I'd rather be a Goose

VxD [CC BY-SA 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], from Wikimedia Commons

VxD [CC BY-SA 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], from Wikimedia Commons

One of my favourite books as a child, and still a favourite today, is T.H. White’s “The Once and Future King”.

Some of the most striking episodes in the novel are when the young Arthur is turned into various different animals, to learn about people and different ways of organising society.

The ant colony is metaphor for totalitarianism, based on hierarchy, blind loyalty and complete control, whereas the goose colony represents a liberal society based on nuclear families, mutual respect and emergent leadership.

The ants are completely bound by rules and regulations, the geese are bound by a common purpose and philosophy.

Of course these are metaphors, but when I read of things like Amazon’s patents for a wristband that tracks workers’ hand movements and ‘nudges’ them in the right direction, I do worry that we’re veering too far towards anthood.