0

In Pacific Rim (2013) the Kaijus share a hive (collective) mind. Through a hive mind system, the Kaiju can communicate instantly.

In Robotech (1985) The Invids are a hive-mind race that is driven by the need to take back what was stolen from them.

In The Last Question (1956) by Isaac Asimov, Man mentally was one. He consisted of a trillion, trillion, trillion ageless bodies, each in its place, each resting quiet and incorruptible, each cared for by perfect automatons, equally incorruptible, while the minds of all the bodies freely melted one into the other, indistinguishable.

All those stories portray collective minds or hive minds. But which story was the first to feature this idea?

2
  • A story of ants.
    – Oni
    Feb 7 at 1:50
  • 1
    Probably doesn't count, but an honorable mention goes to Periclymenus from Greek mythology, who was capable of transforming himself into a swarm of bees. Feb 7 at 6:58
8

While it is probably not the first, an influential example that predates all the examples in the question is Last and First Men (1930) by Olaf Stapledon. The invaders from Mars as cloudlike organisms with a gestalt collective consciousness.

In the earliest stages of evolution on Mars the units had become independent of each other as soon as they parted in reproduction. But later the hitherto useless and rudimentary power of emitting radiation was specialized, so that, after reproduction, free individuals came to maintain radiant contact with one another, and to behave with ever-increasing coordination. Still later, these organized groups themselves maintained radiant contact with groups of their offspring, thus constituting larger individuals with specialized members. With each advance in complexity the sphere of radiant influence increased; until, at the zenith of Martian evolution, the whole planet (save for the remaining animal and vegetable representatives of the other and unsuccessful kind of life) constituted sometimes a single biological and psychological individual. But this occurred as a rule only in respect of matters which concerned the species as a whole. At most times the Martian individual was a cloudlet, such as those which first astonished the Second Men. But in great public crises each cloudlet would suddenly wake up to find himself the mind of the whole race, sensing through many individuals, and interpreting his sensations in the light of the experience of the whole race.

The life which dominated Mars was thus something between an extremely well-disciplined army of specialized units, and a body possessed by one mind. Like an army, it could take any form without destroying its organic unity. Like an army it was sometimes a crowd of free-wandering units, yet at other times also it disposed itself in very special orders to fulfil special functions. Like an army it was composed of free, experiencing individuals who voluntarily submitted themselves to discipline. On the other hand, unlike an army, it woke occasionally into unified consciousness.

0

I probably consider the first instance of a collective mind Legion, the demon quoted in Gospels as being multiple but with a single intent and identity. That's probably the first documented quote of something having one single mind splitted.

As being quoted once by Shakespeare (as "himself", but meaning a multitude), I'll bet my cents on a fiction hive mind around 1600.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.