abelard's home latest changes & additions at abelard.org link to document abstracts link to short briefings documents quotations at abelard.org, with source document where relevant click for abelard's child education zone economics and money zone at abelard.org - government swindles and how to transfer money on the net latest news headlines at abelard's news and comment zone
socialism, sociology, supporting documents described Loud music and hearing damage Architectural wonders and joys at abelard.org about abelard and abelard.org visit abelard's gallery Energy - beyond fossil fuels France zone at abelard.org - another France

sociology - the structure of analysing belief systems

bees are people too -
which one is one?

beta release

Tour de France 2022
language for manipulation, exaggeration and hypocrisy
expanding and dying chains
which one is one?
decision processes: metalogic B
This page helpful?
Like it ! Share it !

which one is one? How do individuals decide? Do they go their own way, or do they follow the crowd?
On social choices - freedom or collectivism. First in a series discussing how humans choose behaviours.

"Human knowledge will be erased from the archives of the world
before we possess the last word that a gnat has to say to us." [1]

    Part One - how do individuals act?

      grains of sand

    1. Grains of sand are very similar to each other - that is, it takes close examination to tell them apart.

    2. If dropped one by one onto a sand pile, dropping a single grain of sand will lead to a landslip, which poor humans presently find hard to predict. This is sometimes called emergent behaviour.

    3. bee genetics and the individual bee
    4. As stated in franchise by examination, education, and intelligence, the idea of genes without an environment, or an environment without genes, is nonsense.

    5. A swarm of bees takes up residence in a local tree or house.
      A few bees then sortie out, looking for a new home. They return to the swarm on occasion to broadcast their findings to the rest of the swarm. Other bees then go out looking at the recommendations. In time, the bees come to a consensus on the best site, a crude form of democracy.
      A swarm of bees under the eaves of a house
      A swarm of bees under the eaves of a house
Part One- how do individuals acts?
grains of sand
bee genetics and the individual bee
the nature of one
how to decide which one is one?
points of view on behaviours observed
victms and exploiters
pandemic choices - collectively hide, or decide your actions
there are more benefits than we asked for - it's not enough
some bees are more equal than others
high intelligence and original thought
groups, individuals, and intelligence
persistence of environmentally learnt behaviours
Part Two
action in groups
individual or group member?
social evolution
further reading
end notes
  1. Various bees contribute to the consensus, but at some point the hive decides. It acts. In acting, does it act on the latest persuasive bee? So does one bee decide, or does one hive decide?

  2. From The mind of bee p.166,
    "We have learned in recent years that in bees, differences occur in any psychological trait examined, and occur between individual bees (each of which will often respond similarly when tested repeatedly), as well as between colonies of bees in social species—unsuprisingly, since colonies are families of genetically related individuals. Different individuals have subtly different sensory equipment, whih means they selectively perceive different aspects of tier environment, and differences in brain structure, which determine that information is stored and used differently. Variation in individual intelligence is important for how well bees fare in the economy of nature, and variation between individuals of a colony determine the raffishness of their division of labor.

    "Variation between individuals and colonies can be heritable—for example, a colony of especially fast learners might pass this trait on to the next generation. Where psychological traits are heritable, they can be the raw material for evolution. If there is no heritable variation, there is nothing for selection to act on. For example, evolution can't easily make seven-legged insects, even if there should be an advantage to having an additional leg: there aren't typically seven-legged mutants around that might over time gain an upper hand over their six-legged cousins. On the other hand, as we will soon see, there is certainly heritable variation in psychological capacities such as learning facility in bees, and this means learning-related traits can evolve rapidly over relatively few generations.[...]

    " [...] The dramatic differences between honey bee queens and their sterile workers concern every aspect of their sensory system, brain structure, and behavior—but this not caused by any differences in their DNA, since these castes are genetically identical. Instead, the differences between queens and workers are epigenetic and are prompted solely by environmental factors (curiously, by the food they are given as larvae). [...] "

  3. From The mind of bee p.192,
    "Because of this subjective nature of pain, it is impossible to measure suffering objectively, or even to assess it in anyone but yourself."

