I love a decent date. one in every of my uncomparable favorites is from Mark Twain: “If I wrote this long letter, it had been as a result of I did not have time to create it shorter,” he once told a lover.
It is a beautiful irony that I even have perennial to my friends and colleagues. Typical dyad, you may say.
Only it’s not. i used to be recently told that truth author of the quote may be a lesser-known French thinker named mathematician, UN agency wrote the phrase during a letter to a lover in 1657. I looked it up and confirmed it to be true.
I’m certain several of you’re aware of Einstein’s good saying: “The definition of mental illness is doing constant issue over and once again and expecting a special result.” it’s most likely the foremost illustrious issue he aforesaid, when the formula “E = mc2”.
But there’s no record that it had been he UN agency spoke these words. the primary time the phrase appeared in print was in 1981, during a Narcotics Anonymous pamphlet, some twenty five years when his death. And there ar more similar examples.
Winston Churchill, writer and Luther King have most likely aforesaid but half what’s thought. Quotes fight importance after they return from those that became illustrious for his or her wit and knowledge.
Misattributing quotes exemplifies our tendency to allow celebrities an excessive amount of credit.
Fame may be a powerful cultural magnet. As a hypersocial species, we tend to acquire most of our data, ideas, and skills by repeating others, through trial and error. However, rather more attention is paid to the habits and behaviors of celebrities than to those of standard members of our community.
That is why one thing is incredibly doubtless to become widespread if it’s related to a well known person for one reason or another, albeit the association is wrong, as within the case of dyad and Einstein. This raises the question of whether or not what’s aforesaid is as vital as UN agency aforesaid it
Another example of the manner characters act as cultural magnets is that we regularly copy traits that have very little or nothing to try and do with what created them palmy within the initial place: the garments they wear, their hairstyles, the manner they speak, etc. .
That’s essentially why firms rummage around for stars to endorse their product. Celebrities ar forever on tv and within the media. obtaining them to wear a complete of watch or jeans may be a nice promotion.
But it’s not solely regarding golf shot product publically read. there’s no manner of knowing – from look TV photos or newspaper photos – what reasonably underclothes David Beckham wears, what low St. George Clooney drinks or what Beyoncé’s fragrance smells like.
Companies look to celebrities to advertise these varieties of product as a result of they understand that our perception of import is actively influenced by fame. Celebrity endorsements not only make products more visible, but also more desirable.
Why is this happening? Celebrity culture is often portrayed as something relatively new, a product of a media-saturated society.
Although I agree that celebrity culture has been shaped by the modern world, the truth is that it is rooted in the most basic human instincts, which have played a key role in the culture’s acquisition and have been crucial to the evolutionary success of our species.
We could focus on the anthropology of prestige, a form of social status based on the respect and admiration of members of one’s own community. It is particularly interesting to anthropologists because it appears to be a feature unique to our species, while also being universal to all human cultures.
By dint of prestige
In other primates, social hierarchies are usually based on dominance, which is different from prestige, since it implies fear and threat of violence.
Individuals give in to more dominant animals because if they do not let them have what they want, it will be perceived that they are challenging their status, which they will defend by force. Many types of hierarchies in human society are similar.
However, unlike other primates, we also differentiate social status in terms of reputation.
In contrast to dominance, prestige arises voluntarily. It is freely given to individuals in recognition of their achievements in a particular field and is not backed by force.
How did these types of systems come about? The most convincing theory indicates that prestige developed as part of a package of psychological adaptations for cultural learning. This allowed our ancestors to recognize and reward people with superior skills and knowledge, and to learn from them.
New discoveries and techniques – for example, how to harness the medicinal properties of plants or how to optimize the design of hunting weapons – spread through the population and allowed successive generations to build on and improve on the knowledge of their predecessors.
Although the preference to imitate some prestigious individuals has helped promote the spread of adaptive behaviors, anthropologists suggest that it may make us susceptible to copying traits that are not always useful in themselves, and may even be harmful.
The reason is that prestige-biased learning is a strategy directed at models of success and not at specific traits. This is what makes it such a powerful and flexible tool, as the traits that make a person successful can vary considerably in different environments, so it makes sense to copy the one that seems to be doing the best at a given time and place.
However, this strategy can lead people to adopt all the behaviors exhibited by a role model, including those that have nothing to do with their success.
For example, men may watch a successful hunter perform some kind of incantation as he touches up his arrowheads, and adopt both the ritual and the techniques when preparing their own tools.
This trend, I think, explains our interest in what sports stars and singers wear, what car they drive, and where they shop.
In the past, useless traits acquired as a result of prestige-biased learning were offset by the benefits of learning useful skills. Therefore, in the long term, it turned out to be an effective adaptation strategy.
However, I am far from convinced that our attraction to prestige continues to promote superior cultural knowledge and skills.
famous vs. model to follow
The modern world is very different, and I believe that the originally adaptive bias to imitate successful people has now morphed into an unhealthy obsession with celebrities, whom we pay far more attention than they deserve.
Let me illustrate the point through a diet analogy. We have an evolutionary preference for sugary and fatty foods, because they were what motivated our ancestors to seek meat and ripe fruits, rich in essential nutrients. But in today’s world, these previously adaptive tastes have given rise to a massive obesity epidemic.
Similarly, we can think of the media as a kind of junk food for the mind. It’s quick, convenient, but not exactly nutritious. We get lost in images of wealth and success because we have an appetite for prestige. But are celebrities really good role models?
In posing this question, I am not referring to the highly publicized cases of misbehavior, but to the purpose of the star.
In ancient societies, the blueprint for a good role model was relatively well defined: a good hunter or gatherer, for example. In our society, with its complex class system, division of labor and mix of cultures, the criteria for success are much more varied. Many celebrities have achieved their success in fields like sports and music, which few of us can emulate.
But we still imitate what we can, because our brains are hardwired to associate prestige with adaptive behavior. And since fame is the main sign of prestige, the more famous they are, the more people they attract.
No wonder then that fame has become an end in itself. In the modern world, it doesn’t really matter what you’re famous for.
Indeed, although celebrities receive more attention and prestige than at any other time in human history, we are often being told that they should not be role models.
But -seen from the evolutionary anthropological perspective that I have outlined- you may ask, how do you become famous without being a role model?
Why benefit them with prestige, if we are not reciprocated with something useful?
Pondering those questions, we might reflect on these words of Samuel Johnson, one of England’s greatest literary figures: “Getting a name is one of the few things that cannot be bought. It is the free gift of humanity, which must be deserved before it is bestowed”.