Minds of The Hive Variety

Abstract:

Hive minds are a unique thing. In terms of science fiction, the definition of a hive mind is a “unified consciousness or intelligence formed by a number of individuals.” The resulting consciousness typically exerts control over its constituent inhabitants. Based on the definition, many examples of this were found in science fiction and even in real life. From the Flood from the Halo game series, to the Party in Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, to an insect colony, more specifically bees, to even the internet itself. In every case of a hive mind, there is an end goal. With that end goal comes a method to reach it, which involves the use of its inhabitants, whether they are willing or not is irrelevant. It can be done covertly as well. A hive mind strives for maximum efficiency to reach its goal. In science fiction, it is sometimes depicted as totalitarian, but even so, the efficiency is undeniable. Every example of a hive mind that I discovered in relation to science fiction displayed has been efficient, each in their own way, but still efficient nonetheless.

Even if individuality and sense of self is sacrificed, people end up as part of a network of some sort. Information is relayed back to the “main body,” or simply the person or group at the very top of the hive mind. It can also be sent back for either everyone to know, or only specific targets, depending on what type of information it is. Everyone becomes a node in the network of knowledge. People rely on others to learn more. Knowledge literally becomes power.

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Status Update

After last class, I realized that, as expected, there were a lot of things I could improve on. There were things I had to move around to help people understand better. There were things that I didn’t really need to have. Another thing that had been pointed out to me was the fact that I was mostly just describing what I found and wasn’t explaining enough of what my actual point was.

The peer review really helped me out. It let me see what I wasn’t doing as well as what I should be doing better. I needed to better address the topic at hand and how it relates to science fiction. I needed to actually implement my sources into my proposal. My proposal jumped around quite a bit and that isn’t good. Its good that it was a bit confusing because now I can better improve on that. However, the most important thing that I wasn’t doing was clearly stating what my argument would be. I gave details and some opinions, but didn’t have a statement saying what it was focusing on. It’s something I definitely need and it got me thinking. I had an idea in what I wanted to focus on, but I wanted to really make sure it was the best choice for me.

I want to argue the fact that while hive minds are bad because of a lack of individuality, or a false sense of self, they can also be considered as good because of their efficiency to accomplish a task. My claim relates to science fiction because, from what I have seen, typical dystopian societies in the genre are depicted as the ruling power exerting control over its members. Much like a dystopian society, a hive mind can be considered totalitarian. The lesser beings in both are completely subservient to the ruling power. They are given a task and are expected to complete it. The will of said ruling power is to be carried out by all under control of it, without argument. There is no room for doubt in a society with no individuality.

I already have good examples, or at least I think so, to back up my claim, but I will be in need of more. I have to replace the souces that are completely irrelevant to my topic. If it doesn’t directly back it up, or if I can’t connect it properly to my claim, it will only do harm and will not benefit me whatsoever. I have an idea on what to look for. But I haven’t found something I can really use yet. Hopefully what I find will meet the standards. Once I have everything I need, I have to merge it properly and in the right order. My proposal jumped around quite a bit and that just isn’t good.

I really think that I can make this work. People find my topic interesting, and I feel that by Tuesday, I will definitely be ready to present.

Hive Minds

Proposal:

Throughout the course, a lot of the readings have had a relevance to individuality and identity and the likes, and it really interested me. I was fascinated by how people became simple copy and pastes of the same, mindless being made to follow an agenda of the leading person or group, whether it was to keep some sort of peace, or to make everyone happy.  The lack of actual free will was something that kept showing itself. Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four are just a couple of examples where the masses are made to think alike, or suffer the consequences.

Because of the lack of individuality and freedom in these situations, I came across “hive minds,” which in terms of Science Fiction, is defined as “a unified consciousness or intelligence formed by a number of alien individuals, the resulting consciousness typically exerting control over its constituent members.”  From what I have seen, hive mind scenarios in Science Fiction are closely related to dystopian societies and are depicted as totalitarian. It is generally not a good thing, but in reality, it can also be seen as efficient. An example being an eusocial insect colony. The queen orders around the workers and soldiers to do specific tasks. They live to serve the ruling power and get the job done. The topic of hive minds isn’t exactly new to me, but I never really found too much of an interest until now. After reading all those novels and short stories, I can’t help but to take interest in it.

While hive minds aren’t all bad, they typically are. The cordycep fungus infects the host, typically an insect, and removes it of its free will. It takes over the brain seizes control of the basic motor functions. They become zombie-like, and are even given the nickname “zombie insects.”  An extreme case of cordycep fungus are the “Clickers” from the game The Last Of Us. They do not serve a superior intelligence like a normal hive mind, but they recognize others of the same “situation.” It’s like a bunch of headless chickens.

