The Power of Many

I have heard that some scientists think that what makes humans superior to other creatures is that we’re social.

I believe in the power of many. In Turkish we have a saying and it translates to, “What does one hand have? Two hands make noise.” Okay, so it doesn’t translate well, but I hope you know what it is trying to say. It has always been obvious to me that two people can achieve a lot more than one, and three in return, can do even more.

Unless we’re talking about developing software.

But seriously, a single person has limitations on his or her capacity, just by the fact that a person can only do one thing at a time, be in only one place at a time. A crowd can disperse to attack the issue from a multitude of angles, bring the issue to a resolution. A single complaint might be whining, but a hundred people complaining often makes it a legitimate issue. Think about class-action suits, they symbolize the power of a crowd over one individual.

A group of people are stronger in pure muscle power as well as brain power. Having more people means more ideas, more points of view, and more experience to draw from. There are many studies proving that if humans grew up without other humans, they would not acquire language skills. We learn to speak so we can communicate with others. Because we live in a society.

There’s also the downside of the ‘power of many.’ There’s a famous psychology test where the subject is placed in a room with nine other researchers and shown two lines where one is obviously longer than the other. The psychologist asks each participant, starting with the nine researches who are acting as if they are subjects, which line is longer. Each researcher has been told to say that the longer line is the one that obviously appears to be the short one. By the time the actual subject’s turn comes up, he almost consistently replies in accordance with the undercover researchers.

Why? Because no one likes to sway from the crowd. Even when the answer is obvious and seemingly certain, very rarely do people want to give the single opposing response. It’s easier to roll with the crowd than to stand your ground alone. “If everyone said the answer is B, maybe I’m missing something. Maybe the answer is B.”

I bet your mom told you that it’s a bad idea to do what everyone else does, right?

Even though it increases the pressure to want to belong, I believe working in a group is consistently superior to working alone. It’s simply impossible to come up with as many ideas and see things from as many perspectives on one’s own.

The trick is not to give up your own sense of being in the process.

Previously? Finally.

1 comment to The Power of Many

  • Annie

    Freaky. Your list is could easily pass off as mine

    Honesty heads my list too. I think lying to your partner is disrespectful to him/her. And even if knowing the truth means that I’ll be brought crashing down from a flight of fancy, I’d rather know than not.

    Neither my family nor I is very good at expressing or displaying their emotion/affection, which is why I’d like my partner to be. And yes, even in public.

    Another thing important to me is a very strong mental connection. To the point of being able to read each other’s minds. Knowing your partner as much as knowing your self.

    Your list covers the rest.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.