The Inverted Beehive

Over and over again we watch as the ruling class works to create a human community that resembles the structure and efficiency of a beehive. Sadly, it can never work. So, over and over again we watch societies collapse in blood and fire. The reason it can never work is for the simple reason that bees and humans have evolved along very different paths; especially regarding reproduction, which is the cornerstone of any biological management strategy.

Specifically, bees reproduce by the Small Egg Gambit, while humans use the Large Baby Gambit. The Small Egg Gambit is when parents lay thousands of eggs and simply walks away; allowing statistics and chance to decide the outcome. The perfect example of this is in a spider. The Large Baby Gambit is when parents have a small number of babies, but then spend a very large amount of time and energy protecting and nurturing them. Both strategies are effective, as they both end up producing the same number of successful adults. Problems arise, however, when we move forward from there.

A beehive is a community structure that has evolved from, and built around, the Small Egg Gambit. At some point in the past, there was an ancestor to today’s bees that reproduced exactly like a spider. Just laid a huge number of eggs and walked away. Over millions of years, bees have evolve to where most of the bees do not reproduce at all; their sole life’s work is to nurture and protect the eggs of their mother. That is the cornerstone of the hive structure. Contrast this to humans and we can see the problem clearly. For humans to abide by a hive structure, we would need the ruling class to have thousands of babies so the working class would be free to focus solely on nurturing and protecting them. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the Big Baby Gambit and how that has forced us to evolve, every person will put their own children first. And, as an extension of this, they will put themselves first too.

So, please, science fiction writer’s and social scientists, stop telling stories where humans live in a hive structure. It is literally impossible. If you wish to be accurate, I would argue that the governing structure of the Vatican is a more appropriate display of a futuristic sustainable human community. One, unlike the beehive, where the rulers and leaders do not reproduce so they are not corrupted by the urge to put their own children first. Kind of like an inverted beehive.