The Borg Collective? LO11639

Martha Landerman (
Fri, 03 Jan 97 09:40:46 EST

Replying to LO11609 --

[Subject line shortened slightly by your host...]

In LO11609, Jan Lelie made some comments about evolution, and about
whether it's so bad to evolve a society like the Borg Collective.

I think we should make a distinction between evolution in a
survial-of-the-species sense, and evolution in a
make-the-most-of-the-individuals sense. From a survival point of view,
ants, bees, termites, and Borgs are all highly successful. They've
achieved a whopping good rate of survival through their single-minded
societies. One brain, lots of arms and legs to do the work.

But are any of the individuals happy? Achieved as much as they can?
Expressed their creativity? Yes, it's a trick question, since most of
the examples are insects, without the brains to care one way or
another :-). Humans wouldn't be too happy in such a society. I'm not
even sure we'd achieve survival of the species by adopting such a

How would we harness individuals to live in such a personally
restricted society? Extensive drugging? Cybernetic implants such as
the Borg have? It'd have to be something massive to achieve such a
single-minded unity from such a diverse people. We'd sacrifice much of
our creativity responsible for new scientific discoveries, new ideas,
new inventions. So I'd bet that adopting a hive mentality wouldn't
assure our survival, because we'd lose our flexibility to change and
adapt, and so many people would be so unhappy we'd self-destruct.

The Borg don't evolve or create. They swallow what other cultures have
done, and incorporate the useful bits. So in a backhanded kind of way,
they owe the Federation a lot for their improvements!

I do think evolution works with purpose. Unsuccessful mutations die.
Successful ones flourish. In our case, we must make sure that our
evolution isn't just physically successful, but mentally successful as

It's my fondly-held belief that for us to evolve successfully we DO
have to incorporate respect for the individual and recognition of the
breakthroughs that individuals make (I know of no scientific basis for
this; it's just personal intuition ;-D). There's a lot of ground
between a bunch of squabbling barbarians with no group management
skills and the Borg Collective with no individual skills. Somewhere
between there's room for a group of individuals who respect one
another, care for one another, and can work together and alone to
achieve greatness.

Happy New Year to everyone!


Martha Landerman
senior creative analyst
UPS Information Services Maryland
2311 York Road
Timonium, MD 21093

Try yoga. As your body flexes, so does your mind.


"Martha Landerman" <>

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