DINK #109 Hive Mentality….What Is It?

Posted on : 09-07-2010 | By : Lynn | In : Uncategorized

Tags: , , ,


My husband and I just spent all evening watching back-to-back episodes of “Fringe”. In the opening sequences of the show there are words that come up as if from a foggy bottom like telekinesis, hypnosis, etc. but the phrase that got my attention was “hive mind”. I’d heard of the hive mind, of course, in basic biology classes when studying insects such as bees and ants. And then the concept came through again in science fiction with the Borg on Star Trek. But for the past few years, “hive” mentality has been creeping up into my consciousness in relation to how we humans are with each other socially. More than that though is my curiosity about collective consciousness and how it is probably manipulated in subtle and not so subtle ways through advertising and politics, etc.

I Googled “hive mind” and “hive mentality” and pulled up some interesting articles, many coming from Scientific American such as this one called ‘The Wisdom of the Hive: Is the Web a Threat to Creativity and Cultural Values by Karen Frankel who examines the thoughts and studies of Jaron Lanier who is a virtual reality pioneer and musician (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=jaron-lanier-gadget). Here’s one little piece of Jaron’s thinking:

“Lanier claims ideology and the Web’s design—user interfaces and logins for example—marginalize individuals as “sources of fragments to be exploited by others.” Of particular concern is “hive thinking,” whereby personal expression counts for little and the creative process is harmed. Instead, he wrote, the hive mind esteems networked technologies and holds information stored in those networks—often referred to as “the cloud”—in higher regard than the people who create the information. Lanier worries that valuing the aggregate more than individuals will “leach” people of empathy and humanity.”

Then, of course, Frankel quotes a counter-source, Ray Kurzweil, who is a Futurist and staunch defender of the Singularity (when technology advances to a point that machines and humans essentially become one), and insists that he is not underestimating the brain’s capabilities, but rather that Lanier underestimates the amount of progress technology has enabled and will enable people to make.

Okay, I just have two letters to apply to this whole thing: B P. Ummeda, I would say that humans have advanced technology amazingly but cripes we are so very immature when it comes to understanding the total impact that these advances are having or could have on our world much less each other. It scares the hell out of me to think of some of the ways that “group think” manifests itself already without even pushing too far out into the future to see where things could go without some boundaries being put into place to allow for the recognition and celebration of the individual.

I hope that the brains who are creating all the technologies that we are enjoying today and will enjoy tomorrow are also connected to their hearts as well. So many good reasons for us to pay attention to who we are becoming and how.

What part are you playing in your future?