These thoughts sparked from reading this story on NPR:
And from reading this comment that followed:
“N A (Orizuru) wrote:
I have doubts that humans can learn from the bees in this instance. For the bees, their genetic future rests in hive as a whole. The fanatical bees must conform to the whole or die, which means natural selection favors individual bees that are cooperative. With humans, our genetic future is in our own hands. The fanatics can abandon the norm and are still free to reproduce. We have a choice whether or not we work together, the bees do not.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011 12:47:55 PM”
My interpretations: humans cannot learn from bees because the future of humans does not depend on the group as a whole.
In some ways I can see where this commenter is coming from, but in many others ways, I disagree completely.
Yes, I agree that it is true that humans have the choice of whether or not to cooperate. No one can argue that we do not have the choice. Some people do choose to stray from societal norms. The diversity of cultures of humanity is astounding.
But to argue that our futures are not somehow entwined, in my opinion, is folly. Obviously we are not subject to the same simplistic hive mentality of honey bees. We’d like to think that our lives are a bit more complex and meaningful. Yet, no matter how hard someone tries, he can never disconnect from the forces of society. Existence means being part of a whole, part of something greater. Even death cannot break those bonds, for even as the soul, or consciousness, or life force, or whatever you want to call it, ceases, the body remains. No matter how it is interred, eventually the body will break down and return the cycles of water and nitrogen and carbon, still a part of everything else.
To think that we are somehow above this system of life is to delude ourselves. It is conceited and presumptious. It leads to short term thinking and dire consequences for the future.