Saturday, July 16, 2016

Fuzzy Logic

I was walking under a tree the other day when I noticed a fizzing knob hanging from a branch which, upon closer inspection, turned out to be not a visual migraine, but a swarm of bees. A living, vibrating unit of life, admirable in every way. My friend tells me I could have knocked the whole thing into a box and had me a swarm of my own, as long as I managed to bag the queen. It ain't over if the fat lady clings. The queen is the key to the whole swarm. She is endowed by Nature with something special.

Charisma.

It's hard to know how to feel about this. On the one hand, I admire a good cohesive social group. I believe in comity. I believe we can and must band together for the common good. If we pull together we can all have honey. And if we don't, we're just a bunch of lone rangers in pollen pants. On the other hand, it's a little frightening to think of a mob following one individual so slavishly.

Pollen Pants
We all learned how this works in school. The queen runs the outfit. She decides who the boy bees will be, and they lounge around in tiny togas waiting for a chance to inseminate her. She decides who the girl bees will be, who, bless their hearts, are in for a lifetime of work. At some point she even designates a successor, who becomes a queen by being fed Royal Jelly, which has 100% of your daily requirement of charisma. The entire operation runs smoothly but it still has all the hallmarks of an authoritarian dynastic state.

Which is fine most of the time, but what if it's a bad queen?

What if it's a Nestle queen, and she decides to jack up her personal net worth by directing her workers to decant the community honey into little tiny individual flavor packets and sell them back to the drones at an obscene markup? They'll do it, too. They'll do anything for jobs. And the drones will all buy the flavor packets. I don't know why, but they will. They're biddable, those ones. It's a plutocracy waiting to happen.

Bees get along together so well not because they have no imagination, but because they're all imagining the same things. That, and they all look alike. They're soft and fuzzy. But consider the ants. Ants are reputed to work together well too, but half the time you look at them they're hauling other dead ants around. And that is damned fishy.

Let that be a warning to us. It's one thing to work cooperatively together, but if everyone is piling on board a charisma train, somebody ought to be paying attention to where the tracks lead.

36 comments:

  1. Kinda like politics, aint it...Just swap charisma for gravy and you've got it!

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  2. I've got to start consuming royal jelly. I need minions. My evil wish list outpaces my evil capabilities.

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    1. That's about as succinct a statement of your condition as one could hope for. Besides, mmm, jelly.

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  3. Awesome and insightful commentary! I love the Nestle image. They are my worst enemy!

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    1. We're STILL fightin' 'em in the gorge.

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  4. All my life I've been afraid of bees, but when I finally was stung a few years ago, I thought
    "That hardly even hurt." Later that evening I discovered I was allergic!!

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    1. I don't think I've ever been stung by a honeybee, except that one time, and that one had cause. I stepped on her.

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  5. I have to say that the last sentence is BRILLIANT. Seriously brilliant.

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  6. I agree with your friend who suggested you box them up. There's nothing like it!

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    1. Hug 'em, squeeze 'em, call 'em Georgette!
      Or just bring them to me to add to my apiary. It's no more difficult than a cat, and you've proven yourself quite capable in that category. Don't sell yourself short.

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    2. I know just what would happen, now. I'd go pet them on the belly and they'd be all ooooh and aaaah and then they'd start raking me with their hind legs.

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  7. As good a parable as I've read in awhile. Nice bit o' writin'.

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    1. Everything I write turns into a parable because my mind wanders. Hell getting it back in the corral, sometimes.

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  8. Lone rangers in pollen pants, heh heh. You give us so many clever bits of wordplay while you are being profound.

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    1. I know, I'm just tickled about the whole notion of pollen pants.

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  9. Toot! Toot! There is a bend in the tracks ahead.

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    1. Uh-oh. Is it going straight back to the fifties? (The 1850s?)

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  10. You have been writing some very scary posts lately. But you know that...

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    1. BEES! Cute little fuzzy BEES!

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    2. With a sting in their cute fuzzy little butts.

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  11. Fuzzy logic,...sounds like Murr's normal thinking. I think I would have a professional bee person come take the hive to a safer place. People tend to get nervous and might try to harm the hive in some way.

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    1. I was a little worried about that, and almost alerted the people whose parking strip it was on... in case they knew about it and were about to hit it with a can of RAID. But I didn't, and it flew off in a couple days, in search of better digs, and the people probably never did know about it. It was subtle. I wouldn't even have seen it if I hadn't been chasing a bird in that tree.

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  12. I love the photo of the swarm and I'm glad no one got near it with bug spray. There are few enough bees as it is.

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    1. We have LOTS of bees in our yard. Birds, bees, and sometimes sex.

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  13. So many layers to love here:)

    And SO cool that you got to see that in person, and have the photo as proof.

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    1. I know! I'd better not see anything that cool now. I just left my camera out in the rain (yes) and now I need a new one.

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    2. Yah. So the next day I had something I needed a picture of, and I went looking in the two normal spots, and my camera wasn't there, and I thought: What did I do with my camera last? And I thought further: I took it out in the yard in case I could get a good picture of the little chickadees I was hearing. And then I thought I'd do a little weeding. And then I thought This Camera is cramping my style in my pocket as I squat down, so I'll put it on this little hump of moss here. And then I thought: BUT DON'T FORGET IT. BECAUSE YOU WILL. And then I did.

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    3. I totally understand that thinking. The part I don't understand is why I keep trusting myself.

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  14. Can you not dry it out and resurrect it?

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    1. It is now good and dry, with the battery out, according to the Internet's best instructions, and now when you turn it on, it goes in and out like anything, but the screen is totally blank. And maybe there's something I can do to fix the screen, but there's a suspicious dot in the middle of the lens that will show in every picture. So I'm thinking New Camera. Fortunately they're cheap these days. You can do something dunderheaded to them every five years or so and still be ahead of the game, especially since you're not buying film and developing.

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