Obsession with trivia

What the Mars landing and hairstyles reveals about the human mind.

Humanity may be more interested in your hairstyle than that you walked on the moon.

A new milestone in space exploration was announced by NASA of the successful landing of Mars probe Curiosity; the world went wild at the hairstyle of a NASA technician. The same Daily Mail article commented in passing that many were more interested in the font used to announce the discovery of the Higgs Boson particle than the actual news of the discovery.

Gabby Douglas gained Olympic gold for the USA in gymnastics recently.  It appears people were more interested in criticising the hairstyle of the young star, than celebrating her victory; which apparently impacted her mental focus and denied her potentially further success.

One of my interests is the study of the human mind (mentalism), and these recent events reveals interesting insights into human nature.  Most of humanity are unable to identify with an abstraction like an Olympians victory, a scientific discovery, or a space milestone; because they have no personal sensory experience to relate to the knowledge.  Something like hairstyles and fonts people have concrete experiences of, thus they can better relate with a NASA technicians hairstyle than they can with news of a Mars probe landing.

The concrete (sensory experience) will always outweigh in importance the abstract (non-sensory; intellectual) in the minds of humanity.  It is better to communicate discoveries in concrete ways so that people can relate to the knowledge, or they can rapidly focus on the trivial instead.  By default people are subjective in nature, and it is best to filter out their irrelevant opinion, or it can mess with your mental focus, as it did with Gabby Douglas in the London Olympics.


8 responses to “Obsession with trivia

  1. It is very strange how the ability to relate becomes a factor in this. Every person has had moments where hairstyles are a concern, but the rare few who find their skills used for Olympic gold or successful trips to Mars are outside the mainstream of thought. Eloquently written.

  2. I am always trying to convey a positive concrete sensory experience of myself to others to gain their approval and a positive reaction because I realize that many people are shallow and will immediately make assumptions based on first sight.

  3. I really have a hard time understanding these situations. Agreed, we cannot relate to everything, and if the olympics are not that interesting to a person then a victory for his country will not be a huge thing. But unless they were hairdressers, these reactions make me wonder just what is happening these days…

    Then again, this is me not being able to relate to “those who cannot relate to the olympics and search for criticism elsewhere”, so I am not one to talk either as I’m just like them but in a different scenario.

    I do secretly giggle everytime I see these situations where the core concept is completely absent.

  4. Or it could be the journalists are trying to get an original angle on the story beyond the obvious. But you could be right. I recall a friend of mine’s mother watching a battle in the middle east – her comment was ‘oh, look. it’s raining there too.’

  5. Pingback: Focus or Obsession? | Two Voices, One Song

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