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Mankind's Inner Ant (newstatesman.com)
39 points by commons-tragedy 7 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 19 comments

"Like it or not, we need the continued existence of others, who may be seen as revolting, barbaric or just alien, to know who we are."

What a crock. People become barbaric when their own personal situation and environment has become barbaric. Drought and poverty are the leading causes for people to become barbaric--not the lack of anything to compare oneself to. And if it's not as extreme as that--that he's implying we need people to compare ourselves to to maintain self worth, there are levels. You can't just say shit like that. It's one thing to watch failed America Idol auditions to makes oneself feel better about oneself, it's another to regard said people as alien or disgusting barbarians. Irony is, the people who judge cultures or personalities in such an extreme way are the worst of us themselves (and if all xenophobes were all to change their ways tomorrow, I wouldn't suddenly lose my ability to identify anti-social behavior, just as other people wouldn't lose the ability to re-embrace it).

People become barbaric when their own personal situation and environment has become barbaric.

You are very likely misreading the line to say something it isn't saying. It isn't about 'actual' barbarism.

His point is that the external threat of barbarians or whatever is what held together civilizations like Rome. They had an external threat to rally together against. Here in the US the period after 9/11 was very similar, or after Pearl Harbor, etc etc.

America invents a boogie man to rally behind. There is no real boogie man. Hell go see Regan's speech where he's talking about ralling against alien threat rather than fighting the Soviet Union.

I don’t think so. Politicians use this trick but that does not mean it is « what held together civilizations ». Intelligent leadership, rule of the law, public wealth and opportunity for growth beat barbarians any time.

"The second implication is that there is no hope for a universal human society. “The notion of cosmopolitanism, the idea that the people of the world will come to feel a primary connection to the human race, is a pipe dream,” Moffett says."

One of the questions I ask to new-found friends to get to know them better is: "How do you feel about the Borg? If there was such a central system would you agree to be hooked up?"

I don't think primary connection to the human race is a pipe dream, nor is it a bad thing. But we have to invent technologies for people to experience/understand other people's thoughts.

It's an interesting question. Personally I feel it depends if there's a trial period and easy separation. If your sales pitch is "Try it and it's so awesome you'll want to keep doing it" that's a lot more compelling (assuming non-addictive) than "resistance is futile".

What a dupe. Once you try the hive mind trial, you will automatically believe what the collective believes, that YES, IT IS AWESOME.

This made me laugh

>Try it and it's so awesome you'll want to keep doing it

I've got this heroin to sell you...

I would be down for ghost in the shell merging with select individuals. But the borg feels like... just dying pointlessly. It’s like you’re assuming that you’re joining a greater purpose simply because there’s more people in it than you yourself. It’s up there for least compelling ideologies.

But by joining the collective you don't die, you mind becomes part of the hive mind. It's not gone, it still has a (minuscule) influence on the behavior of the whole swarm.

Voter turnout figures suggest that being a miniscule influence isn't exactly what people consider having a good time.

Amusing but insightful

Do you look at the general public and conclude that, on average, a random person tends to make informed decisions that you would like to be a part of? As an American, I routinely think that half of the country has terrible reasoning and that the other half is technically making better decisions for often equally dumb reasoning. I feel like a borg would be observably similar. Look at the decisions it makes. If you disagree with most of them (strongly), would you join it? It’s not all that different from joining any social group. You just offer it 100% of your salient identity.

Moffett is wrong. If we can have 1-2 billion people rally behind a single religion we can have a cosmopolitan society. The question is how do we divide up things so people feel that they are getting their fair share... without destroying the planet.

I've been asking myself this also. We have the ability to be more productive(vastly). The question is how much more productive can we be without reaching the asymptote that represents environmental death.

I think we have reached a critical junction where we must pause and consider our environmental and social impacts first and foremost. We evolved divine conscious to protect diversity of all kinds. Our failures and successes will lead to further propagation. Before we were the dominant species on this planet biodiversity was thriving. Our goals should be to seek further diversity in information, life, and living systems. Success is not guaranteed in our lifetime, but guaranteed in infinity. We should do our best though.

I don't agree. The ant looks much distant to us.

There are colonization tendencies in every living being, I think. Ants are not the only one. A wolf pack hangs together, so do a bunch of chimpanzees and zebras. The difference is in the way this tendency is expressed and the author fails to draw comparisons appropriately.

Just my opinion!

So... do autistic people smell different?

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