Saturday, October 18, 2014
Beeing An Individual
"Huh? Wha? Oh, it's you. Did you call me Bead?"
"Yes, I know you're a bee but my daughter used to call bees "beads" when she was little and I guess it stuck."
" 'Sokay. Charming. I was just resting my eyes. Gimme a moment."
I stepped around the flower bed and admired its progress, but kept glancing back at Bead to see if he was all right.
"What?" He said.
"Well, I was just wondering if honey is really bee poop."
"Ha! If it was, we'd teach you how to do it and human cities would smell a lot better. But no, it's an entirely separate process --nothing to do with our digestion. You can see --yes come close, I won't sting..."
"Of course! If we sting, we die, a system most conducive to tolerance and pacifism, I assure you. Observe my fur."
"Yes, and practical. It gathers pollen from flowers and transfers it to other flowers. No flowers, no horticulture, no vegetation without us furry bees. But that's hardly half our job. We gather nectar to make honey, remember where we got it, then fly it back to the hive to store it in cells. Other bees evaporate its water content down to 18% by flapping their wings, then seal it up to cure for a while."
"To feed us?"
"Secondarily, yes, but first to nourish our young. Not really feeding either, as honey is not digested by anything that eats it, not even humans. It goes right into the bloodstream without modification."
"Wow! Who figured that out, Bead?"
"Well, Geo., it was really a corporate development. I mean, look at me --yes, look at my head. Do I look like I have enough brains to think that up?"
"Geo., I'll say it for you: I have a brain the size of a grass seed. It's under this black shiny cap in front of my wings. Foraging bees solve traveling problems every day, visit flowers at multiple locations and, because we use lots of energy to fly, we find a route that keeps flying to a minimum."
"And you say this is due to a corporation consolidating your species? Good heavens, Bead, what of individualism?"
"Geo., the strength of individualism is in taking a nap in a flower and telling the corporation whatever I want. Meanwhile, I get to meet people like you and have adventures on the job. You're human and only beginning to understand the rise of corporate evolution and corporate ultimacy. A million years hence, you too will be snoozing in the nearest zinnia and discussing your private thoughts."
"Yes, I mean individualism requires no more brain than a grass seed, and maybe someone to call you 'Bead'."
"Instead of bee?"
"Precisely, but tell nobody, Geo."
"I will compose myself in silence."
"Thanks, Geo., silence is good but it's ok to buzz a little bit."