The hive switch: The ability to temporarily transcend self-interest and lose ourselves in something bigger. It is essentially a between-group selection. It makes you work to improve your group.
Flipping The Switch
The realm of the profane vs the realm of the sacred: The profane is all about the self. Sacred is all about the collective where you disappear.
There are multiple ways to get to the realm of the sacred, including tribal dances. Some hallucinogens can give it to you, but Westerners don’t commit to any group if they do not identify with one. Drugs can make some people feel that way permanently - even with a single dose.
The Biology of the Hive Switch
The hormone oxytocin: Males that care for children are more responsive to its effects. It binds people to larger groups. It increases the bonds to your group, not to humanity as a whole. It does not make people hate other groups. It only makes them love their group more.
Hives At Work
Corporations as a group - they succeed very well.
It is possible to make a corporation of mostly Homo Economicus. The problem is that such people are inherently Glauconian - concerned mostly in looking good and getting promoted than in helping the company (transactional leadership).
Filling a company with hive minded people results in greater productivity (transformational leadership).
Groups of size up to 150 tend to be egalitarian and wary of alpha males. But when under threat, they do look for leaders, and are likely to follow them.
People follow if they feel a need, if the leader doesn’t activate the oppression detectors. A leader must have a moral matrix that includes Authority, Liberty, and most of all, Loyalty.
Advice for company leaders:
- Increase similarity, not diversity. Make everyone feel like a family. Emphasize commonalities and not ethnic differences. Focus on shared goals, etc. Note that this does not mean do not have diversity - just that the focus should be on what makes us all similar (striving towards a common goal, etc).
- Exploit synchrony. “We are one, we are a team.” Group exercies. More parties and quarterly events.
- Have healthy competition among teams, not among individuals. It increases love for the ingroup much more than hatred of the outgroup. Make these rivalries friendly.
Fascism is hive psychology scaled up.
According to Haidt, a nation that is one hive can be horrible (e.g. dictatorial). A nation with no hives has its own problems (no deep meaning). A nation with many hives may be a good in-between.