Wednesday, December 24, 2014

When Non-Conformists All Look Alike...and Ultrarunning

Ran across this reference on the always-good Boing Boing.  It links to a study about non-conformity entitled “The hipster effect: When anticonformists all look the same.”

The accompanying photo?

From the study:

In such different domains as statistical physics and spin glasses, neurosciences, social science, economics and finance, large ensemble of interacting individuals taking their decisions either in accordance (mainstream) or against (hipsters) the majority are ubiquitous. Yet, trying hard to be different often ends up in hipsters consistently taking the same decisions, in other words all looking alike. 

I am not a cartoonist, but I always imagined a cartoon of a football or a basketball team huddle, in which a plethora of bulging, tattooed arms and necks were quite prominent.  The caption would read  "After the game, let's all go express our individuality by getting more tattoos."

The link to Ultrarunning?  I kinda sneer at nonconformists becoming conformists as a result of their nonconformist zeal.  But truth be told, we Ultrarunners kinda pride ourselves as marching--i.e., running--to a different drummer.  We run vast distances while puny marathoners "only" run 26 miles, etc.  

I really do get it.  We are NOT unique, despite our efforts to be or appear so.  It just feels that way!

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