Shoaling. Fish Do It, Why Can’t We?

dollar1You’ve seen it before. Swarms, or shoals, of fish swimming through the deep and moving in perfect synchronization, their collective intelligence morphed into one hive mind. In the movie “Finding Nemo”, the clever school of fish (zebrafish?) even go so far as to create one giant directional pointer with their bodies and even mock Marlin the clownfish’s dour appearance by encouraging him to smile by their collective example.

This business of swarming makes me wonder – is mob mentality shoaling behavior? When everyone speeds up and down Aurora Ave. at 60 mph when the speed limit is 40 mph, is this shoaling? A resident was complaining to me just now that a stranger on the bus was rude to him and even went so far as to strike him with her pocketbook. Probably shoaling behavior based off the well known “Seattle freeze,” the collective coldness native Seattleites bestow upon unsuspecting strangers.

I spend a lot of time exploring and dissecting human behavior because, well frankly, you guys perplex me. How can you convince a group of people to form an army, march into innocent lands like Hungary, Poland and France, and systematically slay any man, woman and child that don’t fit the Nazi ideal? How do you convince half of the citizens of one nation to slay the other half like Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge did with Cambodia from 1975 to 1979? How did Genghis Khan convince his soldiers that it was okay to slay 40 million people or 10% of the world’s population? How can the members of ISIS sleep after brutally removing innocent people’s heads with a half-sharp blade? How does one rape Nanking? Maybe all these killers didn’t have to be convinced. It’s probably just in their nature to be ultra violent and this business of peace must be some kind of aberration.

Being me, being autistic, I don’t “feel” any social connect to the rest of the world. I don’t “get” genocide. I don’t “get” rushing out to see the new Star Wars movie or buy the new iPhone or the latest fashions from North Face. Hell, I don’t even “get” office parties, weddings or funerals. Mourning someone’s dying? Couldn’t this exercise in futility be done in the privacy of your own home? I wonder if there is some gene in the limbic system or amygdala of normal, neurotypical, people that doesn’t exist in autists? I don’t “get” hive mind behavior. I don’t “get” marching to the beat of someone else’s drum. Interesting. I don’t follow popular trends because I’m a Jain and I can’t follow popular trends because I’m autistic. Be rude to you on a bus? I’d rather give you a dollar. Generosity. Pass it on.

 

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