The Hive, Bee Wilson (2004)

First published: 2004.
Library copy published: 2004.

The Hive, Bee Wilson

“But while the honey could encourage democracy, democracy is the one form of government that no one, to my knowledge, has ever tried to imprint on the honey-makers themselves. The hive is too hierarchical and gilded for democratic politics: the contrast between the single bee at the top and the masses at the bottom is just to great.” p. 110

“The twenty-first-century bee state is a darker, more repressive place than the golden realm of the seventeenth-century bee monarchists, but that doesn’t make it any more real. It is still just a beehive, and, as Thomas Hobbes said, there is no politics in the beehive. But Hobbes is as little heeded as ever.” p. 139

“However much human beings have projected themselves on to the hive, identifying themselves with drones, workers and the queen, and idealising the morals of the waxen community, there will always remain mysteries about the life of the bees which men can never discover. And it is for this very reason that humans will continue to search for truths about themselves in the gold of the honeycomb.” p. 271