Hive Minds


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.


The True Hive Mind – How Honeybee Colonies Think


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.

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