Friday, February 27, 2009

Ontogeny capitulates again

Paul Spinrad, writing on Boing Boing:

When my friend John started going to the Bronx High School of Science, he was surprised to find that it contained the same cliques that his former, neighborhood school had had—the jocks, the geeks, etc. He figured that because the student body consisted of all the geeks taken from other schools, he would only find geeks there. But no—and when he got to know the school’s Chess Team, the geeks among geeks, he saw that they paralleled the same divisions.

Humans and human groupings always seem to break down into the same archetypes, and this also seems to happen at all levels of granularity, from national character to impulses within an individual.
From id, ego, superego to legislative, executive, judicial, we categorize what we see into our mental models. Never doubt that a single explanatory model can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

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