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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » Generalisations (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

ChrisZampese
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Just reading the post in "Food for thought" about women in magic.
It made me think about generalisations. Do you think it is OK/accurate to use generalisations, or do you think we should never generalise about a group of people, but always treat people as individuals?
The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are
Beetroot
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Good topic!

I suppose it's hard to treat everyone as individuals since we don't know everyone. I think that our brain causes us to make automatic generalisations (whether we voice them or not) and this is probably something of a defense mechanism. I would have thought that con-men and such can exploit generalisations effectively.

All I know is that it winds me up when I occasionally hear a woman make the generalisation "Men!" (with a disapproving look in her eyes). What is interesting about this is that my reaction is based on the generalisation that most men are precisely what the woman is complaining about and that I think I'm different!

My brain hurts.
dpe666
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If you live by generalizations, you will be correct about 85% of the time. Smile
marko
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And if you don't, you'll be right 100% of the time.
Thought: Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only food: frequently there must be a beverage.
ChrisZampese
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I would have to agree with you there dpe666 (sorry marko!).
The thing about generalisations is that they come from experiencing a similar behaviour among a certain group of people. If that group of people did not display similar behaviour patterns, then would the generalisation exist?

Lets take a less...politically sensitive generalisation as an example.
"Old people attend live theatre more than young people".

Now, I am involved in a local theatre, and am involved in the marketing of the shows amongst other things. Years of experience has taught the previous marketing person that our audiences mainly consist of older people, regardless of the show that is on.
Because of this 'generalization' we target our marketing to the newspapers/radio stations/areas of town that old people most frequent.
Looking back on previous marketing efforts some were aimed at 'young people' and used a different range of teh media to market the show. These shows did not get the same attendance, and some of our regulars mentioned that they did not hear about the show until it was too late.

If we were to try to treat everyone as individuals, then we would need to design 2000 different campaigns (the number of people we get in the audience through the season), whereas by generalising we can reach about 75-80% of our audience with one campaign......

so, thoughts?
The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are
GlenD
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They exist and they are not going to go away. I think there is value in them at times as Chris' example shows. But they can tend to offend people who may be referred to in a generalization but for some reason don't feel they belong there. If that makes any sense.
Seems like people "in general" are so much more sensitive these days! ugggg
Smile

GlenD
"A miracle is something that seems impossible but happens anyway" - Griffin

"Any future where you succeed, is one where you tell the truth." - Griffin (Griffin rocks!)
ChrisZampese
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OK, obviously I have been thinking about this a bit...I think it is 'safe' to generalise about a group of people (see my example above), but if you automatically assume that an individual fits the generalisation you may easily offend someone!
The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are
kihei kid
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I went to a general store once. They wouldn't let me buy anything specifically.

Sorry guys I couldn't pass that one up.
In loving memory of Hughie Thomasson 1952-2007.

You brought something beautiful to this world, you touched my heart, my soul and my life. You will be greatly missed.

Until we meet again “my old friend”.
dpe666
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Quote:
On 2003-10-29 19:18, ChrisZampese wrote:
If you automatically assume that an individual fits the generalisation you may easily offend someone!


So what? If I saw a guy who looked like a thug, I would rather make the assumption and be safe, than assume he is an "ok guy" and get hurt. People worry too much about offending strangers. Smile
ChrisZampese
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On the same hand, just by looking at you and your username, I probably wouldnt speak to you!, but that would mean missing out on the wealth of knowledge and wit that you have shared...
The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are
dpe666
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That is understandable. Most people ARE afraid of me, and avoid so much as eye contact. However, that does not offend me as long as they keep their opinions to themselves. Smile
nums
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If I was bitten buy a breed of dog 50% of the time I came in contact with it, I would think that that dog would bite me at any time. If every time I met a bald man (no offense DPE666 or other folicly challenged) he punched me in the nose I would be wary of bald man...generlizations come from our experience in life.
If people say they do not generalize I would think generally they are not being true.

Jeff
Ellen Kotzin
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Generally speaking--

We all generalize.

LN Smile
vinsmagic
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If you petted a snake and it bit you who's falt is it.........

vinny
Come check out my magic.

http://www.vinnymarini.com
El_Lamo
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I have a major problem with all this talk about generals. We need a rule about saying things in lieu of having all the facts. There has hardly been a colonel of truth. This new rule could be called the lieu tenant.

Cheers - El Lamo
Life is a system of circumstance presented coincidently in an illusory way.
Chrystal
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I agree with you El Lamo..fact is I think we need a Sargeant at Arms...ask him to lend us a hand. Smile

Now back to the talk about generalizations but I have to admit I always have a problem with it as when you have preconcieved notions about a group you're being unfair. It's different with marketing and I don't see it as being the same thing. I came up with this scenerio:

Two earthlings, lets call them XY and XXY decide to take their next vacation visiting the universe. XY may suggest visiting Mars as she's heard the people on Mars are friendly and the weather is very warm. XXY doesn't agree as he's heard Martians talk in stilted voices and worse they eat green cheese and he can't stand it. Being afraid there will be no decent food he talks her into going to another planet.

She suggest Pluto. Plutonians she's read have a wonderful fashion sense and she loves to shop."No Way!" he vehemently refuses to go there as "those" people are cold!

Next suggested is Uranus..but both nix that idea as they agree they've heard those people are stuck up.

In the meantime..two Martians also read about different universes for their next vacation plans. They both agree not to go to Earth. After all, the people there gasp cut down live trees during one of their lunar periods!!! They idolize the now somewhat dead tree and stick it in their living rooms, decorating it with all sorts of gadgets and even worse they surround the tree with presents!!!They must idolize this now dead tree!! They even sing silly songs like Oh Christmas Tree!! Nope they definately will not go to Earth..those people are too weird.

sigh...so I quess I have too much time on my hands ...of course you probably are generalizing about that. Smile
Reg Rozee
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Here is my only generalization: generalizations are dangerous. Not all are based on "fact" or "experience", many are based on misinformation, racial stereotypes, hate campaigns and literature, political agendas and so on. They are an excuse not to think, and how can that be good? People are complex entities, not the sort of thing you can make simple sweeping statements about with any degree of accuracy. Even the ones you "think" are "right" will break down if you look closely enough. People are all individuals, think for yourself and treat them that way.

-Reg {*}
Reality is what doesn't go away when you stop believing in it. -Phillip K. Dick



Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes? -Chico Marx
kihei kid
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99% of lawyers give the rest a bad name.

Sorry again.
In loving memory of Hughie Thomasson 1952-2007.

You brought something beautiful to this world, you touched my heart, my soul and my life. You will be greatly missed.

Until we meet again “my old friend”.
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