Editorial

Breaking into the collective

Journalism, the hive mind, and the need for truth

By ANNEMARIE SCHEUTZ
Posted 10/5/21

Anybody remember the Borg?

Minds entangled into one entity, the Borg operated as a unit. They got things done. There was no dissent. They believed alike, they acted alike. They were also really …

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Editorial

Breaking into the collective

Journalism, the hive mind, and the need for truth

Posted

Anybody remember the Borg?

Minds entangled into one entity, the Borg operated as a unit. They got things done. There was no dissent. They believed alike, they acted alike. They were also really intimidating to anyone who wasn’t part of the collective.

The Borg are an example of the hive mind, where many minds become a unified whole, under the control of a being or thought.

But that’s just good TV, all those scary Borg folks blowing up or assimmulating people who were not part of the collective. “Resistance is futile.”

No doubt at the time, the creators of “Star Trek: the Next Generation” thought they were making a point about their society. The hive mind has only grown in the intervening decades.

It took Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of the Enterprise to make inroads into the Borg.

Local newspapers and local journalists can be the real-world equivalent.

We don’t have to blow up a cube, the Borg’s main headquarters; we can use skepticism and facts, ink and paper to cause people to see things beyond their own worldview.

Implants created a Borg; the current hive mind grows from misinformation. That misinformation is everywhere now, powered by half-truths and non-truths, believed in by some with the force of religion. There, in the hive mind, believers can rest comfortably sure that what they’re doing and believing is right. The problem is that the comfortable hive mind has real-world impacts. Whatever one does, others are affected. Choices matter.

The hard part comes when you need to convince someone else that their choices are harming others.

Can you lead people to truth and make them think?

It isn’t easy. Modern humans process the world as simply as possible; there is just too much incoming traffic to ponder every bit of information that comes into our brains. It’s much easier just to toss data into categories. And if it’s optional or too complicated, to delete it.

And that’s where newspapers come in.

Journalism matters because it tell the stories of people you may not know, and it tells those stories compellingly. It shares experiences you may not have had. It asks questions.

Maybe those questions aren’t comfortable, maybe the answers are hard to read. But newspapers tell the story in such a way, hopefully, that the thought sticks around for a while. Journalism matters because it tries to get you to care about people with whom you may profoundly disagree. To find a point of agreement, and build up from there.

Connections are formed. Facts slip in. The truth slips in.

Journalism matters because it tunnels into the hive mind and lets in the light.

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