Chris Rogers/iStock

DCL

Dysergy, it's said is the opposite of synergy: "The idea that combined parts have properties that are more or less that the sum of the parts. The negative-sum version is sometimes called dysergy, leaving synergy to mean only beneficial effects."

The term "dysergy" is used in place of "conflict" because "conflict is not necessarily dysergic. The conflict between athletes, for example, can at least sometimes challenge the competing athletes to peak performance. At other times, such conflict may be dysergic. Dysergy is to be found everywhere in human activities. Few individuals are free of dysergy in their own minds. Some dysergy is present in even the most synergic human groups; and there is a lot of dysergy in almost every group. The organizations, institutions, economic systems, political entities, and other functional structures of mankind are all beset by dysergy in a variety of forms. To achieve and maintain synergy, it is clearly necessary to eliminate dysergy—or at least to reduce it to manageable proportions."

A current example of dysergy just might explain the frightening trend of colony collapse disorder among honeybees. Human hubris is not living in synergy with the bees' needs.