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You’re Part of the Collective Now

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I just finished reading Stephen Baxter’s Coalescent.

The book explores eusociality as an evolutionary response. In simple terms, this is a description of what we generally called hive animals – ants, bees etc as well as some crustaceans . But I also learned the interesting fact that there is a eusocial mammal – the naked mole rat (very creepy, Kim Possible fans).

The human social and biological adaptations Stephen Baxter describes in Coalescent are very creepy too (“sisters matter more than daughters; listen to your sisters; ignorance is strength”).

Anyway, at the end of the book he makes a passing reference to Elliot Wave theory (the study of market behaviour as irrational crowd dynamics and herd behaviour), which made me think that maybe I’m approaching political issues in completely the wrong way.

I’ve looked at political behaviour from a few angles in the time I’ve been blogging, including a sort of psycho-political look at the political value of the feelings of anger, frustration and impotence engendered in those on the left/liberal/progressive side of the fence in recent decades. And a look at some of the reasons for those feelings, and the ways they’re exploited by our rulers.

And I’ve looked at the reasons people take the political positions they do, usually on the flimsiest of evidence, and where clearly the desire to have a certain opinion preceded any encounter with the evidence.

But maybe it’s not about psychology or sociology, or about reasoning and persuasion, or even about badges and belonging – it’s purely chemical. It’s not about the interaction of rational decision-making individuals, but just a single entity maintaining homestasis. We are just nodes in a network, with a certain positions and roles to fulfill, all enforced and triggered by chemical messages well below the level of perception.

So by this view we’re just something like discarded drones making up an outer defensive layer for the hive. Perhaps dissent is inevitable and required, but can be clamped into some kind of chemical straightjacket for the good of the collective.

Not particularly encouraging, but not much is these days. You’re part of the collective now.

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