© Guy Herman 2012 All Rights Reserved
The predatory and nearly prescient behavior of ants in husbanding, protecting, farming and feasting on aphids has been noted in part for some years, but the extent to which both predator and prey benefit, seeking such a symbiotic arrangement, notwithstanding it’s always predictable and fatal outcome, is extraordinary, and in some equally incredible ways underscores the real moral, political or simply behavioral issues related to Gold(m)an Sac(hs)s and other predators recently in the news.
Species of ants who live in the neighborhood of the tiny aphid had recognized long ago their succulence, feeding on fruit as they do, and their sweet and honey laced protein is second, in life, only to a great quantity of these delectable morsels in a single spot and across a close proximity of time.
The ants, eating a hundred times their body weight in a day are, by fractions, the biggest small predator on earth, with a weight to feed ratio ten times a human.
But of all their culinary treats they most adore the honeydew produced by the aphid as waste and excreted in a fashion which the caretaker ants can easily harvest.
To further underscore the wonder and sophistication of the ant, they are not only known to corral the aphid into farms where they are more easily readied for feeding , but too, are disinclined to travel away from the captive ants by virtue of the small scent of poison the ant lays with it’s foot track, at once, slowing down the aphid in its attempted escape and too, making certain they are corralled to a certain segment of the geography which is easily accessible to these arthropodic farmers and their thirsty patrons.
Equally extraordinary for these farmer ants, is the level of sophistication of their practice of animal husbandry.
In their evolutionary success they have mastered not only the significant issue of how to raise the food stocks, feeding themselves in a sustainable fashion, a model the smartest of the Western world modern countries can only hope to emulate, and a feat modern American agriculture has struggled to accomplish, they have also, unlike their two footed geographically proximate human neighbor, developed a non toxic mechanism for keeping their own feed stock and crop from the pestilence of bees, birds, vermin and other critters which, as we have experienced in American Agronomy, has occasioned the need of treatments from DDT to words too long to be clearly elocuted by man, and equally poisonous to the environment, while ants have built into their agronomic model a pure and ecologically sound mechanism to treat and protect their crop of aphids from infiltration and or attack from other predators.
Not unlike the Taliban and or many of the more stringent middle eastern and Muslim communities who oblige their women to gown themselves in the Birka and bounded foot, suppressed heart and terrified subjugation, controlling their loyalty and conjugal availability or monogamous servitude by threat of the staff and rod, ants not only clip the wings of the aphids so to prevent them from free flight, and they are smart enough to clip them just enough so the parameters of their flight path cannot exceed the boundaries of the plot which the ants maintain, allowing the aphids still to fly enough to find and obtain the tree borne leaf from which they make their sought after honey dew, but limited in long flight so not to escape.
And even more extraordinary, not unlike the Goldman Sachs, one of the many forms of vertebral life prevalent in a geographic area known as Wall Street, acting as traders and hedge fund managers, and finding their honeydew in the papyrus-like forms of paper called currency and stock; they are themselves well evolved and smart enough to both sell long, bet short and have both sides of the transaction in house and like the ant, guaranteeing success both in the here and now of daily feeding and in the long term with a permanent albeit well husbanded supply of fresh meat.
Ants long known for this their predilection for the Goldan Sac, the honeydew of the aphid, are likely unaware of the likeness of their anthropomorphic relative, the bi-pedal cousin found in the Goldman Sachs of the food chain.
In watching the behavior of the bi-pedal Sachs, one must assume too they have scant knowledge of their evolutionary precursors as they appear uncertain of those practices which, like the ant and aphid ensure their long term success and their evolutionary imperative.
In each of their worlds, the honey pot or Goldan Sac provided, willingly or not, the detainees, though appearing victims, are themselves beneficiaries of the symbiosis and transactions as well and there appears some phylogenetic benefit, though certainly in the scheme of time, the ants success runs for millions of years while the Goldman’s is reasonably said to be in it’s formative or adolescent state.
Like the farmer ant, Goldman Sachs, when they have exhausted the honeydew of their clients riches, and initiated the manifest destiny, selling long and short around them, always guarantee a takeover. When captive clients long or short, run out of money altogether and their honey pot is depleted, the client’s find themselves unwittingly at a feast of their own making and thinking they are set to dine with their guests, like the aphids are the object, rather of the dinner and the food on the platter these modern day farmers have planned.
Herein is the mystery which must be questioned for as the aphid benefits from the good husbandry of the ant, though it is ultimately both slave and sweet delight, how so does the client of the more recent evolutionary adaptation of this Goldan Sac so benefit, if they too are ultimately to be shorn of their honey, their worldly wealth and in the end fall prey to the Goldman Sach’s insatiable appetite.
For aphids, the answer is alarmingly simple, as no self respecting aphid would choose to be snatched from it’s leaf, mid-bite by a hungry avian predator over the orderly life of agricultural production, a participant in good husbandry and a more or less predictable life and ultimate demise.
And if centuries of the pre carnivorous and ill educated middle age precursor of this Sachian Australopithicine, the Crusaders, used one of the earliest forms of bi-pedal rod and staff, an angry Diety, pressed into the subjugated lives, willingly, of any who didn’t obey, why not then posit the same underlying need for order and reprieve from chaos that endless riches, or the promise or earning and pursuit of endless riches, despite the near satiated nature and being this modern aphid enjoyed, as a model which, for the very sanity and order, was a well sought after arrangement allowing their stronger and more cunning farmer Goldman Sachs the wherewithal to husband, farm, grow, enjoy, fleece and ultimately feed upon as a far better alternative than chaos and the dark side.
Like the ants and the aphids it is at once both brilliant, nearly byzantine and elegantly audacious, if not for the perfect symmetry and efficiency of the undertaking, the incredibly economic use of assets, but too, the perfect beauty and holistic utility of a practice we have always thought of as modern man’s agronomistic fortune and wisdom for being able to both milk the cow for years and when, exhausted and spent, finding the most beneficial, and still life sustaining, practice of making hamburger of the carcass.
Here, in the more modern world of 21st century man and his artifice, we find two similar species, from the same phylogenetic perspective, who have largely recreated and utilized the tools and structural societal manner of the ant and aphid, in a form of expected and acceptable predation, the highest and near platonic form of relationship in which each of the diad get something for what they give, as do the ant and the aphid, and each work assiduously to cultivate the interests, albethey often lethal, with great and persistent effort.
It is easy to look at the Golden Sac form of agriculture in which the parent, Golden nurtures the investors and large institutions, with a similar agricultural methodology, husbanding many of the needs and actually benefitting the colony, albeit for the ultimate purpose of feeding the Sac and becoming, like the aphid, the natural prey, earned by the well organized and near scientific care of the farmer, and find a moral complaint, however no one of recent note has ever said or claimed any such unfairness of the ant or the aphid, though clearly the factual predation, prepared, processed planned and properly well executed is stunning and easily leaves the unwitting observer agok.
Goldman Sachs, in it’s anthropomorphic version of the ant/aphid symbiosis seems to have learned its biological imperative from none other than these tiny creatures who, beyond the realm of good and evil, or ethos and ethic, have crafted a surprisingly similar relationship with their own interests and that of their client and in the end, whatever is the refractive color of the lens through which we see such behavior, one must well imagine Charles Darwin can only see it all and smile.