Bumblebee Society

Bumblebee Society

  1. The good thing about bumble-bee culture is that it has been around through hundreds of thousands of years of environmental tumult and has remained exactly the same.
  2. For the bad thing about bumble-bee society, see ' 1.' above.

To achieve the noble goal of continuity, bumble-bees rely on a very narrow band of "acceptable behaviors" enforced with a surprisingly small number of feedback mechanisms:

It could not work without the last one. Indeed, a BumblebeeSociety has been abstracted into HiveMind for these self-same attributes.

Sounds familiar?

Hrm. Can bumble-bees understand the concept of "threat"? I think you're giving 'em more credit than they deserve. I think bumble-bee hives work by hard-wired cycles of stimulus and response, not human abstractions like outcasting and death.

As an addendum to the above concept: bumblebees aren't in fact punished for bad behavior; they don't need to be. Insects act the way they do because that is how they are wired to behave. Anyone who is familiar with the various degrees of sociality in insects will understand how bumble-bees work. Incidentally, there are also some parasitic bumblebee-cousins who take advantage of the system by pretending to be members of bumble-bee colonies - you'd think any punishment system would catch them.


I would challenge you to name one genius whose contributions have "changed the world" that did not have a troubled adolescence.

Um, I'd challenge you to name any human at all who didn't have a troubled adolescence.

I didn't. Or I repressed the memory really very well. Probably expensive psychiatric counselling will bring it all back, requiring even more expensive psychiatric counselling... On second thoughts, I'll just leave it repressed.

-- StephanHouben

... I didn't either, but, I'd say sometimes you don't have to look too far into the past to find those who are. :-)

As an example of, and to clarify what is meant by "changed the world genius" I'll try to come up with a few here:

[The list is now at WorldGeniuses]

Note that some of these were self-medicating in later life but there's no evidence that this occurred during their formative or adolescent years. A casual look at the "problem" suggests that if we are doing societal damage here, it is damage that will not even begin to manifest for another three or four generations. What ramifications does this have on the future? Can the technology that was born out of this group's science stay ahead of it's own downside? Is BumblebeeSociety a DarkPattern?

I think that this pattern is a subclass of the HiveMind pattern (and I've made an edit above to reflect that). The HiveMind pattern re: television is a DarkInstance? of a pattern; but a HiveMind that dictates InsectBehaviour is a very efficient and good PatternInstance?. However, from InsectBehaviour, it would seem that the BumblebeeSociety is not a true analogy. Insects use a CollectiveIntelligence rather than a HiveMind. Either way, a moral judgment can only be made of patterns that aren't as abstract as this one or on particular PatternInstances? themselves.

Sure, if you're unlucky you'll get your brains knocked out. Still, for the most part, the literate ones make it out of the hive alive. Not nice, but progress nonetheless. Maybe what we need is an outreach program. Maybe that's what the net can be. Nevertheless, for the most part, the BumblebeeSociety does us far more good than harm. If you're bright, you can make a pile and then learn what you like and live how you like. Just don't get caught.

I do think that there is an invalid conflation of "needing Ritalin" and "being one of the smart ones". I was significantly brighter than many of my schoolmates (at least through grade school), but I did not in any way exhibit the behaviors that now prompt the perscribing of Ritalin (at least in the US). ADHD/ADD kids are stereotypically those who are not able to a) do the work for lack of concentration, and b) can't sit calmly until the work is done. While I do think there is a tendency to leap right to a chemical solution for handling behavioral problems, I don't see the Ritalin stifling all the bright minds. Besides, the truly bright minds can do the work quickly and then get bored, which is at least half the defense against ADD/ADHD diagnosis. -- Pete Hardie

One of my cousins is ADHD. It's striking to watch the change that comes over him as the Ritalin wears off. He goes from being bright to being chaotic and unfocused. You can watch his ability to listen to you and his ability to think coherently fall apart. After the medication, he goes back to being a startlingly bright little kid. Far from being an obedient little robot, he becomes a kid who gives his parents only the normal amount of trouble - not the bountiful buckets of trouble an untreated ADHD kid can give. -- WayneConrad

I hate to break this to y'all, but bumble-bees live alone.

I think they meant honey-bee society...
Incorrect in part. Many bumble-bees live alone. Some create colonies of up to a hundred or so. I agree that the honey-bee would be a much more appropriate example. The bumble-bee society is loose and not nearly as directed.

I don't think any bumble-bees per se live alone. Most live in the small colonies you mention; a few are parasitic in other colonies. All in all, though, they have the same social structure as honeybees *exactly* except for dancing and swarming (i.e. new queens don't take colonies with them). There are many, many solitary, colonial, and slightly social bees, but bumble-bees aren't among them.

Bumble-bees rely on a very narrow band of "acceptable behaviors", enforced with a surprisingly small number of feedback mechanisms: Points one and two are greatly misleading. If you're referring to the violent expulsion of obsolete drones, that's mandated by the drones' inability to contribute after the mating flight. Even if they suddenly co-operated wholeheartedly, they'd still be thrown out. If you're referring to the combat of accidentaly introduced (or produced) multiple queens, there can only be one generator. Neither of these circumstances can be ameliorated through compliance. Chemical dependency is questionable; driven is correct. These points go for honey-bees too. One should also note that the violence is restricted to the reproductive castes.

This is the second case where folks have used insects as examples of CollectiveMind? or HiveMind without really understanding the animal involved. FalsePatterns, same as the "instantaneous" flocking of birds and fish being an example of HolographicMind?. The animals simply do not function in the manner described.

It's one thing to promote discussion of purely abstract ideas such as these, and another to find "patterns" that are subsequently misconstrued and presented as supportive evidence of the existence of these ideas as fact. It not only does a disservice to those reading these pages who are not familiar with the animals, but makes the proponent of the argument look very weak. While the classing and subclassing of these "minds" may be intellectual fun, it's only that so far. Much like arguing whether the Hulk or Spiderman would win a fight.

-- HergerThomann

Spiderman, obviously. I also would like to interject that I was always taught in school that animals act on "instinct", as if they don't have intellectual capabilities. Later, outside of school, one observes animals in the world enough and discovers this is not true. I have not observed bees enough to know what I think of their minds, but Stephen Wise, in _Drawing the Line: Science and the Case for Animal Rights_, had a lot to say about the intelligence of honeybees. I recently observed a rooster who waited for the traffic to clear before crossing the road. --C.P.

Our minds are hive minds. Replace <individual social insect> with <neuron>. We don't get too upset about the death of individual neurons, or the fact that their behavior is determined by chemicals, or even how "mindless" they are. Social insects just "think" at a different scale than we do. Instead of using an organization of SingleCells, they use an organization of MulticellularOrganisms. Their hives are MetacellularOrganisms. -- EricHodges

Mental-illness versus Misfit

Some of the behaviors that drugs are perscribed for perhaps had natural-selection advantages eons ago. For example, perhaps "hyper-active" kids made great rabbit hunters in the past. Perhaps people who hallucinate were at times considered religious prophets. Muhamad and Jesus may have simply been skitzoid. Thus, rather than being a "mental illness", it is all just the wrong genes showing up at the wrong place or wrong time.

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