American exceptionalism (or British, German, European, white, Japanese) is a modern instance of a human-style hive mind. Even though there are positive consequences to predictability and stability in cooperative human effort, there are also striking negative consequences to the “hive mind” way of motivating stability. Most spectacularly, hive mind collectives become violently antagonistic toward one another and willfully instigate catastrophic destruction and instability on a vast scale, preparing for which they tirelessly devote great resources in advance. With all the advances in science and technology so celebrated over the last century, militant hive-mind-ism is not weakening and confidently controls all the dominant institutions of sovereign states. The persistence of this war fetish means that the collective situation has reached a condition in which the only way to deal with its problems is for individuals to abandon hive minds entirely. A kind of thinking is required which proceeds independently of the conceptual vocabulary internal to hive minds.
In Medieval Christendom it was taken for granted by those in authority that the majority of people would go mad, commit mass suicide and random acts of destruction, if it were known that the universe as a whole did not revolve around the Earth. Even though humanity survived the Copernican Revolution, there are even now many well educated and professional people of science who argue that it is not possible for humans to do without a socially and culturally constructed hive mind, that individuals would, if separated from hive mind, be in despair from total lack of personal identity, meaning, purpose, and the sense of having a place in the world. However, there is more to personal identity than what is assigned by the hive. There are resources in every individual’s experience to draw on and build with. After all, the markers of the collective/ hive often have the low definition of symbols, abstractions, and emblems, (flags, seals, anthems, titled officials, iconic historical events and personalities, monumental architecture), whereas personal self experience is the high definition of direct immediate involvement with the world. Even for individuals outside a hive mind orientation, human history is still human history, (profoundly misrepresented by the stories used to fashion any particular hive mind). Every individual still participates in that larger history that includes the whole collection of hive minds and what is also beyond them.
Copyright © 2017 Sandy MacDonald.