Page:Kwaidan; Stories and Studies of Strange Things - Hearn - 1904.djvu/250

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dependent thinking. But this at least is certain: that the ant has no individuality capable of being exercised in a purely selfish direction;—I am using the word "selfish" in its ordinary acceptation. A greedy ant, a sensual ant, an ant capable of any one of the seven deadly sins, or even of a small venial sin, is unimaginable. Equally unimaginable, of course, a romantic ant, an ideological ant, a poetical ant, or an ant inclined to metaphysical speculations. No human mind could attain to the absolute matter-of-fact quality of the ant-mind;—no human being, as now constituted, could cultivate a mental habit so impeccably practical as that of the ant. But this superlatively practical mind is incapable of moral error. It would be difficult, perhaps, to prove that the ant has no religious ideas. But it is certain that such ideas could not be of any use to it. The being incapable of moral weakness is beyond the need of "spiritual guidance."

Only in a vague way can we conceive the character of ant-society, and the nature of ant-morality; and to do even this we must try to imagine some yet impossible state of human society and human morals. Let us, then, imagine a world full of people incessantly and furiously working,—all of whom seem to be