the individual versus the collective

One of my favorite non-human races in Star Trek is the Borg, a collective intelligence that assimilates any member of any race that it encounters. Resistance is futile. I still carry the time-tempered memory of the first time I watched an episode containing the Borg, and I was fascinated by this idea of the true collective intelligence (and yes, I will admit that the introduction of the Borg queen did make me sad, but that’s another conversation).

I can recognize that many people view the Borg as a villainous race, breaking down the individual as they do, giving the collective a higher value over the individual. But I’m starting to wonder.

If we consider climate change, it is becoming more and more clear that agreed collective action is needed in order for humanity to survive in anything like its current state, and at present that collective action is still halting. This haltingness is part of the news every evening, and yes I do have the news on in the background as I’m typing this.

A basic theme of Star Trek is that we have learned to act for the good of all, even when the good of all doesn’t agree with the good for the individual, though many of the episodes still involve working through the issues inherent in such a way of being. Star Trek is far more utopian than dystopian, as opposed to some others, but even then the utopia hasn’t yet been firmly established.

So there is a balance point to be found, a shifting dynamic balance point at which there is no rest but only a constant surfing on difficult waves and the constant work of maintaining balance on unstable ground.

What’s interesting is that this then ties into aikido, in the sense of maintaining balance while under stress. But that’s only a side thought, the mechanisms of maintaining balance.

This conversation between the individual and the collective has been going on since the beginning of conversation, and I don’t know what at present I have to offer that conversation. But I can see that I have a lot of homework to do, as do we all I think, And that work continues.

~ by Jim Anderson on 31 July 2022.

One Response to “the individual versus the collective”

  1. acting collectively, collective responsibility… would be wonderful. I fear we are just not intelligent enough as a species to really get to grips with climate change. Or not enough of us are.

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