What matters most today is not only to clarify what wisdom is and why it matters,
but to understand how to go about developing collective wisdom.
— Peter Senge, systems scientist
The bee is more honored than other animals, not because she labors,
but because she labors for others.
— St John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, 347-407
What can honeybees teach us about wisdom? One person who knows is Cornell University’s Professor Thomas D. Seeley, the world’s leading expert on bee behaviour. Seeley’s particular interest is the decision making of swarming bees, sometimes referred to as smarm intelligence.
For over 40 years he has conducted ingenious experiments to discover the rules honeybees use in collective decision making for survival and adaption to changing circumstances.
What was it that sparked Seeley’s interest in bees to make a career of it?