question is, how did we get here? Why did we get here? How has this all come to pass?
The human mind is a byproduct of the brain; which, in effect, is a byproduct of the body. Many times across various ancient texts and yogic circles, it is referenced that the body is the mind and the mind is the body. Two halves of the same whole; each feeding off of one another. To prove this in a completely logical and reductionist manner, muse on this: if we damage the brain, our personality and our mindset changes drastically. The mind functions off of the brain’s ability to regulate hormones effectively. It’s also a primary reason why CTE (for those of you who have watched Will Smith’s Concussion*) is so disruptive. Repetitive trauma to the brain forces new neural pathways to be formed and chemicals to misfire. A bad brain means a bad mind. It’s like a wifi signal trying to channel through a broken router.
To see what role consciousness plays in all of this, check out my previous article, Seeing Through Silence*.
So, what does this mean for all of us? That we’re working off of a chemical-based system. We all chase dopamine*. You know, those happy-hormones that let you know that you’re doing a good job. We are each hardwired for pleasure, which is why we seek out things that will give us that dopamine rush. Even if it doesn’t look like the “best decision” from our vantage point, there’s a reason why people choose to skydive, do drugs, play with their kids or eat high-sugar and fat-filled ice cream.
The ant works off of a similar mechanism. If you look at any colony of ants, they are being prompted forward by a common mission, a common goal; pressed on by one leader (the queen) to expand and maximize the colony’s reach for power. Though ants may not consciously be aware of what it is that they are doing (I would assume, as they don’t have a highly developed prefrontal cortex for self-awareness like we do), they are being goaded onward by chemicals leading them to perform a specific series of actions that will result in a desired outcome—expansion.
We are all each chemical chasers; even if we, too, are not actively aware of it. Why do we stay at our crummy jobs, drink that second bit of alcohol or binge watch a series on Netflix, if not to satiate that longing hunger for dopamine each of us so desperately craves? Every action that we view as somewhat “right'“ essentially grants us what we crave the most—more chemicals. And every action that aids in society’s narrative of building more, expanding, controlling, and creating, are all actions that every creature and organism on this planet holds in common.
It is only the mind, that crafty bugger, that makes us think that we are anything but otherwise.