Hive Psychology, Happiness, and Public Policy

Jonathan Haidt, J. Patrick Seder and Selin Kesebir

in Law and Happiness

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780226676005
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226676029 | DOI:
Hive Psychology, Happiness, and Public Policy

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This chapter considers three hypotheses about relatedness and well-being including the hive hypothesis, which says people need to lose themselves occasionally by becoming part of an emergent social organism in order to reach the highest levels of human flourishing. It discusses the recent evolutionary thinking about multilevel selection, which offers a distal reason why the hive hypothesis might be true. The psychological phenomena such as the joy of synchronized movement and the ecstatic joy of self-loss, which might be proximal mechanisms underlying the extraordinary pleasures people get from hive-type activities. It is suggested that if the hive hypothesis turns out to be true, it has implications for public policy. Finally, the chapter suggests that the hive hypothesis points to new ways to increase social capital and encourages a new focus on happy groups as being more than collections of happy individuals.

Keywords: hive psychology; relatedness; well-being; hive hypothesis; synchronized movement; joy; public policy; self-loss; social capital

Chapter.  9493 words. 

Subjects: Economics

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