Opinion (Stephen Pratt, an associate professor, Arizona State University): “Scientists at Arizona State University have discovered that ants utilize a strategy to handle ‘information overload.’ Temnothorax rugatulusants, commonly found living in rock crevices in the Southwest, place the burden of making complicated decisions on the backs of the entire colony, rather than on an individual ant. …
“Previous research has shown that ant colonies have the ability to compare the quality of two potential nest sites – even if no single ant visits both sites. Pratt and Sasaki hypothesized that a colony could choose a high-quality nest from many more options more effectively than individual ants, because each member of the colony assesses only a small part, or portion, of available sites, and then shares the information with the entire colony. …
“The pair designed experiments with artificial nest sites to evaluate the ants’ decision-making abilities. Both colonies and individual ants were given two levels of tasks. Ants had to choose between two nests, or they had to choose among eight nests. In both experiments, half the nests were unsuitable. Nests are frequently chosen based on entrance and cavity size, as well as darkness and other features.
“Researchers discovered that individual ants made much worse decisions when faced with eight options rather than two, meaning that they experienced cognitive overload. Colonies, on the other hand, did equally well with either two or eight options, showing that they could handle the harder problem as a collective.
The study shows what Pratt believes to be the answer to two questions: What do you get out of being a collective intelligence? And secondly, why and how is a group smarter than an individual?
“‘Living in a group is costly in many ways, so ants must get some benefit from doing it,” said Pratt. ‘By sharing the burden of decision-making, colonies avoid the mistakes that a solitary animal makes when taking on too much information. What’s great about these ants is that we can see exactly how they do this, by making sure that no ant has to process more information than it is able to.’
“Pratt added that this is one problem ants can solve, but that there are other problems ants face that we might be able to learn from.”
My Comment: In nature, preference is given only to a group, not to the individual, because there is no free will there. But it is the opposite on the spiritual path: the choice is up to the individual. So it is in human society, all the decisions must be made together, through the average result, but the direction of the spiritual movement should be given by the one who sees this path, the one who has already passed; that is, the spiritual path is dictated by the leader (Moses).