You are capable of more than you know. Choose a goal that seems right for you and strive to be the best, however hard the path. Aim high. Behave honorably. Prepare to be alone at times, and to endure failure. Persist! The world needs all you can give.
If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.
A very Faustian choice is upon us: whether to accept our corrosive and risky behavior as the unavoidable price of population and economic growth, or to take stock of ourselves and search for a new environmental ethic.
We should preserve every scrap of biodiversity as priceless while we learn to use it and come to understand what it means to humanity.
Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.
Without a trace of irony I can say I have been blessed with brilliant enemies. I owe them a great debt, because they redoubled my energies and drove me in new directions.
We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom. The world henceforth will be run by synthesizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make important choices wisely.
If we were to wipe out insects alone on this planet, the rest of life and humanity with it would mostly disappear from the land. Within a few months.
The one process now going on that will take millions of years to correct is the loss of genetic and species diversity by the destruction of natural habitats. This is the folly our descendants are least likely to forgive us.
In many environments, take away the ants and there would be partial collapses in many of the land ecosystems.
The essence of humanity’s spiritual dilemma is that we evolved genetically to accept one truth and discovered another. Is there a way to erase the dilemma, to resolve the contradictions between the transcendentalist and the empiricist world views?
The human mind evolved to believe in the gods. It did not evolve to believe in biology.
When you have seen one ant, one bird, one tree, you have not seen them all.
The education of women is the best way to save the environment.
The ant world is a tumult, a noisy world of pheromones being passed back and forth.
Individual versus group selection results in a mix of altruism and selfishness, of virtue and sin, among the members of a society.
I’ve found that good dialogue tells you not only what people are saying or how they’re communicating but it tells you a great deal – by dialect and tone, content and circumstance – about the quality of the character.
If those committed to the quest fail, they will be forgiven. When lost, they will find another way. The moral imperative of humanism is the endeavor alone, whether successful or not, provided the effort is honorable and failure memorable.
Political ideology can corrupt the mind, and science.
It’s obvious that the key problem facing humanity in the coming century is how to bring a better quality of life – for 8 billion or more people – without wrecking the environment entirely in the attempt.
Competing is intense among humans, and within a group, selfish individuals always win. But in contests between groups, groups of altruists always beat groups of selfish individuals.
An individual ant, even though it has a brain about a millionth of a size of a human being’s, can learn a maze; the kind we use is a simple rat maze in a laboratory. They can learn it about one-half as fast as a rat.
I grew up as a Southern Baptist with strict adherence to the Bible, which I read as a youngster.
Well, let me tell you, ants are the dominant insects. They make up as much as a quarter of the biomass of all insects in the world. They are the principal predators. They’re the cemetery workers.
The two major challenges for the 21st century are to improve the economic situation of the majority and save as much of the planet as we can.
The work on ants has profoundly affected the way I think about humans.
I’m very much a Christian in ideals and ethics, especially in terms of belief in fairness, a deep set obligation to others, and the virtues of charity, tolerance and generosity that we associate with traditional Christian teaching.
Ants have the most complicated social organization on earth next to humans.
When you get into the whole field of exploring, probably 90 percent of the kinds of organisms, plants, animals and especially microorganisms and tiny invertebrate animals are unknown. Then you realize that we live on a relatively unexplored plan.
We have decommissioned natural selection and must now look deep within ourselves and decide what we wish to become
Our brain is mapping the world. Often that map is distorted, but it’s a map with constant immediate sensory input.
I see no way out of the problems that organized religion and tribalism create other than humans just becoming more honest and fully aware of themselves.
Perhaps the time has come to cease calling it the ‘environmentalist’ view, as though it were a lobbying effort outside the mainstream of human activity, and to start calling it the real-world view
There is no better high than discovery
I had in mind a message, although I hope it doesn’t intrude too badly, persuading Americans, and especially Southerners, of the critical importance of land and our vanishing natural environment and wildlife.
Ants are the dominant insects of the world, and they’ve had a great impact on habitats almost all over the land surface of the world for more than 50-million years.
People respect nonfiction but they read novels.
Blind faith, no matter how passionately expressed, will not suffice. Science for its part will test relentlessly every assumption about the human condition.
Companies that are willing to share, to withhold in order to further the growth of the company, willing to try to get a better atmosphere through a demonstration of democratic principles, fairness and cooperation, a better product, those will win in the end.
True character arises from a deeper well than religion.