Australia, Minority Governments and What the Human Hive is Saying About Eco-Regions

I have been watching the outcome (or not?) of the recent Australian election with some interest. I have been thinking about swarming (as in what can we learn from the bees when they swarm?).

My bee sources (books, articles, movies) tell me that the swarming process is a kind of hive decision. That when it is triggered by abundance ie. Too many bees causing too much heat in the hive, then the bees actually make a second queen. If memory serves, it is the new queen who goes off with the swarm. The bees actually leave the old hive as a swarm and decamp to a temporary location, from where the scouts/foragers (diversity generators) go looking for a new location and report back with their dance-info. The swarm then actually reviews the different options to kind of “vote”  on the preferred location – to which they then move and build their new nest.
The old queen left behind will be replaced as the hive decides, depending on her productivity (producing eggs). Since that depends on when she last mated (and I think she just mates once in her whole life, but with multiple drones.) (There is also emerging research about how different species of honey bees can gain control of the hive by having their queen hatch a day early eg. This is the genetic advantage (and thus strategy) of the Africanized bees.)
Anyway, thinking about parallels in the human hive, I think about Australia as an eco-region of Human Hives (HH). It is a country, indeed a continent with many HH’s.  In Howard Bloom’s (2000) terms each of Australia’s HH’s are in intergroup tournaments with one another. It is the economics of exchange between the HH’s and the genetic diversity that each can contribute to one another that might be the zones of application for hive thinking. Since the eco-regions for each HH in Australia are so distinctive (based on watersheds, etc.) it is quite conceivable in my frame of reference that each Australian HH will have a different purpose.

So each HH would have a different derivative economy (and all the natural Information-Energy-Matter functions and sub-functions (defined by Miller et al, 1978) would be in service to it). Now how each HH actually serves its eco-region (as opposed to the opposite way around) is a question I am betting is not being asked (by many or any)?
With Australia’s recent assertiveness in downloading a global-centric agenda (especially related to climate change, immigration and mining), it appears from afar that Rudd, the former (ousted) PM didn’t grow the sociocentric agenda in each HH that is needed to support his world-centric view and purpose? 

Rudd (and/or his advisors) were globally right (or intending to be) from an integral perspective, while being viewed from a lower order of development as locally (sociocentrically) wrong. The locals just can’t grok/talk how a 40% mining tax can possibly serve their ego or sociocentric needs. 

This imho is the dilemma of HH’s everywhere – many local mayors can see the need to be of greater service than just internally in the city – but they are acting without establishing local context (based on purpose and economic equation) or eco-regional service.  I think being of service to the city’s eco-region and creating the infrastructure to do that is the building block step needed to get to worldcentric articulated economies that can be supported locally.
Right now, this appears to be the “bridge-too far” that hangs parliaments/governments. The general populace is in a beta/gamma state (not wanting to move off what has worked in ego-centric terms at the city scale, and can’t break thru to socio-centric freedom in service to their eco-region.  So they collectively (maybe in the subtle realm???) hedge their bets and vote 50/50 between the polarities of their options.

Hence we get the minority (hung?) governments not only in Australia, but in Canada, UK, Germany and the Netherlands.

What we need to do to move beyond this impasse is for cities to step into a new role where they are not only in service to self at the city scale, but in service to the eco-region at the eco-regional scale. This will require changes at the city, state/province and federal level to recognize the sustainability equation the bees figured out long ago; ie. sustain your eco-region so it can sustain the city. Where are the ecologists, environmentalists and politicians who want to lead this major evolutionary transition? Well, they might be being ousted like Rudd, by his own party, or by citizens who are preventing the evolutionary diversity generators from assuming office and/or having the necessary authority to make changes.

If the bees have anything to teach us, it is that the trigger point is not yet painful or depressing (or hot) enough for us to swarm into a new way of thinking/being. But if you are a Diversity Generator, or know a Diversity Generator who is leading the way (through activism, research, writing) — don’t give up!! We need your perseverence (a message being reiterated by Margaret Wheatley these days). And each of us needs to persevere in supporting your perseverence.

Bloom, H. (2000). The Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century. New York: John Wiley & Son Inc.
Miller, J. G. (1978). Living Systems. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company.

About the Author:

HI I am the Founder of Integral City Meshworks Inc. and Chief Blogger. Working with cities and eco-regions, I ‘meshwork’ or weave people, purpose, priorities, profits, programs and processes to align contexts, grow capacity and develop strategies for sustainability and resilience in the Integral City. You can read more details about me here http://integralcity.com/about/about-the-founder/


  1. Andrew Outhwaite September 30, 2010 at 12:35 pm - Reply

    Wow Marilyn, this is great. Living in a small city where the mayor and civic leaders are trying to act on behalf of the eco-region, many of the points you made ring true. The exact mechanics, cultural tensions and political forces at play in each local, regional and Federal context might differ. However perhaps there are fundamental dynamics inherent in this sort of transition that just manifest differently?

    A gifted leader (or team) who understood these deeper dynamics MAY be able to navigate the complexity and consciously influence the political context and strategies to create say, an eco-regional approach to rising energy prices, or worldcentric ethic that would lead us to seeing and treating refugees differently. Or on the other side of strategy, perhaps they could do one of your special bee ‘waggle dances’ that expresses their love of the place, potential and people, such that everyone drops their ‘positions’ and dances together to destinations unknown?

    • marilynhamilton October 13, 2010 at 6:53 pm - Reply

      Andrew – you are observing real examples in how the bee dance can be re-interpreted in the mode of homo sapiens sapiens.

      Another situation I have just observed is how the UN voted no to a seat for Canada at the Security Council. Perhaps the nature of the UN Conformity Enforcers these days has shifted because of the collectively coordiated actions of the Islamic/Arab speaking block and the other countries who have not appreciated Canada’s Diversity Generating positions on climate change, banking, Israel support ++++. Such a public rebuke is a sharp reminder how conformity enforcers can act when they haven’t felt enough pain to change?

      On a more positive angle — look at the Chile miners and how their felt pain in the bowels of the earth has generated cross-cultural, multi-national, inter-sectoral cooperation to rescue LIFE. This was a moment when Diversity Generators could be heard!! and welcomed!! The challenge for us now is to learn how to enable this shift in capacity to be stabilized at a higher centre of gravity. TBD 🙂

  2. […] 14, 2010 by marilynhamilton Further to the Australian Federal Elections reported here in September. And the US Elections completed two weeks ago, I am noticing more action in the human […]

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