Sunday, May 19, 2013

Not all there is to it?

Song of the day: Pieces by Red (Instrumental).

So it has been brought to my attention (by myself and also my sociology textbook) that I grossly oversimplified the weirdness formula, which looked at first a little something like this: AW/JW = W%

Number of people that have said weird trait/the number of people not possessing that weird trait. I.e. attributed weird/judging of weird

But thinking in terms of 'amount of people judging' versus 'amount of people judged' just isn't good enough. This becomes apparent when it's made clear that the term 'minority'  seldom has anything to do with the size of the group in question. Arguments have been made, for example, of women counting as a minority as as they have generally had to deal with a crapload of oppression throughout history, even though we make up roughly 50% of the human race.

You could also take the Marxist approach; that the ruling class defines what is socially acceptable and thus what is considered weird. There is also the basis of H.S. Becker's Labeling Theory, which argues that a deviancy doesn't become one unless there is someone to observe it and label it as such (which gives rise to the argument that in such circumstances, someone does have to observe the tree falling in the forest for it to count.)

 Which, as argued by Terry Pratchett, does make a sound when it falls; after all, there is always something in the forest to hear it, even if it isn't human. Why would a forest be there if there is no life?

Although to me that doesn't seem quite all there is to it. Of course no-one can consider you weird for wearing socks on your elbows (which is amazingly comfortable, by the way) if you only do so in your own home, because then they don't know about it. But it seems to be only one facet of the formula.

But then there is finding out what makes one thing 'weird' and not another. As noted before there is the 'majority rules' as in if a lot of people do this it's normal but a fewer people do that it might not be. But that was the failing of the original formula. Too simple.

How do you make 'weird' and 'the norm' a mathematical constant? How do you make deviancy a measurable entity? Although I find math along the lines of the Fibonacci spiral to be ridiculously beautiful, I'm still not very good at figuring out numbers. Anyone out there with something to add? A brilliant brain of mathematics or sociology or just someone curious to see how this goes? I suspect this could make an interesting thought experiment.

Meanwhile, back to my fic writing. Peace!

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