The Ant and the Snail

The Ant and the Snail

“You foolish snail,” the ant said.

“Why am I foolish?” the snail asked.

“Because there is far more to your world than you understand,” the ant said. “So much more that you are too stupid and lazy to even care to comprehend.”

“Such as?” the snail asked.

“Anthills, for example. Anthills and their nests are elaborate and beautiful. But you know nothing of them, I am sure,” the ant said.

“But I am a mere snail, so what should I care about anthills and nests?”

“You should care because ants with their hills and colonies are more than you already comprehend,” the ant said. “Or perhaps you prefer to remain ignorant of the larger world?”

“Perhaps it is beyond my capacity as a snail to know much about anthills and nests.”

“That is why I am so graciously telling you about them,” the ant said. “And I can tell you are hardly listening.”

“I would prefer to do what a snail is meant to do rather than spend my afternoon listening to you,” the snail said.

“This is why you are a fool,” the ant said.

“But I am a mere snail, and I cannot comprehend anthills. I can accept that I am not equipped and, therefore, will never understand anything of anthills.”

They stared at one another.

“So?” the ant finally asked.

“So tell me then, who is the fool? Me, the lowly snail, understanding the limits of my comprehension? Or you, with no understanding or concern of limitations?”

Based on its knowledge of anthills and nests, the ant went on to talk about all the things it knew that were beyond its comprehension. The ant insisted, for example, that everything beyond its own comprehension could still be reduced to anthills and their nests and colonies.

None of it made any sense to the snail, so it asked, “How can you know all this? How can you know what’s beyond your ability to experience or comprehend?”

“Logic,” the ant said. “It stands to reason based on what I already know, which is far more than you.”

“With all of your stories about magical anthills and an omnipotent, ethereal, blessed and benevolent Queen of All Anthills, your logic makes you sound like a wishful fool,” the snail said. “And it is quite predictable that an ant would interpret the world beyond its comprehension in simple reference to the concerns, capacities and limitations of being an ant.”

The ant continued to preach of all it knew beyond its own nest. Meanwhile, without the ant noticing, the snail slithering away to do the boring and predictable things that stupid, lowly and slimy snails do.

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