Hive mind: The good, the bad, and the viral | Sarah Rose Cavanagh

Hive mind: The good, the bad, and the viral | Sarah Rose Cavanagh


The hivemind is a couple of different things. It is firstly the idea that we are a collective
as much as we are individuals and that we can enter this frame of mind where we’re
sharing attention and we’re sharing goals and we’re sharing emotions. You can feel this most often if you think
about your own experiences in attending rock concerts or sporting events, singing together
in a choir where we seem to meld together a bit and share these experiences. But the hivemind is also the extent to which
our understanding of the world is sourced collectively from each other, from our social
others rather than just through independent decisions and experiences. So much of what we think is acceptable, what
we think is fashionable and even what we think is true is sourced from other people and not
ourselves. We are tremendously influenced by the people
that we admire and the people that we feel close to. Without even realizing it we can be shaped
by these ideas. A good example of that I think is the ice
bucket challenge which was a really odd thing if you stop to think about it. It’s wonderful that we raised all that money
for ALS but this impulse to do this thing just because everyone else is doing it and
to do something so uncomfortable and strange as pour a bucket of ice over your head just
spread like wildfire. And you can see this with most things that
go viral. They don’t always make complete sense. People aren’t always thinking through. They just do it because we’re influenced
by each other so profoundly. We are such an individualistic society that
we tend to focus more on the bad aspects of the collective. We talk a lot about conformity. We talk a lot, especially since the 2016 election
people are focusing a lot on echo chambers, on group polarization which refers to the
fact that when we talk to only people who agree with us we not only become more entrenched
in our views but we move more extreme. And we’ve been focusing a lot of our discussion
on those dangers of collective thinking and I absolutely believe that there are many dangers
of collective thinking. But at the same time we can source that collective
thinking in powerful ways. So some of the best approaches to disinformation
that I have seen involve relying more on the hivemind. Not expecting every individual person to go
through every step of digital literacy and to evaluate each piece of information, but
rather to source broadly and look for things that other people have already done. Not recreate the wheel but see if this idea
has been debunked by other reputable sources at the same time. And so I think that there are ways that we
can tap into the collective that are positive and prosocial as well as negative and antisocial. If we believe that we’re complete individuals
and that all of our opinions and all of our thoughts are clearly our own. Then we’re more susceptible I think to those
dangers of the hivemind. If we question – and this is something I
do with my students all the time is to try to get both them and me into a place where
we can question our own beliefs, where we can ask where are these coming from. What’s the source of these beliefs. To think carefully and to think rationally
about those things I think can get us to a safer place.

11 thoughts on “Hive mind: The good, the bad, and the viral | Sarah Rose Cavanagh

  1. I believe they call it The Tyranny of the Majority and it is an inevitable side effect of Democracy. That and division until civil war.

  2. Depends on your DNA an the cultural heritage that you have from the time you were born to 7 years of age that determines your Destiny and your difference to others smiling around you who just may have another opinion of LIFE, LIBERTY an the Pursuit of Happiness. This can be contained to a degree as long as all are worshipping the same GOD, but when a nation has many religions an God's never ever. HISTORY has proven time an time again all nations slowly faid away because of too much multi culturalism. The United States is proof of this, at one time it was a Christian NATION , then a capitalist nation now a Judo-Christian nation slowly day by day a Islamic-Christian nation an a socialist CHRISTIAN Masonic nation going no where round an round the Sun as it will be replaced as it was foretold by something from the East. The possibility of everyone agreeing on anything will be as Maxine Waters pointed out, to go out Mobbing, Screaming, Harassing anyone who disagrees with you!!!!

  3. Hive mind theory is bull. The collective mind is a thing though. Sharing information, specializing in different areas to when needed use the collective information specialized by others

  4. It's kinda tragic, you try to leave the hive and all it's toxicity to try to learn to be happy, but you're still susceptible and vulnerable to them, and envy their feelings of non-aloneness.

  5. If you need any evidence of a hive mind, you only see need to see the deranged behavior that followed (and still follows) the USA's 2016 election…

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