Page:Kwaidan; Stories and Studies of Strange Things - Hearn - 1904.djvu/248

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selfish action. Or, again to quote Mr. Spencer, the activities of the insect-society are "activities which postpone individual well-being so completely to the well-being of the community that individual life appears to be attended to only just so far as is necessary to make possible due attention to social life, … the individual taking only just such food and just such rest as are needful to maintain its vigor."


I hope my reader is aware that ants practise horticulture and agriculture; that they are skillful in the cultivation of mushrooms; that they have domesticated (according to present knowledge) five hundred and eighty-four different kinds of animals; that they make tunnels through solid rock; that they know how to provide against atmospheric changes which might endanger the health of their children; and that, for insects, their longevity is exceptional,—members of the more highly evolved species living for a considerable number of years.

But it is not especially of these matters that I wish to speak. What I want to talk about is the awful propriety, the terrible moral-