01 October 2010


I had this discussion today... or rather I observed this discussion today wherein the following set of things were ascribed with some special meaning

1) Two different women had the same name, first and last. (this is hardly surprising)
2) Both were professors (again, academics would probably know other academics)
3) One's Father died on one's birthday. (only 365 days a year.. not hard to overlap)
4) One had done lots of traveling, the other wanted to do more (wow.. yes. shocking that worldwise people would want to travel a lot)
5) Now deceased father's church that he ministered to had the same name as the other's daughter. (semi-odd, but not very surprising either)
6) Both fathers had gone to the same relatively obscure college. (this is actually pretty odd commonality. congratulations)

Meanwhile things like the following were ignored
1) Both had children, but they were of substantially different ages (hence accounting for the travel difference)
2) Both born in another state.
3) One liked sports and trained horses, other did not
4) Taught different subjects.
5) Looked totally different
Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Point is that people look for meaning in the strangest ways. What was of interest were the commonalities. People can use common ground to form relationships with each other, but the actual purpose of those isn't to be shocked at how similar someone is and presume those to be of some special meaning, but to be fascinated by their differences and the different ways they can see in the same world you do. Those similarities are there to make that possible, to give frames of reference and common experiences, but not to make people feel the same. Because they're not.

It's really easy to filter through someone's likes and dislikes and say "wow, we like the same things", but then, if you didn't have enough in common to like in the first place, how likely is it that they'd let you in to see that? And even if you do like many of the same things, it's very possible you started seeing those commonalities and looking for more, and ignored a large number of "strange" things that didn't conform to that "we're totally similar" mindset in favor of a couple very strange things that did.

Besides which, too similar of people would be very boring in some respects. Once you pass a certain threshold of similarity to make basic associations, it becomes sort of pointless.
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