Bad hive minds can still be very efficient though. The “flood” from the Halo series is an example of that. The flood are controlled by “Graveminds,” the ultimate intelligence of the species and control the lesser bodies infected. Being converted to the flood is seen as a honor by the Graveminds. Knowledge is also shared across every host body and can be compared to a network, where every host body is like a node.  As long as there are lesser bodies, a Gravemind can never truly die.

I believe that a true hive mind will always be an example of efficiency. While I would never want to be apart of the types of hive minds I discussed, I cannot deny that they are efficient. Even though the lesser beings in a hive mind give up their freedom and sense of self, they enter a network of vast intelligence shared with all. Luckily, not every hive mind goes to the extents that the flood does. Hive minds accomplish a specific goal with the help of others, consensual or not. Everyone will know everything. Knowledge literally becomes power.

Research:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hive_mind

http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/hive_minds

http://thelastofus.wikia.com/wiki/The_Infected

http://halo.wikia.com/wiki/Gravemind

The True Hive Mind – How Honeybee Colonies Think

http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/7603196/#full-text-section

Reflection:

When I first started, I dug into social norms and individuality. Things like how social norms define and effect societies and their inhabitants. But it was a bit too broad. A lot of things could be covered and I want to focus on one thing. When I was looking through new topics through individuality, I cam across hive minds. I immediately thought that it would be a good topic to choose. I read through articles and saw examples of hive minds and was reminded of some I saw in the past as well. I was really getting into it. It also helped that there was still an aspect of individuality in the topic of hive minds.

The more I looked into hive minds, the more I wanted it as my topic. The idea of doing everything for a “higher power” is kind of similar to our world.  In the past, people did things in the name of their god, morals be damned. A typical hive mind accomplishes it goal, and an extreme case will do it at any and all costs. The idea of efficiency came soon after. There is a clear goal, and it can be achieved, but through a length of time.

Social Norms in Science Fiction

So far, most Science Fiction stories seem to have some type of social norm that people keep up with. With the social norms comes a sense of individuality that is closely linked to these norms. Each story has its own definition of it. For example, in Brave New World, the “individuality” in the alphas wasn’t actually much different from the social norms set up. They acted within the parameters of an alpha. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, individuality was there, but was not encouraged in the slightest. In fact it was punished.

Usually, these social norms are set up by the ruling party or faction in the world/society. When following the norm is enforced and acting out of it is punished, it becomes much more. It ends up as rules to live by, or else.

I would like to explore deeper into the social norms in Sci-Fi societies. I want to contrast them to the social norms of our current world. Obviously there are many stories in which the social norms are very similar to our own, but I want to know more about the ones that aren’t. The extreme cases and the minor.

Ignorance Is Bliss

So the first episode really confused the hell outta me when it first started. They were interrogating Dolores without much context. It only got weirder when I noticed she was naked. However, it wasn’t made a big deal, as if it was normal. Dolores wakes up in her room and goes upon her day in the wild west. A huge difference from the tiny glimpse we saw. At the town she meets a man named Teddy. He is referred to as a newcomer. They seem to know each other and proceed to spend time with each other. So far nothing it out of the ordinary until they get to Dolores’ house. They hear gunshots so Teddy goes to investigate. Dolores’ father is on the ground at gunpoint. He is then put down by the bandits. What really sickened was when they talked about the wife. One is disappointed about “not getting to have fun with her” to which the other states that’s she probably still warm so it won’t make much of a difference. The sudden necrophilia is out of nowhere, but I guess isn’t uncommon in that “time period.”

When the head honcho appears, he seems to be invincible, not taking any damage from Teddy’s gun. He also states that he’s been visiting Dolores for about 30 years, but she doesn’t remember. He then kills Teddy and drags Dolores away. It is then heavily implied that he rapes her and has been doing so for a very long time. The man’s god mode aside, I find it strange that Dolores can’t seem to remember any of it, until the truth is revealed. Dolores, as well as the settlers of the land, labelled hosts are creations of a company that has made over 100 different “scenarios” for people, labelled guests, to indulge their desires in, no matter how dark. Rape, kill, rob, all of it is allowed. They follow specific routines with minor improvisation. If they are “killed,” they merely reset for the next cycle. They also lose any and all memories of the previous cycles. Business as usual. They are also unable to harm any of the actual people, explaining the “god mode.” The real situation kind of excuses all the cruel actions done so far.

The system isn’t perfect however. They update the hosts with better body language and dialogue. There lies the problem though, the most recent update is causing problems in some of the hosts. It starts off small with the sheriff blanking out and fidgeting. Then it really escalates when one of the hosts kills off an entire saloon, save the guest couple cowering in fear. This causes trouble in the real world. There has not been a problem in the system for 30 years, to which someone says that it is long overdue for one anyways. Over 100 hosts are infected with the bug and are pulled out to be fixed.