  4. Bees do not just communicate using the well-known foraging dance.
    The interior of a hive is maintained at a bee-comfortable temperature of 34.5°C to 35.5°C, even when in full sunlight. This is achieved by more experienced, older bees foraging for and bringing water to the hive. The water is then distributed by younger bees to regulate heat by evaporating the water. (Note that water is also collected to dilute nectar as part of the honey-making process.)

    The forager bees bring more or less water in response to the hive bees communicating an increased or decreased need. An increased need is signaled by greater numbers of receiving bees taking the water, and doing so more quickly. In response, the forager bees collect more water. If necessary, receiving bees will also do a recruiting dance to call even more bees for water collection. When the hive temperature falls, less receiving bees want water for hive cooling. The number of water-collecting flights decreases as the time taken for taking the water from the foragers increases.

    the nature of one
  5. One has different meanings in the same context.

  6. how to decide which one is one?
  7. Which decided, the bee or the hive? Did the sand pile decide to slip, or was it the latest sand grain?

  8. We know what happened, or at least the happening to which we pay attention. But to which happening do we pay attention and why? Do we prefer to account ourselves as individuals, bees making choices, or as part of a hive that makes choices for us?

  9. points of view on behaviours observed
  10. Is it a matter of taste or fashion (whatever 'a matter of ' means), or does some internal calculation, or 'god', or the leader, or the pope, arbitrate our decisions?

    The reality is we hardly know.
    Therefore, we are left to decide whether to proceed on some imagined best interest for the individual or the group.

  11. The way you look at things is not fixed.

  12. Each creature makes its own decisions, but it may well make its decisions based on its own position in life.
    The fellow running a business may well take many decisions on behalf of others, or in fact, in her own best interest.
    Whereas the machinist in the factory may see herself as helpless, or only following orders.

  13. victms and exploiters
  14. From these roots emerge attitudes of personal responsibility, or of "it's all someone else's fault" arise.

  15. In politics, there tends to be a party of responsibility and an "I am a victim" party.

    The members of the "I am a victim" party will often convince themselves that they are looking after the 'victims' and, therefore, have a right to blame, criticise, and abuse the responsibility people, or party.

    Meanwhile, the responsibility party tend to believe that the victim party members and supporters are mostly shiftless layabouts.

    An over-simplified example could be where the man goes out and has to do exactly as he is told by 'the boss',
    while the woman can organise their own work and environment at home.

  16. Humans are very good at convincing themselves that they are 'good girls', while others are the baddies. Such is the result of inadequate social education.

  17. pandemic choices - collectively hide, or decide your actions
  18. Politics is the art of the possible [Otto von Bismarck], not the dreams of the foolish of the cult.

  19. If you watch a member of the socialist cult like Tony Bliar - a former Socialist Prime Minister - you will find that he approaches problems with collectivist frames.
    If you watch closely Boris Johnson, former Conservative (Tory) Prime Minister, he favours individualist models.

  20. In the example of handling the Covid-19 pandemic, Socialists like Tony Bliar argue for closing society down.
    For Conservatives like Boris Johnson, they expect individuals to make their own decisions. But such people are often constrained by the weight of the herd.
    "But as we’ve seen at Westminster, the herd instinct is powerful and when the herd moves, it moves." (Boris Johnson, July 7, 2022). This is sometimes called empathy, or democracy, or might makes right.

  21. Many politicians shut down nuclear power activity to appease the poorly and uneducated, despite knowing that such closures are foolish and, in the long term, dangerous.

  22. there are more benefits than we asked for - it's not enough
  23. Meanwhile, after over 10 years of the Socialist cult control, social habits have become increasingly infected with a collectivist culture.

