[95 Mar 05]

On soldier termites and honeypot ants

I have often (in the past, when I was a depressive) felt alienated from other people, and this has made me feel sub-human -- that I don't have whatever it takes to be a person (or I do have something that disqualifies me as a person, or some part of me is so badly wrong that I don't count as a person). As part of my cognitive therapy, I've been asked to consider the idea of being different but not inferior, and to describe what I mean by being sub-human, and in looking into this, my views are indeed changing so that I no longer see the differences between me and other people as being quite so humiliating to me; I can see that there are differences, and not all of them are as mysterious as I had thought; and at least some of them are things I should see as being good about me (for example, I have much higher standards than most people do in many ways).

Then, realizing that part of the problem is that I live at a deeper level of experience and with a heightened or extended sense of responsibility compared with most people, I came up with the idea of being ``staff'' while the other people around me are ``kids'' or ``holidaymakers'' at a camp.

Another idea which I found helpful along these lines is one from twelve-step groups such as AA: that of calling people outside such situations ``earth people''. And indeed, it is helpful to see that many around me are living to a lower level of realization and responsibility to me; and comforting to remember, when let down, that ``Earth people don't have much sense of reliability'', for example.

It appears that I am specially equipped to take non-standard roles, even though my body and mind are on the same chassis as ordinary ones (or perhaps an adapted, toughened version!)... like the buses you see modified as tow-trucks for rescuing buses that have gone wrong. It may not look in place in a row of buses, but its role is just as important!

Or some animals show the same sort of specialization -- honeypot ants, for example, used as living sugar stores by their communities -- they still have anthood, but are not regular ants any longer. Or soldier termites with their massive jaws -- they are termites, but they don't do the ordinary termite things but are brought into place when their society needs them. Perhaps these specialized creatures are in some way `higher' than the standard ones around them - certainly more developed, better equipped; and to human sentimentality, more `noble' in that their lives are expended solely in the service of others (although in fact all their species are, I suppose! but still, I identify with that.)

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