Hive mind

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Putting the psycho in
Icon psychic.svg
Men who stare at goats
By the powers of tinfoil
—Barry Johnson/The Iris, Shifting Tendons, Gemini Home Entertainment[1]

A "hive mind" is a concept popular in some science fiction-in which life-forms whose minds are telepathically linked share a common consciousness and memories. Hive mind entities are usually presented as insect-like and hostile to humanity.

This cliche is often interpreted as a metaphor for either or both communism or the Yellow Peril. The logical fallacies of wanting such a hivemind is obvious regardless of politics: a collective becomes so extreme that it becomes inhospitable to the reality in which it lives. Considering its choices, it then attempts to a) create its own reality, dooming it to failure; b) diplomatically engage with groups that still have a sense of diversity and free will (for mutual benefit); or c) attempt to assimilate those same groups into the collective (with all the negative connotations of "assimilate").

Some examples from unpopular culture include:

  • The "Slugs" in Heinlein's novel The Puppet Masters
  • The "Arachnids" in Heinlein's novel Starship Troopers (and derivatively the Buggers in Ender's Game)
  • The "Borg" in the Star Trek universe (see Anders Sandberg's article on Borganisms)
  • The creepy kids from the 1960 film Village of the Damned and its 1995 remake Village of the Damned
  • The superintelligent emergent/evil transhumans in Edward M. Lerner's 2009 novel Small Miracles
  • Phil Foglio's "PSmith" (Unusual, in that PSmith was a population of genetically-engineered humans, and friendly to normal humans.)
  • The "Tyranids" in Warhammer 40,000
  • The "Flood" in Halo, with the personification/leader of this mind being the Gravemind (who speaks in iambic and trohaic heptameter).
  • The "Geth" and "Reapers" in Mass Effect, though the latter's interesting origin story was purged for "artistic integrity" purposes.[2] (Again, groupthink.)
  • The "Cybermen" in the Doctor Who universe. Sometimes.
  • "Skynet" in the Terminator film series.
  • The "Zerg" from the Starcraft series.
  • The "C-Consciousness" in the Ukrainian S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series (and, subsequently, select "prophets" within the fanatic Monolith faction).
  • The "Iris", "Woodcrawlers", "Gardeners", "Fake People", "Roots", "Vessels", and the "Wretch" from Gemini Home Entertainment.[3]

It has also come into use by some critical of the Internet and especially the "Web 2.0" version of it (blogs, wikis, web based forums, user generated content, and instant text messaging), in the sense that rapid instant exchange of information on a large scale is seen as stifling to diverse and dissenting opinions - generally those of the person making the claim - and leads to social conformity - generally that of kicking out the person making the claim.

See also[edit]


  1. Shifting Tendons - Gemini Home Entertainment
  2. Though we would have been okay with cuttlefish.
  3. The Iris - Gemini Home Entertainment Wiki