Up Next

Models of Success

Dr. Edward O. Wilson, Who Saw the World Through the Selfless Ants, Part 1 of 2

Download Docx
Read More
Dr. Edward Osborne Wilson, often referred to as E.O. Wilson, was a world-renowned American biologist, naturalist, and twice Pulitzer Prize-winning author for his books “On Human Nature” in 1979 and “The Ants” in 1991. Often described as “Darwin’s natural heir,” he was an entomologist and one of the world’s leading authorities in myrmecology, which is the study of ants.

Theorizing that human traits such as aggression and altruism had genetic roots, he ultimately championed environmental preservation. In the course of his lifelong career, he discovered that the rapid decline of species was caused by unprecedented ecological degradation. He once said this of his untiring fascination with the natural world: “I had a bug period like every kid. I just never outgrew mine.”

E.O. Wilson soon became one of the leading scientists working with ant species and made many revolutionary discoveries. The ant kingdom has a highly organized society of multiple generations and a hierarchical caste system. “Ants themselves are very bizarre, and the more you study them the stranger their civilizations seem to you. In my lifetime, I have discovered 450 species of ants. The fact is that we don’t know how much is out there because the estimated number varies between 10 million and over 100 million.”

Decades later, in 2010, together with theoretical biologists Dr. Martin Nowak and Dr. Corina Tarnita, Dr. E.O. Wilson showed that kin selection, which proposes fittest genes survival logic and is the basis of Darwin’s famous theory, is mathematically impossible. Instead, they favor group selection, which includes vital impulses such as altruism and selflessness, as the fundamental evolutionary driver.

During a conference in 2009, Supreme Master Ching Hai mentioned how ants are brilliant and creative beings. “So, even ants, they're intelligent. Look at the way they build their city and their palace; we could not do that compared to our size. They’re building like a skyscraper by their own hand only. But they talk to each other even, even ants talk to each other, fish-people talk to each other. They do lead intelligent lives and they all have souls, consciousness in them.”
Share To
Start Time
Watch in mobile browser
Scan the QR code,
or choose the right phone system to download