On the subject of individuality versus group aggregates. And where the characteristics just don’t add up because they do. As in:
- Elections. Every vote counts, but no single one matters.
- ‘Democratic’ (quod non) politics in general. Where one can only change things by joining political parties where your particular issue voice is lost, you are required to toe the party line on many (other) things against your ad hoc will and purpose, and parties end up not representing anyone in particular – no party has exactly all opinions right on all your issues, and in the end even parties don’t do as promised because they have to compromise.
- Organizations. Where group think (is the) rule(s). Where all collectively are expected to behave individually. Or so. At the end of this.
- Statistics. Where n times the average of n data points is nowhere the same as any of the data points. The statistician drowned in the river that is 1 ft deep on average. The average human has 1 nipple and 1 ball. Etc. [Let alone causality that is only implied in the human discourse, the Story, but has never yet been proven to exist. Philosophers’ stuff]
- Mathematics (I). Where the greatest common divisor decreases rapidly as the number of elements increases.
- Mathematics (II). Where there is a continuity ‘correction’ when jumping from discrete to real arithmetic.
Which all reminds us of Ortega y Gasset’s rants against the hordes, the masses – his their Revolt is the fear of the shrinking greatest common divisor.
Which also reminds us of the perennial individual versus history movements when discussing innovation. One can go it alone but will not gain traction. Or (later) succumb to the pressure of joining others but losing something for the sake of being allowed to join. Hmmm, I feel there’s much more to be said here. But the bits margin on this blog did just not suffice. To be continued. In the mean time, I’d welcome your contributions to the above list …