The Collective

David Musick (
Tue, 24 Dec 96 01:51:52 UT

Chris Hind signals, "Ughh! I don't want to become a borganism."

I don't think Chris has any problems with being a cyborg, so I am assuming he
is expressing his distaste for becoming part of a collective. Well, Chris,
it's too late; you are already part of a collective (you are also the result
of a collective; one which your cells are individual members).

Our minds are linked together, forming a larger mental system. I don't mean
this in a mystical way. For example, when I talk to someone, my neural
activity causes my throat to vibrate the air which alters the neural activity
of the "other" person by vibrating their ear drums, which causes
electrochemical stimulation in their brain, etc. Our brains are not really
separate from each other since they have developed many powerful links and can
influence each other to a very high degree. It's not much different than one
cluster of neurons in one part of my brain influencing another cluster of
neurons in another part of my brain. Instead of the signals travelling
through the axons and dendrites of my brain, they must pass through some other
medium, such as sound waves or images or touching or something else, but we
still have clusters of neurons sending signals to and highly influencing other
clusters of neurons. The fact that the different clusters are encased in
different skulls is not very relevant; what matters, as far as the mind goes,
is the *patterns of interaction*. The different neural clusters can work
together in a very coherent and intelligent way, such as in a group of people
working on a project as small as washing dishes, or as large as a

We are already part of a group mind, a collective, whether we're aware of it
or not. This thought is highy repugnant to many people, because they think
that they must sacrifice their own identity, freedom, individuality, desires
and so forth, for the benefit of the collective. This response comes from
people who automatically think in terms of zero-sum games; where one party
must lose something for another to gain something. In these terms, if
something benefits the group, it must harm the members of the group. However,
in a positive-sum game, such as life, or the marketplace, several parties can
all benefit together, with no loss to anyone. The collective can grow
stronger with no loss to the individuals -- in fact, for a truly stong and
powerful collective, each individual member must *gain* from being part of the
collective, otherwise it will be unstable.

All our thoughts and exchanges of thoughts form the collective mind of
humanity. Examining the history of this mind, it seems to function most
intelligently when each node (human) interacts voluntarily with other nodes,
when there is a minimal amount of coercive activity among the nodes. There
are various reasons for this, which have been examined in more detail

I believe that the most powerful collective will be one in which each member
sacrifices nothing but gains tremendously by being in the collective, where
the whole situation is 'win-win' for everyone, including the collective

- David Musick

-- True Altruism must involve no sacrifice, so that it benefits *everyone*. --