Another thing I wanna bring up is the cold storage. All the hosts are kept there when not being used. They just stand there, in the nude mind you, lined up and deactivated. It’s just weird how normal it is for these people to see human-like figures just….there.

The Journey to The North

Because apparently Keith dying wasn’t enough, thieves and pyro addicts attack the neighborhood. After spending the night in a garage because why not, she gets her emergency pack as well as some clothing for her family in hopes that they are still alive. As she leaves the neighborhood, she finds the bodies of many people she knew, except for her own family. She then gets the bright idea to go back to the garage to once again spend the night and finds Zahra and Harry on the way. Lauren is then told that she no longer has a family and they then squat in the garage for the night. The next day Zahra tells her rape story and how she saw other people, including her own daughter, die in front of her. It is truly a very traumatic experience added onto another traumatic experience. Before the rape deed is complete however, Harry comes to the rescue and they escape together. Zahra doesn’t even say exactly that she is raped, but Lauren can see that it is heavily implied. It is obvious that she has not fully come to terms with what has happened to her. The ragtag team discuss plans on where to go and they all agree on North.  Lauren also decides to try a different gender and pretends to be a man because it is safer that way.

On their Canadian quest for maple syrup,  Harry fails to come to terms with reality. “‘But we don’t have to turn into animals, for godsake.’ (182)” He wants to hold onto his virtues that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Lauren however, disagrees. She agrees that they should help people in need, just not to openly trust them (unless of course her hyper empathy deems them otherwise). It isn’t a safe idea to be as open as Harry is, but it’s a respectable quality that I think he has. On the other hand, were Lauren not there to give him a slap on the wrist and tell him no, Harry would probably be dead.

On the topic of foolishness, apparently making sweet love instead of letting Harry keep watch is a wonderful idea. I assume it sounded great in theory, but in reality could have costed much more. In my opinion the situation is pretty comical because Lauren feels everything they do during their……dance. It gets better when Lauren subtly confronts Harry about it when starts knocking out. “‘Remember last night,’ I said. ‘If you care about her at all, if you want her to live, remember last night.’ (201)”  Harry doesn’t take kindly to Lauren’s snooping, even if he’s in the wrong, but backs down anyways. He most certainly still has a lot to learn.

The Journey to the North meets new companions in the form of the Douglas’, Bankole, and the two that escape a life of prostitution, Allie and Jill. It seems that as they go further  in their journey, they find more and more people coming from less than desirable situations.

Class Notes 4/27

Annoucements:

-Literary Event Blog due Sun. Talk about what your experience as well as what you saw, liked etc. Keep in mind that it is still a reflection.

-Next week we are wrapping up the discussion we had on Thursday.

-Monday night there is a blog due for chapters 14-23

Discussion:

.Lauren’s hyperempathy is what makes her human in a cruel world

.Everyone is so accustomed to the brutality that one day there can murder and the next is business as casual

We talked about “Earthseed” quite a bit

.It is slowly evolving through the book and catches the attention of some of the later characters

.God is change, he is what you shape him to be. He is also described as both in unchanging yet is moldable.

We also discussed some of the viewpoints of the characters and how there is an innocent view of the world as well as the more realistic, brutal

Vocab:

Fanaticism- overly obsessed with something (sports fanatic, highly religious people, etc)

Adaptability- able to change with the circumstances (input new things and output new things)

Inexorable- impossible to stop/prevent

 

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1984 Except in 1956

So when I started watching the movie, I noticed some things, the obvious one being the fact that it was in black and white, which is expected for its time. It’s just that I’m so used to everything being in color. Another thing I noticed was that the movie starts differently from the book. It actually starts with explosions and people moving to find shelter. One of those people being Winston, who just so happens to run into Julia. I feel like them meeting right at the beginning adds more impact to the scenes they’re in together.

Speaking of Julia and Winston, their appearances in the movie were drastically different from what I imagined based on the book. Instead of being lanky, he was portrayed by Edmond O’Brien, who is by no means as skinny as a twig. It takes away from Winston’s character because I couldn’t imagine someone like that getting manhandled and not at least injuring someone in the process. I half expected him to sucker punched Mr. Charrington and O’Brien, who was renamed to O’Connor (I’ll come back to that). Julia, however is far less of a problem. The only gripe I had with her was the color of her hair. She was supposed to be dark-haired, specifically a brunette. However, she was blonde in this adaptation, but honestly didn’t take away or change anything from the story.

