The Antlion and the Anthropocene

What would it be like to be an antlion?

First, ask what it would be like to be a creature that lives mainly by instinct and without reasoning or language. Imagine not being able to make sense of your world beyond desires and impulses. Now imagine a creature like that whose sensory apparatus and cognitive capacities had evolved under conditions which were no longer present. In other words, a creature who is neither physiologically equipped for nor mentally capable of grasping, rationalizing, or contextualizing their situation.

When a human hears construction noises they’re able to rationalise the situation despite the fact that the human sensory apparatus as cognitive capacities did not evolve specifically to handle construction noises. Not so for the ant lion. The antlion digs downward on an impulse that they don’t understand—or if they do understand then only in terms of eating or hunger—  all the while being barraged with construction noises that they have no context for nor that their senses are meant to decipher. To be bombarded with strangeness with no means of understanding or conceptualizing or rationalizing it whilst following a compulsive drive to dig and to eat.

That is what it is like to be an antlion in the anthropocene.  

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