Disregard Differences, Notice Similarities

Disregard Differences, Notice Similarities

I’m still afflicted with GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). I want new crap all the time. I’m always dissatisfied with the technology I have (smartphone, tablet, laptop, camera, espresso machine) as well as my car, clothes, standard of living, quality of my food, etc.


What causes this constant treadmill of dissatisfaction?


There is a disease that Nassim Taleb calls “neomania” in his book, Antifragile. It’s probably my favourite modern book (I’ve re read it about 5 times, cover to cover). The concept of neomania is that we love the new for the sake of the new.


For example, whenever the new iPhone comes out, everyone instantly becomes dissatisfied with their old iPhone, and want the newest and greatest. And they forget how happy they were when they bought their “old” iPhone, and how slick and advanced it was when it first came out.


This is a psychological problem, that Daniel Kehnnamen explores in his book, “Thinking fast, and slow”. The problem with humans is that we notice differences more than similarities.


For example, when it comes to digital cameras, we always point out the differences (megapixel count, body style, sensor) rather than the similarities (all cameras take photos at the end of the day). The difference between a Canon and Nikon is negligible at best, but people always want to separate themselves from “others.” It is sort of a tribe mentality, which is sad. At the end of the day, we are all photographers. Who gives a damn which cameras we use? It especially cheeses me off when Leica shooters look down on Fuji shooters. Probably like how guys who wear Rolex watches look down on guys who wear Seikos.


So I have a new mental heuristic (rule of thumb) that I’m trying to follow: ignore differences, and pay attention to commonalities.


Blue Haven





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