It is the presence of workers which gives communistic societies their highest degree of perfection, for it is that which allows the greatest division of labor and which establishes between the members of the colony the most complete solidarity. From this point of view we have established a parallel between commnnistic societies and differentiated cellular organisms. In the two cases one notes all the steps between the division of work at its beginning and its extreme form as seen with the higher animals. In the two cases, also, certain elements function to the end of assuring reproduction; others are devoted to the vitality of the organism. The differentiated cells of the soma, or body, of a living being correspond to the neuters of the societies and, like them, they function for the good of the organism and are sacrificed to preserve its life. The germinal or reproductive cells are represented by the royal individuals, and live, like them, with the active workers, and, like them also, they are immortal in the sense that they continue in their progeny. The sacrifice of numerous units for some is not less necessary to the progress of organisms than to that of the societies. As Lameere says, this sacrifice testifies "to the triumph of life through death," and, we may add, of the race over the individual.
In summing up we may apply to all societies of insects which are frankly communistic the same character that Bergson1 attributes to the hives of the honey-bee. They are "really and not metaphorically a unique organism" in which each individual is united "to the others by invisible bonds." One may call them, with Lameere, "super-organisms." We scarcely know the steps by which the social bonds of these super-organisms have been established, the division of social work, and how an original alimentai castration has produced the workers, and we are ignorant of the manner in which the members of one colony have been able to coordinate their actions, until they have reached that marvelous condition which makes the nest and the rearing a work which is singularly complex and always the same in spite of the obstacles and the various situations which the insect meets in its work. Isolated, the social individual is incapable of all useful endeavor; in company with its fellows, it knows how to solve the greatest difficulties. I have seen (1905-06) the honey-bee nest in the open air under very different conditions, but it has never failed to choose the best architectural method of protecting its combs or to give its cells their characteristic form. Georges Maeterlinck has spoken of the esprit of the hive. Is there, then, an esprit of communistic societies? And this esprit,-is it not somewhat analogous, by the reaction of individuals upon individuals, to what Dr. Ghistav LaBon has called the esprit of croivds? It is easier to indicate this problem than to solve it.
1 H. Bergson, L'Evolution créatrice, 1907.