Social systems exist by the willingness of the participants to ‘play’ the game.
Each one is a social system, with an entry criteria and takes ongoing effort to retain. Each of these, apart from the brief privileges it confers does not fundamentally change us.
Each is like a tacked on habit. Habit as in the garment one wears. Something that is acquired, something that is not us, something that is superficial. This is a common behavioral pattern in most human beings.
Each of us by definition sees oneself as unique, irreplaceable. Refuse to be treated like a mere number, subject to distribution curves and power laws.
At the other end of the scale is the tendency to stand out from the crowd. To not belong. To stay away from the cobwebs of habit, to not yield to the fancies of the crowd. This is by definition an individualistic trend.
The Sannyasi in his unwillingness to be defined by the system, seems a sinister figure. Far away from our fragilities, with none of our human compulsions, save the most basic..and even that to a minimum.
Both these extremes seem illusions.
Herein, I believe, is the contradiction. We seem to want both the worlds. To remain unique, yet have that uniqueness validated and displayed amongst others like us, and more prominently displayed against those who do not possess what we do.
So we invent a club with a waiting list of 10years to apply for membership. An elite school to which we are willing to pay ‘donation’ to let our offspring in. An Ivy League college where we wish to be educated.
We believe our destinies, if there is one at all, is not in statistics but in the stars, or even in the ether that escapes and stands far above our mortal understanding. And yet subscribe to the taxonomies that society chooses to organize itself into groups.
AllTop is pitched as an ‘Online Magazine Rack’. The user experience is really elegant, almost like a real-world magazine rack.
The best part is the human validated choice of content, grouped by categories. Not as in a very formal classification scheme, but more folksonomy like identification scheme / faceting mechanism. Highly recommend a look, if you have not seen it before.
And boy, does it feel good to be touched by a single strand of the Kawasaki brush.