  24. With Tories, the culture moves towards responsibility, charity, and food banks.

  25. That is why socialist cultists hate food banks. It removes their centralising power.

  26. All the while votes are required, so you have to train your population to contrary political habits and assumptions in order to have the end results in freedom or in collectivism.

    There is far more private education on the continent.

  27. some bees are more equal than others
  28. When a swarm swarms, some bees go out to look for a new house. In due course, enough of them agree on a good new site and the rest of the swarm follow like sheep.

  29. Every day, I tend to park in a quiet, deserted spot in the forest and have a picnic. It is annoying that, most times, it is not very long before some sheep parks alongside, and then another one. Soon, my peace is disturbed and i have to search for other restful spots.

  30. I theorise from this that there are two kinds of bees, ones that search and explore, and swarmers that have a nature to flock.

  31. Flockers (swarmers) learn rules, and become quite disturbed if anyone breaks their rules.

  32. The rule breakers are known as "tall poppies", and the priests and dictators are eager to cut them down. It is quite dangerous to be a tall poppy, or otherwise fail to conform, even though the flock depends on tall poppies for their future and development.

  33. There are people who build businesses, and people who run businesses. Their personalities are very different.

  34. high intelligence and original thought
  35. Having a high IQ, as determined by an IQ test, shows that a person is pretty smart. It does not show whether that person can think in a significantly original fashion, like a James Lovelock, an Albert Einstein, a Steve Jobs. After all, passing an IQ test can be learnt by taking many such tests, which almost without exception are designed formulaically.

  36. groups, individuals, and intelligence

  37. The average intelligence of group A is higher than that of group B.
    One person in group B (in orange) is more intelligent than any of those in group A.

    A person goes for an interview, saying I have ten years experience in this field of work.
    The interviewer asks, "And is that ten years experience, or is it one year's experience ten times?"

  38. A person needs to have curiosity to learn more, to advance.
    The less able expect to have tasks provided for them, and are with little curiosity to explore, improve, innovate.

    Case study, UK 2022 : Consider as an example insulating your house to help heating costs.

    [UK household fuel costs are continuing to rise strongly, as a result of Russia cutting gas distribution and consequent wholesale fuel price rises.]

    According to Rishi Sunak, and to Liz Truss, then Conservative Party leader candidates.
    Rishi Sunak wanted to give other people's money as handouts to those that think less. There is no incentive for consumers to do anything but continue burning fuel.
    Rishi Sunak had an easy upbringing, his public school education financed by his parents, thus enabling him to move on to higher education and employment in the USA.
    Liz Truss wants people to decide for themselves. If they are short of money because they spent it all on booze and Ibiza, then winter will be colder. If they worked all summer like the ant, then they can more easily afford to insulate their houses, even doing the work themselves, and winter will be warmer.
    Liz Truss went to various state schools, having to fight and work hard for advances in her career.

    Of course, the wize socialists like Stammerer only 'think' to give away the money the ants saved to the grasshoppers, to buy their votes.
    In the end, Stammerer will run out of other people's money, as usual.

  39. In societies, there are achievers who act effectively to develop the structure and comfort of that society, and followers who use what achievers have created and developed without an understanding of what has been achieved, and with little interest to improve what is there.

  40. memory persistence of environmentally learnt behaviours
  41. Bees have a marvellous language to communicate where food supplies are.
    Aristotle noted the food information dance and this was clarified by Karl von Frisch (1886-1982), winning him a Nobel prize.

    More recently, it has been discovered that British bees gain no advantage from the dance behaviour. Why?
    Well, the behaviour probably originated in the East, for instance in India.

  42. In Europe, the meadows are alive with flowers, honey and pollen;
    but in India, where the bees forage forests, only the odd tree comes into bloom with thousands of flowers.
    There, the bees who communicate with their colleagues can collect seven times as much booty.

