The Passive Aggressive Bee

A meme is an idea, behaviour, image, or style that is most commonly spread via the Internet, often through our ubiquitous and burgeoning social media platforms. The ideas can be motivational, amusing, thought-provoking but in most cases are just daft “in jokes” that reinforce a sense of belonging to a small community of other people that “got the joke”.

Recently I have seen tens of posts across different platforms and in response to different subjects with the same statement being made.

“Bees do not waste their time explaining to flies why honey is better than shit”.

The statement is usually applied in situations where the original poster feels aggrieved at criticism from a so called “hater”. That hate might be expressed toward a lifestyle choice, career, hobby, artwork, choice of phone brand, etc. It is a demonstration that viral memes can be highly negative.

I was personally quite surprised at how repulsive I found this simple line of text and found the need to dig into it. Firstly – I acknowledge, it is sort of clever isn’t it. It’s a vindictive put down – I am a majestic and purposeful bee, insect royalty, you, however, are a fly wading over the surface of animal excrement. It’s a visceral image and a shield to those who dare to question you. It is the ultimate expression of passive aggression.

I find the statement particularly abhorrent as I have also seen it applied in an uncharitable, anti-altruistic way. A refusal to help people, turning away from guiding and leading. It is not just used as a defensive expression, it is applied dismissively. A statement that people are not worth the investment of time.

The statement feels like a product of our entitled, insular and atomised society. Where self is king and community is something locked out behind front doors. The baying public occasionally allowed the privilege of peeping through a filtered digital pane at a carefully curated scene. But don’t dare question these kings as they unreliably narrate their own lives.

After suffering a nasty accident in 2021, I found myself immobile. My lack of activity wasted my muscles and severely eroded my fitness. I gained at least 20kg, to be honest I stopped weighing myself as I just didn’t care. I was struggling to recover from a severe depression. While idly browsing a social media group I noticed a call for Men in my area to join a peer led, boot-camp style, workout group called “F3”. I paused the latest boxset on Netflix, brushed the crisp dust off my jumper, and responded – slightly suspiciously – to the group’s founder. I was encouraged to come along.

F3 is popular in the US and has just started in the UK and I was lucky enough to get involved early. F3 has a credo:

“Leave no man behind, but leave no man where you find him”.

We call the aforementioned flies; Sad Clowns, as men we understand the challenges and pressures Men find themselves under, how a Man can end up with a poor lifestyle, negative habits, hundreds of friends and acquaintances but nobody available in a crisis, unfit, unmotivated, sinking fast. F3 members (PAX) reach out into the community and pull these men in, we change them; make them fitter, faster, more considerate, caring, better fathers, husbands, leaders, we give them support and something bigger than themselves to believe in. When we are done, the same Men go on to do the same and so the movement grows.

Compassionate people, using their time to better themselves and others in their communities.

Let me share a more wholesome quote, the antithesis of Ayn Rand’s Bee, with my sincere hope it will get the same level of viral attention:

“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”
– John Holmes