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The idea of a collective consciousness is an entirely dehumanizing concept.
"Another example of collective consciousness at a primitive level comes from the remarkable behavior of a forest slime mold in search of a new feeding area. For most of its life, slime mold exists as a single-cell amoeba; however, when it needs food, it can transform itself into a much larger entity with new capacities. Individual amoebas send out signals to nearby cells until thousands collect together.
Eventually, they reach a critical mass and, without the aid of any apparent leader, organize themselves into an organism that can move across the forest floor. Upon reaching a better feeding area, they release spores from which new individual amoebas are formed. Under conditions of great stress, forest slime molds seem to be able to mobilize a capacity for collective consciousness so as to insure their own survival."
One might see a herd or flock of birds moving in harmonic unison as one being, one mind—a quaint poetic way of looking at things, and one that might only help to disguise the reality of it all—but in truth, most of the herd members are merely following the ass directly in front of them, hoping that it might lead them to whatever glories they are after. And to twist things a little bit more—the animals in front of the herd are more than likely running from the rush behind them, scared of being trampled by what chases at their heals, and completely unaware of the leadership role they have been given.
In every culture I’ve found myself within, whenever I was face to face with another human who has momentarily stepped away from their herd to greet me as an individual, their uniqueness and beauty becomes apparent. It is here that they become majestic. They speak and act from a perspective I’ve never witnessed before and will never see again. Although their language and culture is acquired from different places than mine, we nonetheless share the same individuality—only sometimes alike, but always different.
We love our family, our closest friends, our places of rest and play—but then again in order to maintain these pleasures we must take part in the societal rat race. It might be said that we are pack animals conforming to a herd life, wolves in sheep’s clothing, but that we sometimes forget what we are beneath the cotton.
While I agree with your premise overall, there is one statement I'd like to point out: " The difference between a bee and a human, however, is that a human can choose not to react to the cues and instincts of the hive if he employs his thinking faculties. He can simply step aside. He can swim in the opposite direction." I propose that mental institutions and prisons are full of people who did just that.
Society, in general, is an entity unto itself and does not reward individuality at all. I have worked in both prisons and mental institutions (as a nurse) and had the opportunity to witness how Society responds to adamant adherence to individuality. Group think and conformity are constantly enforced. One is "cured" or "rehabilitated" when conformity is finally achieved.
There are occasions when Society allows a show of rewarding individuality by tolerating "eccentric" behavior. Usually the eccentric must be wealthy or be possessed of a very high IQ. A brilliant inventor can be indulged IF their inventions benefit Society and the eccentricities of the wealthy are also overlooked in favor of their throwing obscene amounts of money at Society (building hospitals, donating art to museums, etc.). Any brilliance or eccentricity exhibited that benefits only the individual is promptly squelched as deviant and in need of conformity compliance.
Sometimes metaphor isn't exactly scientifically accurate
What you see on Black Friday or in stadium crowds is really just a mob. It's a disorganized crowd of random elements that may or may not have a common goal, but is really not working together in any tangible way and may actually be working against itself.
Have you ever watched a herd of caribou or impalas or water buffalos being chased by a predator?
Further, I don't think he's using his 'imagining' of stampeding animals and bird flocks as a "metaphor." He's using it as an "example", and the 'example' is incorrect.
See ketsuko's post above.
They still have a 'leader'. The 'leaders' aren't afraid of being run over by the crowd. The 'birds' use aerodynamics and expense of energy as their guideposts.
NVM - I'm done trying to interact with you.
Spira, I read his entire OP three times before responding. I didn't "miss anything".
Yes, each of us is unique. Together....together!!...... is the only way we can fix what's wrong. He calls it "hive mind following behavior" - I call it solidarity;
cooperation toward a common goal based on our recognition of shared "humanness" and that each individual has something to offer the 'collective.