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For much of human history, people looked to religious mythology in order to find explanations for strange phenomena. Considering the vast span of human history, humans have only recently begun to look to science for explanations concerning mysterious, yet natural occurrences in the world. Ever since the enlightenment period took off in Europe, it would be fair to say that the relationship between science and religion has been somewhat antagonistic. However, when it comes to the study of insects, science and religion can, indeed, see eye-to-eye.

It can be difficult trying to keep up with all the scientific advancements that are being made today, which is why you may not know that scientists of many disciplines are currently excited about termites. For example, researchers have discovered that termite mounds are designed in a way that allows for energy-free air conditioning. Humans have been attempting to develop green forms of energy production for decades. This is why researchers are studying the manner in which termite mounds are designed. In addition to their free air conditioning, termites are one of the few animal groups that possess wood-digesting microbiomes. Although researchers are not exactly sure how the gut microbes of termites originated, they believe that a more detailed understanding of how their digestive system works can enable engineers to develop biofuels. If this were to be understood, plant-based materials, like grass, could replace oil, coal, and gas as fuel sources. In other words, termites could be considered the key to developing sustainable energy for a pollution-free future. If this scenario were to become a reality, automobile emissions alone would decrease by a staggering 86 percent. However, termites are also highly favored by religious leaders, as termites selflessly cooperate as a group in order to achieve common goals.

Termites never put individual needs ahead of the needs of the colony. One prominent minister, Bob Jones, believes that a termite colony personifies the ideal Christian community where the ideal of “all for one and one for all” reigns supreme. The altruism of termites can also explain their astonishing feats, as their tall complicated mounds are only possible as long as all termites are working toward their completion. If humans hope to have a more comfortable future on this planet, then selfishness will have to be unlearned in favor of altruism. If this means that humans will have to take a lesson from termite colonies, then so be it if it means living in a more advanced and safer world.

Do you believe that humans would advance more rapidly if our society was more colony-oriented like termite societies?