  43. With humans, in the West, the less thoughtful marry formally, though now it is only about half of them doing this.
    Marriage, and so monogamy, used to be a guard against many awful diseases, as well as protecting the preference to not see your wealth pass onto cuckoos (offspring from a different father).
    Both reasons for marriage have become redundant in the West. Humans are adjusting faster than bees to changes in their environment, but perhaps not much faster as humans still go for jealousy and even murder.

Part Two
action in groups

  1. To co-operate, groups need a means of communication.
    Individuals cannot read minds, and there is no such thing as a group mind.

  2. As you will recall from Part One, all communication suffers a lack of precision, and much human effort goes into minimising these problems.

  3. Almost everything humans say, or think they know about agglomerations of humans is false, confused, or even bordering on madness. Groups do not exist in the real world other than as convenient or lazy-minded shortcuts through the real complexities of reality.

  4. However, Britain could not have survived against Hitler without its members behaving in similar fashions to one another.
    So the irrational behaviour of being/feeling part of a group is part of a survival mechanism.

    This survival mechanism can be 'defence' against a real aggressor like Hitler, or against a perceived aggressor such as supporters of another football team.

  5. You are unlikely to remove the irrational behaviour without increasing education in society.
    But notice that imitation develops warlike (hysteria) among groups and emotions.

  6. Each person is an individual, but for many there is a tendency - an instinct - to coalesce, to coagulate, to converge, to congregate into a group of like behaving humans.

    Humans and bio-hives are remarkably similar. Both use quite crude immitative communication.

    An example:
    At the 'lying in state' of Elizabeth II (died 8th September, 2022), strangers 'made friends', sharing emotions, their place in The Queue, and even later accommodation arrangements, during the often 10 hours of the long walk.

    Without the Community Spirit, the feeling of similarity, a communal protection, less able people feel threatened by those in the large cohort not known personally to them. They are more likely to be hostile to close contacts, be paranoid of potential threats.

  7. As can be seen with Hitler and Vladimir Putin (Russia's present leader) there is a fine line between paranoia and defending against invaders.
    A bee or ant colony shows like behaviour when it finds a local nest and invades, killing and stealing resources of a fellow nation.

  8. These expansions, and sometimes battles or wars, can depend upon resource availability, not just the temptations of easy pickings from weak neighbours.

  9. As you see with bees, as with humans, the individuals build houses, they gather food, they tend their young, they clear out the dead, they form maps of the landscape, and all with a brain the size of a pinhead. What more do humans do, but play chess and or work out what bees do? Not a great deal of difference, or more.

    Both species communicate their ambitions among themselves. In each case, this is done individual to individual. There is no group mind, just a lazy-minded words like 'hive' and 'township' to talk about the many individuals. Using such words may work, it may be useful, but it is not reality. Only recently have humans learnt to make engines and better bombs. The differences between humans and other species such as bees are trivial and not very impressive to me.

  10. The mass of people may not be 'equal', but neither are they stupid.
    Different bees see different roles.

  11. Societies change -
    the young adapt, but they also take time to adjust and to find past truisms wanting,
    the old are often inclined to cling to outdated dogmas of their pomp.

  12. As societies change acceleration, so must adjustment and flexibility.

Further readings

logicians, 'logic' and madness - looking at what is madness, and how it relates to academic logic.
intelligence and madness - why intelligence can be a penalty in society at large, with detailed discussion on calculating IQs.
franchise by examination, education and intelligence - the proposal that adult franchise (voting) be subject to the passing of suitable examinations. Further human social advance may be dependant upon such radical change.


Smart Swarm: Using Animal Behaviour to Organise Our World
by Peter Miller

Chapter 2 is about honey bee behaviour.

This book is probably the best book on behaviour I have read since Lorenz. Naturally, there are many others I haven't read.

