Hive Psychology, Happiness, and Public Policy
We consider three hypotheses about relatedness and well-being including the hive hypothesis, which says people need to lose themselves occasionally by becoming part of an emergent social organism in order to reach the highest levels of human flourishing. We discuss recent evolutionary thinking about multilevel selection, which offers a distal reason why the hive hypothesis might be true. We next consider psychological phenomena such as the joy of synchronized movement and the ecstatic joy of self-loss, which might be proximal mechanisms underlying the extraordinary pleasures people get from hive-type activities. We suggest that if the hive hypothesis turns out to be true, it has implications for public policy. We suggest that the hive hypothesis points to new ways to increase social capital and encourages a new focus on happy groups as being more than collections of happy individuals. (c) 2008 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved..
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