The sneaky bastard whose last name is O’Brien was depicted very accurately in my opinion. I think the actor fit the part and played him well. I don’t know why they changed his name though, probably because of Edmond. Mr. Charrington was okay however. They cast an old man for the role, which makes sense, but like I said, his part was okay.

Something I didn’t point out was that at the early beginning, I noticed there was already propaganda being shown. I saw a sign that said “Hate Eurasia” and another one being “Big Brother is Watching You.” The movie starts off strong with the bit of foreshadowing. If I didn’t read the novel, I would probably ignore those signs and see them as meaningless. Also, the layout of the city. I know that it’s obviously full of people, but I got a vibe of abandonment and emptiness from just the buildings. The fact that the movie was in black and white only helped support that idea. It could have been due to the bombings and it does make the most sense. However I’m not too sure if the bombings are actually from Eurasia or the Party reinforcing their hatred. I don’t remember if they talk about it in the movie but I wouldn’t put it past the Party if they were the ones behind it.

At the end of the movie, when Winston was getting “cured,” his appearance was becoming rugged and decrepit the more he got tortured to the point that he was put in front of a mirror and he couldn’t believe that was what he became. But eventually he is “cured” and released and finds Julia again, but the contact is a bit…..awkward. Julia looks distant and Winston is just surprised to see her.

A Journey Through Ye-Old Sci-Fi

When we were at the archives, I was shocked to find out what was considered a sci-fi “magazine” back in the day. I expected a magazine much like how they currently are now, and was given a book instead. At first sight, it was anything but a typical magazine, but it did come from an earlier time. I was genuinely confused because it was weird how that’s what passed as a magazine. Pages of straight writing, no images to go along with descriptions and concepts. The book was decently sized too, which makes sense considering that it had multiple articles and stories. I probably wouldn’t read such a thing, but that’s just me.

The archive itself is a different story. Hearing the backstory on how the sci-fi content was acquired was pretty interesting. The generosity one must have to donate their life’s work of collecting is something else. The sci-fi section takes up quite a bit of the archives too. Over 4000 books and “magazines,” a lot of it old too. Just taking in the sight was nice. Some of the books I saw caught my eye, like this one book that talked about the history of gaming (something like that), or another that was on the topic of aliens (yes it sounds generic).

As I looked through some of the many books, I noticed that a lot of them were in very poor condition, likely due to time. I feared that if I so much as poked them, they would just crumble away. They were so wrinkled and…. I guess brownish from old age. It looked kind of decayed in a sense. I also noticed that most of them were all from the same publisher but I don’t exactly remember who, however that isn’t the point. Even if I wasn’t advised not to touch it, I wouldn’t have touched them anyways.

The backstory of the actual archives and the library was interesting as well. I didn’t know that the library used to be below the school, and probably wouldn’t either if I wasn’t told it. It’s a shame that the archives isn’t in a better spot, though it isn’t the college’s fault. It isn’t the best place to properly preserve historical documents and weathered literature. The higher temperature won’t do them any good, and the people with nearby offices suffer too.

My overall experience was at the archives was satisfying to say the least. I learned some interesting facts and got to delve deeper into the history of science fiction. The archive isn’t too big a place, but for what it’s worth, it holds rich history from way before my time. I’m not too fond on most literature, but I can still appreciate as well as see the merit in it. It has to be my specific cup of tea. I patiently await the next time we go back. Maybe I’ll get to skim through some of the books that stood out and caught my eye. That’d be fun to do.

A Not So Quiet Life

The room that Winston rents out above Mr. Charrington’s shop is a small place, but is host to more than enough events in the story. It originally is used as an easy place for Julia and Winston to meet up, but escalates into much more. “So long as they were actually in this room, they both felt, no harm could come to them” (152). Both of them initially think that the little room, which Winston regrets renting out in the beginning, is a safe haven that will protect them from anything. They are both wrong.

Throughout hate-week, Winston and Julia slowly come to terms with the fact that they will eventually be caught by the Party. Winston finds solace in O’Brien, because he appears to be against the party.  O’Brien appeals to Winston with his talk about the resistance, not knowing that he plays right into his hands. It only becomes clear when it is too late and the police bust into the room. Their so called “safe haven” was a lie all along as there was a hidden telescreen behind the picture of St. Clement’s Church. The room does not protect them in the slightest.

“You will work for a while, you will be caught, you will confess, and then you will die…”(177). The quote has a lot of foreshadowing, as Winston and Julia both know that this will eventually happen to them. However they also both believe they will still love each other even after the party is done with them. The party is a force that should not be taken lightly.I wouldn’t say that they were too arrogant, as they both knew they would meet their end sooner or later, but they were both a bit optimistic about their love surviving the torture they would most likely receive.