In The List Of Ways In Which I’m Not Writing Utopia…

…for humans, anyway, is this Slate article, from which I quote:

It’s all a lie. This is the thing about creativity that is rarely acknowledged: Most people don’t actually like it. Studies confirm what many creative people have suspected all along: People are biased against creative thinking, despite all of their insistence otherwise.

“We think of creative people in a heroic manner, and we celebrate them, but the thing we celebrate is the after-effect,” says Barry Staw, a researcher at the University of California–Berkeley business school who specializes in creativity.

Staw says most people are risk-averse. He refers to them as satisfiers. “As much as we celebrate independence in Western cultures, there is an awful lot of pressure to conform,” he says. Satisfiers avoid stirring things up, even if it means forsaking the truth or rejecting a good idea.

Even people who say they are looking for creativity react negatively to creative ideas, as demonstrated in a 2011 study from the University of Pennsylvania. Uncertainty is an inherent part of new ideas, and it’s also something that most people would do almost anything to avoid. People’s partiality toward certainty biases them against creative ideas and can interfere with their ability to even recognize creative ideas.

To say that this is spectacularly non-adaptive to the local cultural conditions *there* is – not that it’s even all that adapted to modern human culture vis-a-vis plains ape tribes – perhaps, an understatement of only moderately lesser magnitude than saying that our physiology is somewhat non-adaptive to skinny-dipping on Titan.

“You wake up. Your house has been moved overnight to another town. That, at least, you were expecting. What you weren’t expecting is that the new town is built entirely within groves of bioengineered trees, and you already have an e-mail from the Architectural Aesthetics Encouragement Circle and Neighborly Greetings Committee asking if you’re staying long. But, hey, they attached welcome cookies! Nom. Your next e-mail is from your accountant, apologizing for not being able to get back to you sooner due to being at a convention. You spend first breakfast trying to decide if you’re more surprised to learn that your accountant is a space whale who lives in the solar corona, or that your accountant practices her profession as a hobby, being a millionaire six times over from her licensed fan-genomes for the fictional pets of small, equally fictional magical equines.”

It’s now half an hour into your waking week, and you have absolutely no reason to believe that the rest of it will be any less… interesting, or at any lesser rate.

If you weren’t born and raised with the understanding that conformity is some sort of bizarre mental illness of the psychotically dull (probably hyponeiria, but hey, we have an entire DSM of these things) – well, you’ve got to learn to love surfing on the chaos. Or it will drive you nuts.

(Those looking to obtain the full collection of situational stress disorders may try also going nuts from the way that everything is nonetheless perfectly orderly – with perfectly intersecting automated traffic and shiningly pristine streets and so forth – at the same time that it’s utterly anarchic. The cognitive dissonance has been known to confuse the hell out of visitors, which in turn confuses it out of the locals, who can only say “Well, y’know, anarchy isn’t chaos,” as if it was the most obvious thing anyone’s ever said in the entire history of obviosity.

It never helps.)

Which is not to say that only risk-insensitive NT-dominant extremely neophiles need apply, of course – just that it appeals to a set of personality types that are skewed very much off the standard human baseline.


2 thoughts on “In The List Of Ways In Which I’m Not Writing Utopia…

  1. Well, on the bright side, a sufficiently motivated human who’s found themself transplanted into the Empire would have available, at least in theory, ways to hack themself into greater neophilia.

    And, y’know, a few other nice tricks for expunging Moloch from one’s existence, assuming it occurs to them to try…

  2. Pingback: April Questions | The Eldraeverse

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