The End of Tall Poppy Syndrome?

Lance's picture
Submitted by Lance on Thu, 2010-09-23 01:30

I like humans. I REALLY do. Seeing a magnificent specimen consciously strive to raise the bar and achieve things that no one else has done before, or better than anyone has done before or faster than anyone has done before or higher... you get the picture.

I hate encountering the self-loathing, homo sapiens-guilt complex, misery guts on a daily basis at university. Bewailing the species as "suicidal" "doomed" "fucked" "raping the planet" "warlike" on and on and on. The deepest cynic in me sees these ideas, being held by nervous young people in a highly social environment, as the manifestation of a desire to hold deep convictions, popular with the crowd, but that will go unchallenged and therefore require no serious investigation on their part (and may even get them laid).

The advantages of being uni at 30 instead of 18 are of course:
a) I'm happily married and starting a family
b) I have a network of friends already well established
c) I have developed as honest and as informed a view of the world as I can on my own already.

This means I am not trying to:
a) get laid
b) be popular
c) flash my conviction credentials to achieve a) or b)

Where am I going with this? I've opened with a sentence praising humans and then proceeded to disparage a large crowd of them, most of whom I have not exchanged even a handful of words with, and displayed smug superiority toward. Poor bastards, maybe that was unfair. But it just galls me to see the pinnacle of nature, man the thinker, torn down and savaged and accused of the basest crimes, and unfavourably compared with the simplest organisms just so some spotty faced adolescent can fit into the crowd or catch a handful of boob.

But speaking of the crowd, a common a misinformed salvo often fired at Objectivists and their hangers-on (like me)* is that they are somehow anti-social and don't like cooperative efforts or group based achievements or innovations. While my experience at university paints a negative view of the social or crowd effect on the way people think and express themselves, my experience is anomalous. If you move the lens away from the stifled and collectivist ridden environment of a university and focus instead on the truly open and far ranging battleground of ideas of the world at large, then crowds can have a VERY different effect on people.

Chris Anderson talks at TED 2010 Global about what he calls Crowd Accelerated Innovation. His basic idea can be summed up, from Seth Godin as:

"Online video radically changes the reach and speed of the improvement cycle. Things like dance, snowboarding and TED talks keep getting better, and faster, because artists see the best and improve on it. Even more than that, it requires you to top what's out there, or you'll be ignored."

Anderson's talk is the anti-thesis of the Tall Poppy metaphor. Instead imagine an entire field of poppies, striving, competing, the growth of one poppy inspiring the rise of another. It would be something to see this crowd effect happen at uni, but the environment is geared towards assimilation and homogenisation instead of innovation and individualism.

*I am not in fact an Objectivist. What I understand I agree with, what I don't understand is enough to not lay claim to the label.

( categories: )

Lies, Goddamned Lies

HWH's picture

I had to do what I had to do to drag you out of your misanthropic pall Linz, and due to the familiar sound of crickets (so peculiar to SOLO for me Puzzled ) , I was just gearing up to become really brazenly obnoxious.

Lucky for you you responded in time Smiling

Surely you know that your site is best for this, and besides, as opposed to your leisurely life of sipping Chiraz and lounging about, I am at the moment busier than a one legged man at a fanny kicking comp trying to get a particularly wingless business off the ground.

Just let me at Mr Green, and if he's too busy I can find a talented developer on Elance to do it, but we can pull it off, and without changing your current format as we can hide the whole thing behind a small button.

Of course you're going to have to get your headphones and blinkers on and start beetling around for funding Smiling, unless of course you start soliciting donations for it. I doubt it will be more than $1.5K and I do know it will make SOLOt the KASSEST O'ist forum on the web. (yes I know it is allready)

Galt knows we need to do something drastic to stop the BS, dont we?


Lindsay Perigo's picture

Hilton, you hussy:

Lies, calumnies, slanders and slurs.

I'm sure my last word on the subject was, "If you think it'll work, you go ahead and implement it." All too convoluted for me. We mules are stupid as well as stubborn, you know. Eye

Thanks Lance

HWH's picture

for pointing me to that talk on TED.

I have been trying to get Linz to employ those
motivational principles explained on the TED video
on SOLO for years now, so we can have a self fueling
generator of great op-eds flooding the net and
mainstream media, but the man is as stubborn as a
mule, and seems to become even more unregenerate
with each passing day.

As his erstwhile SOLO deputy, please point him to this
post of mine (called "More concise"
and see if you can shake some sense into him

PS! Try not to shake him when he's been on the
Chiraz Smiling

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