From time to time you hear me mention a concept called the social organism. It’s not so easy to define, so I won’t try to do it here. Metaphors work better. Imagine a large colony of bees, the force that binds us all together in Jedi tradition, the holy spirit in Christian tradition, the group mind in social psychology.

Often, we write about this phenomenon to describe or analyze its distempers, maladies, or diseases. These disturbances can turn deadly in politics: that is why we pay so much attention to them. For a more positive treatment of the way we are all connected, consider two books by great female authors: Middlemarch by George Eliot, and Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf.