Friday, January 15, 2016
Sci-Fi: Hive Minds, Telepaths, Terminators and Demons
There are aspects of science fiction which border on the esoteric. Some might even be considered the dark side of mystical. Others are extrapolations based on observations of nature. Demons are an occult phenomena, plain and simple. Hive minds exist on our world in the communities of the beehive and the ant colony. Let us take a brief look at them from a sci-fi perspective.
The Borg of Star Trek share something with the Bugs of Starship Troopers and the monsters of Alien. They are controlled by a higher level of intelligence. In effect, this is a Hive Mind. It works similarly to the unseen intelligence that coordinates an ant colony and bee hive. The hive mind of Starship Troopers was embodied in a class of Bug known as a “brain.” The Borg collective seemed to have a hive mind centered on its ship. In fact, the top of the hive mind was killed off in the first Next Generation movie. Skynet served like a hive mind for all the mechanical weapons and robots in the Terminator franchise.
Member of a hive mind have little or no volition. They are 100% obedient to the Mind that controls them. They can only make choices insofar as fulfilling their assigned work. Even then, it is pretty much reactive. A bee can choose the flowers it visits, but these choices are governed by instinct rather than reason. The bee follows its programming, so to speak, in fulfilling the command of its hive mind.
The A.I.s of Space Above and Beyond are coordinated through a “modem” each has, allowing it to transmit and receive to other A.I.s. However, they are independent units and not part of a hive.
As most hive minds go, the over-mind gives the individual units their orders and dispatches them to where it wants them. The individuals take it from there when they get to the place to do their job. In most cases, these units will do everything in their power to do that job. How far they go is a matter of the degree of volition and intelligence they have. For instance, suppose a large fissure were opened up in the ground between the unit and its objective. Some types might be stopped in their tracks, unable to move. Others may be stalled until they get new orders. There are some, like ants, who would use members with special capabilities. The rank and file workers might be stalled, but pathfinder units would be alerted and look for a route around or through the obstacle. Once found, they would lead the workers through the new route. A more intelligent type might begin its own efforts to bypass the fissure. It would be driven to fulfill its mission and be possessed of enough intelligence to deal with most unforeseen circumstances. No matter how they stack up, however, the hive creatures would be stalled for a time when confronted with an unexpected obstacle or problem. The amount of time it takes depends on the species. Ants would remain confused until the pathfinders were alerted and went into action. A Terminator had enough programming and artificial intelligence to solve problems on its own. It seems that when one member of the Borg collective solved a problem, others in his hive also gained that ability.
The hive mind provides command and coordination. Destroy the hive mind or block it from communicating to its units, and they would normally hesitate for a turn. Some types would resume their mission and some would hold in place or return from whence they came. Terminators would not hesitate, as they are not reliant on Skynet to direct them through their mission. Skynet never solved the problem of transmitting and receiving signals through time.
Hive minds have their limits. They take time to make changes in their plans and the directions given their units. Hive minds are predictable because they each have their distinct ways of doing things. They are ponderous, and that makes them slow and predictable.
The Borg leader of the first “Next Generation” movie reminded me of Terminator in having living flesh over metal parts. Her attempt to implant living tissue on the android Data is much like the living flesh developed to cover a Terminator robot. Star Trek’s Borg and the Skynet of the Terminator movies both have aspects of a hive mind. The individual Borg and the Terminators both follow the will dictated by their respective controlling minds. They are programmed to obedience and act at the behest of their hive minds. What makes Terminator different is that he cannot transmit his info back to the future, whereas Borg can relay info back to their hive ship.
Telepaths and empaths
Science fiction has had its share pf psychic types, despite the claim that such practices are un-scientific. Despite all the science, sci-fi has had various characters with telepathic abilities. They may be mind-readers or persons with the ability to communicate mentally, or both.
Telepathy is one of the psychic powers acknowledged by New Agers, parapsychologists and occultists. Others include clairvoyance, divination, psychokinesis, telekenisis and astral projection. With my background in esoteric spirituality, I know the theory and reality. These are not great powers that make people wise and all-knowing. One thing I will warn you is to avoid those psychic parlors that advertise themselves. The other is to take anyone’s claims of being psychic with a grain of salt the size of a medicine ball. I have known a very rare few people who had some kind of psychic talent, and even then, it was not 100% and was not all the time.
A telepath or any other psychic is easy to jam by a person who is focused. He can also be jammed by noise, confusion, and anything that interrupts his concentration. They have very limited power to influence others, if at all.
The Terminator franchise centers on a type of robot that is programmed to find and eliminate a target. It is provided with flesh over its metal frame to pass as a living being. A later type is “liquid metal”. There was a comic series from DC in the 1960s called “Metal men” which were a team of robots made of various metals. The one made of Mercury was a liquid robot.
The Terminator is based on a primal fear that shows up in dreams: the implacable pursuer that will not be stopped.
Robots are machines that can be programmed for various tasks. Some can be programmed and then set out on their own to complete their assigned tasks. Others need to be guided from a control center, much the way drones are controlled. They are implacable because a robot can only follow its programming. It has no alternative choice. Artificial intelligence would give a robot the means to solve problems encountered while fulfilling its mission. A.I, would not give it volition.
For science fiction stories and skirmish games ,a robot could be programmed to attack a specific person or place. It would be a modern-day Assassin, much like the Assassins of the medieval Islamic Ismaili sect in the Middle East. Both are often sent on suicide missions. While the Ismaili would do it for a better place in his afterlife, the robot does it because of programming. The human assassin may feel fear and a host of other emotions that may make him hesitate or change his mind. A robot has neither emotions nor fear of harm to deter it.
Other human versions are the modern suicide bomber and the Japanese kamikaze.
A robot could be programmed to kill by a direct attack on an individual, such as battering, stabbing or shooting. The robot might also carry an explosive which detonates when it reaches its target. During World War II, German combat engineers had a small tracked vehicle called ‘Goliath.” it was packed with explosives and sent on tasks ranging from blowing up anything from barbed wire obstacles to tanks. This was controlled through a long wire and was an early form of attack drone and robot.
Most of the so-called demons are actually breakdown forces happening in realms other than the physical. They are intelligent, and are psychologically programmed to find places to fulfill their purpose. In their rightful place, they are fine. It is when they are taken out of that place that there is trouble.
Think of wood decay. Like it or not, but it has its uses. Without wood decay, our forests would be choked with the remains of dead trees. Take wood decay and place it in a new place, like a house, and it is destructive.
Wood decay’s nature is to seek and find places to do its thing. Offer it a new place, like a porch and it will go to work with the same mechanical efficiency in which it tackles dead logs. It will stop when it is stopped and returned to its natural place. So it is with demons. Those who invoke them invite them to a place where they can do their thing. If they get out of control, they remain a while and wreak havoc. The reason for problems is this is not their natural place. However, as it is not their place, they eventually go back where they belong, much as a fish that gets beached tries to return to water. There is nothing to keep them here.
In a sci-fi context, a demon would do what it could to prolong its stay, providing their were enough opportunities to do its thing. It would leave only if forced to fo so, or if it no longer found enough opportunities to sustain itself here. Like a robot, it is “programmed” to fulfill its specific mission.