I Don’t Want to Be the Ant Anymore. Do You?
Imagine an ant in a garden. It finds itself in a sea of green mostly. It probably thinks that a tree is the highest mountain, that bigger animals are giants, that humans are gods. Wind is the music that enchants its ears, drops of rain gathered together that it encounters in its daily quest for food must be pools or lakes. What does it know of the real mountains, the real seas, the music and so on? At that size, it probably thinks that what she knows must be all the wonders that the world can offer.
I am that ant. And so are you. Each one of us is the ant. We think that by giving names to the unknown we can tame it, we can encompass it within known paradigms. What is inside makes us confident: we are within known lands. We tame it by defining it, we grasp its meaning and it stops scaring us. What about what’s outside this garden of familiarity though? We know for a fact that there are not only leaves and trees around, that the world extends beyond the garden, that the ant is wrong, that if it dared get out of the boundaries of the familiar, it would discover the big wide world. And that the big wide world could have so many more things in store for it: it could hide a cupboard full of jars of jam in a kitchen, it could hide a plantation of strawberries. Imagine being an ant and never having to worry for food, hence for survival. That would be paradise.
What if not only the ant is wrong? What if we’re wrong? The unknown can be scary: there are no maps to make it safe, there are no rules that makes us feel in control and yet. And yet: the possibilities it hides! Americas that others were afraid to reach because of being afraid they would fall into space, cameras that would not have been invented because it was considered impossible to retain memories other than in the mind, communication with the speed of light that would not have been possible because what was familiar to people was to send messages through messengers on horses or attach them to the feet of pigeons. All these possibilities lay dormant in the unknown until… until someone had the courage to get out of the garden and bring them in. Jung was definitely on to something when he said that “reason sets the boundaries far too narrowly for us, and would have us accept only the known – and that too with limitations – and live in a known framework, just as if we were sure how far life actually extends.”
“The things we want are transformative, and we don’t know or only think we know what is on the other side of that transformation. Love, wisdom, grace, inspiration – how do you go about finding these things that are in some ways about extending the boundaries of the self into unknown territory, about becoming someone else?” (Rebecca Solnit – “A Field Guide to Getting Lost”) How else to find these and find yourself other than daring to get out in the unknown? The garden is a prison. Let us get out of it! Because, just like the ant, we don’t even grasp the idea that there can be so many more wonders outside the known, the garden, and that’s what limits us. What if we go beyond? Isn’t that what freedom really is? I don’t want to be the ant anymore. Do you?
Guest Author: Meteleciu Elena-Andreea