Humanity's Power is in Its Ability to Swarm

Hobbes and Lovelock agree that our human ability to form into collective powerhouses is what gives us strength.

Folksonomies: politics evolution culture philosophy society civilization

Civilization is a Work of Art, Creating an Artificial Man

NATURE (the art whereby God hath made and governs the world) is by the art of man, as in many other things, so in this also imitated, that it can make an artificial animal. For seeing life is but a motion of limbs, the beginning whereof is in some principal part within, why may we not say that all automata (engines that move themselves by springs and wheels as doth a watch) have an artificial life? For what is the heart, but a spring; and the nerves, but so many strings; and the joints, but so many wheels, giving motion to the whole body, such as was intended by the Artificer? Art goes yet further, imitating that rational and most excellent work of Nature, man. For by art is created that great LEVIATHAN called a COMMONWEALTH, or STATE (in Latin, CIVITAS), which is but an artificial man, though of greater stature and strength than the natural, for whose protection and defence it was intended; and in which the sovereignty is an artificial soul, as giving life and motion to the whole body; the magistrates and other officers of judicature and execution, artificial joints; reward and punishment (by which fastened to the seat of the sovereignty, every joint and member is moved to perform his duty) are the nerves, that do the same in the body natural; the wealth and riches of all the particular members are the strength; salus populi (the people\'s safety) its business; counsellors, by whom all things needful for it to know are suggested unto it, are the memory; equity and laws, an artificial reason and will; concord, health; sedition, sickness; and civil war, death. Lastly, the pacts and covenants, by which the parts of this body politic were at first made, set together, and united, resemble that fiat, or the Let us make man, pronounced by God in the Creation.


Hobbes\' poetic description of humans gathered into society to form a larger human.

Folksonomies: politics philosophy


Humans Aren\'t Especially Smart, It\'s Just that We Swarm

I prefer sociobiologist E. O. Wilson\'s view of us as unfortunate tribal carnivores that have acquired intelligence. Our evolution is more like that of social insects; the advances in knowledge and understanding that we prize are more a property of the human nests we call civilization than of its individual members. The nest is always more powerful than a collection of individuals. Who dares disturb the hornet\'s nest? Small bees easily destroy the huge and powerful but solitary Japanese hornet when it invades their nest. They cluster around it in a ball and cook it to death at 50°C. A large brain offers no protection for the sperm whale when attacked by possibly less-intelligent human hunters.


Humans are like other social insects. Our power doesn\'t come from our brains, but our ability to collaborate.

Folksonomies: evolution society intelligence civilization