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Question about Enders Game and hive societies

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by slobake, Feb 26, 2014.

  1. slobake

    slobake resident ... something Supporting Member

    I loved the book when I first read it many years ago. I re-read it and finally got a chance to see the movie last night.
    I liked the movie but it did leave me with one nerdy question.
    Could an insect like colony like the one potrayed develop a growing changing culture and/or a high tech society capable of space flight?I have seen this type of hive culture potrayed many times in Science Fiction.
    I don't think that culture would be cabable of much innovation. I believe that a society with only one person cabable of free independent thought would be very static. It would probably stay the same with only very minor changes for a long, long time.
    What do you think?
  2. Tat2dHeart

    Tat2dHeart Only two strings away from an attitude problem.

    I see this one of two ways.

    1. It is a genre called science "fiction."

    2. With time and resources anything can be possible. Just look at all the things we never even envisioned 200 years ago that we have today. If the hive culture were not at all capable of independent thought, how is it that they form 12 million new colonies a year in my lawn alone each summer? I think each independent entity is probably capable of independent thought, but they simply don't engage it openly until such time as it's necessary. Their immediate needs are taken care of through the hive concept, and they need for nothing additional when all things remain the same. It's only upheaval that creates change.

    In EG, the colony only expanded to other worlds when their own worlds began to die out from over-consumption of resources. There were specific atmospheric and life resources needed to keep the colony alive, and expansion was necessary to preserve the race. That's a pretty big upheaval. Was it the hive queen's idea? Maybe. Or maybe it was an idea from some drone in the colony that was meaningless on its own and the hive queen plucked that idea, and other random ideas from the collective and assembled them into something cohesive enough to create the means necessary to fight extinction.

    Have you read the whole series, or just the original EG novel?
  3. slobake

    slobake resident ... something Supporting Member

    Just the original EG novel. I started "Speaker For the Dead." But never finished it.
    I'm glad I'm not the only geek who thinks about things like this. :bag: :p
  4. Tat2dHeart

    Tat2dHeart Only two strings away from an attitude problem.

    You should read the whole series. In the books focused on Ender, you get a lot more depth (if you can slog through some of the more trivial stuff) about how Ender's mind works, and what sort of things he hears from the unborn hive queen during her development.

    The books that focus on the other characters, you learn not just more about them, but the "what made them tick" stuff that really played into who they were by the time they got to Battle School. There's also some decent stuff about their lives after the war (I won't spoil them for you). Most of what I really liked was the politics though.

    I re-read the series every couple of years because there are some pretty interesting political threads woven into the storylines.
  5. This would be true if there were only one queen for the whole species. I was under the impression that there was more than that, which would then provide for the competition needed to evolve.

    ...and yes, do read the rest of the series.
  6. slobake

    slobake resident ... something Supporting Member

    In the movie all the activity stopped when the queen was destroyed in the original battle. All of the alien ships fell out of the sky. That leaves me to believe that other individuals in the colony are incapable of independent thought.
    I know we are talking about a work of fiction here. It may not coincide with what happens in real hive colonies.
  7. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    The 2nd and 3rd novels explore in depth the idea that the behavior of some alien species may understandable to humans while others may not. Specifically, Ender discovers that the formics seem incapable of keeping their promises in the same way the we do, despite the fact that they sincerely have every intent to keep them. They clearly have a different concept of cause and effect and the idea of obligation by oath is foreign to them.

    Another thing to consider is the plot device Card uses to keep the hive colony together and that is the formics all have a telepathic link to their queen. Since this is more of a fantasy idea than a science fiction idea it's kind of unrealistic to wonder whether a hypothetical alien race could function this way in the real world.
  8. slobake

    slobake resident ... something Supporting Member

    True, but it is fun to speculate.
  9. I imagine a species dependent on a hive mind would undergo some cultural changes in the same way that an adolescent's tastes regarding fashion change.

    With regard to high technology, big brains trump all else. There's a million monkeys out there right now continuing to not invent the wheel, continuing to not harness fire. A pretty modest evolutionary jump and they could be launching rocket ships to the moon. But right now they don't have the raw intelligence to do these things. Having a million independent innovators doesn't resolve that obstacle.

    Us? We're hopped-up chimps who've got a really good grasp on geometry and fire. That's rocket science.

    Imagine a species (or group of species) controlled by a hive mind. The evolutionary pressure on that hive mind to be a bigger, better brain would be intense. The rewards for a species like ours are big. For a species like that? Massive. We'd probably look like silly dumb primates to something like that, playing so seriously with our wrenches and burnable things.