The Borg assimilate individuals and their entire mind becomes a part of their collective. Every time they to do this, they must gain the exact experiences and legitimate reasonings as to why other lifeforms do NOT want to be a part of the collective.

The Borg must completely understand an individual's perspective. Where in any of the Star Trek series, is there an explanation as to why they continue to assimilate and disregard the individual's reasoning? There must be a reason(s) that the collective has that overrides any individual's feelings/emotions, reasons, and value of free thought.

  • 5
    Who says they don't understand individuality? They just choose to impose something they feel is better.
    – Fractional
    Nov 28, 2013 at 13:30
  • If I recall, the Vinculum brought order to chaos, eliminating all traces of individuality. So perhaps this made it impossible to see or feel such thoughts.
    – user11521
    Oct 28, 2014 at 23:12

4 Answers 4


Picard, Hugh and Seven of Nine all talk about what being part of the collective is like. There are great benefits to being a part of it. Seven at many points describes how being a part of the collective means immortality, safety, security, and never having to be alone.

Presumably, it is only when not part of the collective that any of these people valued their individuality. While in the collective, they revel in lacking it. They are reassured by it. It feeds into all people's desires to not have to make choices on your own. To the extreme, yes, but it must be comforting.

The immortality alone would have me lining up to join them.

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    Plus, note the extreme discomfort that Hugh and Seven experience as they are withdrawn from the collective "It's so quiet, there are no voices"
    – HorusKol
    Mar 16, 2011 at 22:33
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    remember though that One was able to be part of the collective and an individual. although he/she/it was a special case
    – Xantec
    Mar 16, 2011 at 23:02
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    Remember that the immortality was not necessarily a physical existence. When Seven talked about the effective immortality, it was due to the fact that the memory of her, possibly fragments of her mind, would continue to exist within the hive mind as sort of a secondary thought...but physical immortality wherein you had a cyborg body did not sound like the norm. Borg still died, probably usually through battle, but also due to malfunction. They are still biological and mechanical beings, and parts will still fail. The borg being what they are, they will eventually abandon, rather than repair.
    – jrista
    Apr 7, 2011 at 20:45
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    @jrista whatever shred of the mind that remains after assimilation may eventually "die" but, assuming i recall correctly, i remember one episode on Voyager where the crew reactivated a section of a disabled borg cube, at which point a number of drones in that section became active. this indicates that the biological remains of a drone can be resuscitated after death by the implants/nanites (assuming the body remains sufficiently preserved i suppose) which may indeed mean near physical immortality (especially considering the VOY drones (more nanites) verses the TNG drones (more mechanical)
    – Xantec
    Apr 7, 2011 at 21:30
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    @Xantec: That would indeed be true, however the Borg cube had only recently been destroyed. I would agree that so long as the biological components had not degraded beyond repair, and the mechanical and nanite parts still functioned properly, there is no reason to assume a borg couldn't be revived some time after its initial shutdown.
    – jrista
    Apr 7, 2011 at 23:44

I think that the Borg, as whole, do understand individuality; they probably understand it better than any single individual does (as you pointed out they assimilate individuals). They disregard the feelings of those they assimilate for two main reasons I can think of off hand; Fear (probably realized more as an autonomic reaction, similar to an immune system) and Lack of Concern (even if a freshly assimilated individual [or planet] is somewhat discordant in the sound of the collective mind it can be easily ignored by the full weight and majority consensus of the collective mind).

if you want to go the other direction, introduced in First Contact, then the Borg is really a Monarchy state merely acting out the wishes of the queen. in this case then the thoughts of people not yet assimilated don't matter because they aren't part of the state and once they are assimilated then they are pawns of the queen.

  • I would be inclined to say it is a combination of both. The queen apparently has the ability to direct and control as she sees fit, but that doesn't seem to diminish the weight of the hive mind overall when she chooses not to interfere.
    – jrista
    Apr 7, 2011 at 20:43
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    The Queen might be more an avatar that helps channel the will of the collective, rather than an independent "director". It'd be like if you had billions of people all influencing the movements of the pointer on a Ouija board, and each person's subconscious "vote" about where it should go to next is influenced by what letters it's gone to so far, but the pointer doesn't have a will of its own distinct from everyone's collective influence. When Data asks if she controls the collective, the Queen says "You imply a disparity where none exists. I am the collective." and "I bring order to chaos."
    – Hypnosifl
    Feb 11, 2014 at 1:47

I reckon the Borg can't understand individuality because they are a really really uber powerful lower lifeform. One that evolved through parasitical assimiliation rather than via a society of divergent minds. But one that is still not evolved enough mentally or emotionally to deal with assimilated individuals.
I always wondered why the writers preferred an evil race that didn't just pillage and murder like normal. I always figured it was a plot device used to make the Borg scarier. However maybe the writers wan't us to think about the Borgs lack of apparent self awareness, and absolute compliance.

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    I believe this answer is contradicted in a TNG episode where they determined that the Borg were once individuals like humans, but grew more and more dependent upon machines and eventually invented the internet...er, I mean became a collective.
    – Nicholas
    Oct 28, 2014 at 18:29
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    This view of the Borg is useful because it explains so much about their behaviour in many contexts. They (it?) might be trillions of times smarter than an individual, but the gestalt entity's mental structure is still basically like an insect, and so it does stupid things really well (e.g. invading with a "fleet" of one).
    – user36551
    Apr 8, 2015 at 2:45

The cause/reason i believe is the Borg Queen. As is stated, the Borg Queen brings order to chaos. And what is more chaotic than a dissident voice. I believe it is the role of the Borg Queen to keep the core values of the collective unchanged particularly when large number of new individuals (say entire species) is added to the collective.

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