Smart Swarm by  Peter Miller, hbk

Smart Swarm by  Peter Miller, pbk
‎ Collins, 2010, hbk

Collins, 2011, pbk
£2.71 [amazon.co.uk]{advert}
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0007382979
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0007382972

Smart Swarm by  Peter Miller, hbk

$26.00 [amazon.com] {advert}
Avery, 2010, hbk
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1583333908
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1583333907

amazon.com {advert}
Avery, 2010, pbk
ISBN-10: 1583334289
ISBN-13: 978-1583334287

$10.00 [amazon.com] {advert}
Avery, 2010, e-textbook / kindle
File size ‏ : ‎ 703 KB

The mind of bee
by Lars Chittka
The mind of a bee by Lars Chittka

Princeton University Press, 2022, hbk


£19.99 [amazon.co.uk]{advert}
$26.96 [amazon.com] {advert}

Kindle edition

$20.36 [amazon.com] {advert}

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09NCLMHVM
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 37414 KB
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 263 pages
  • Page numbers source ISBN ‏ : ‎ 0691180474

Communication among social bees
by Martin Lindauer
Explains bee dance behaviour in greater detail. A solid, workman-like continuation on the foundations built by Karl von Frisch.
Communication among social bees by Lars Chittka

Harvard University Press, hbk, 1961

ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0674147855
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0674147850

  £29.65 [amazon.co.uk]{advert}
amazon.com {advert}

On Aggression
by Lorenz, Konrad

On aggression by Konrad Loren

On aggression by Konrad Loren

Routledge, 2002, pbk

ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0415283205
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0415283205

$12.25 [amazon.com] {advert}

£12.74 [amazon.co.uk]{advert}

  On aggression by Konrad Loren

Mjf Books, 1997, hbk

ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 9715673110758-1567311075
$24.86 [amazon.com] {advert}

End notes

  1. Jean Henri Fabre (1823-1915), French entomologist

  2. Both individual bees and hives are known to vary in their abilities. These variations can, of course, be posited as environmental. Eyes also show these variations. This is in accord with the normal expectations of evolution, despite myths of bees' genetic uniformity.
    (See Mind of a Bee, chapter 10.)

  3. La Cigale et la Fourmi -the Grasshopper and the Ant, Fables de La Fontaine

    La Cigale, ayant chanté
    Tout l'été,
    Se trouva fort dépourvue
    Quand la bise fut venue :
    Pas un seul petit morceau
    De mouche ou de vermisseau.
    Elle alla crier famine
    Chez la Fourmi sa voisine,
    La priant de lui prêter
    Quelque grain pour subsister
    Jusqu'à la saison nouvelle.
    « Je vous paierai, lui dit-elle,
    Avant l'Oût, foi d'animal,
    Intérêt et principal. »
    La Fourmi n'est pas prêteuse :
    C'est là son moindre défaut.
    « Que faisiez-vous au temps chaud ?
    Dit-elle à cette emprunteuse.
    — Nuit et jour à tout venants
    Je chantais, ne vous déplaise.
    — Vous chantiez ? J’en suis fort aise.
    Eh bien ! Dansez maintenant. »

    and in English,
    The grasshopper, having sung
    All summer long,
    Found herself quite bereft
    When the breeze came :
    Not a single little piece
    Of fly or worm.
    She went crying out for food
    To the Ant next door,
    Begging her to lend him
    Some grain to subsist on
    Until the new season.
    I will pay you," she said,
    Before the August, in the name of the animal,
    Interest and principal."
    The Ant is not a lender:
    That is her least fault.
    "What were you doing in the hot weather?
    She said to this borrower.
    - Night and day to all comers
    I was singing, if you don't mind.
    - You were singing? I'm very happy about that.
    Well then! Dance now."
    Jean de La Fontaine, 1621 – 1695

  4. Stammerer
    Kier Starmer, leader of UK Labour (Socialist) Party, 2022

return to the index

email abelard email email_abelard [at] abelard.org

© abelard, 2022,7 august
all rights reserved

the address for this document is https://www.abelard.org/sociology/which-one-is-one.php

1290 words. Prints as 5A4 pages (on my printer and set-up)