Saturday, March 1, 2008

Have We Met?  

I've been kind of scattered today… various events in the week combined with waking up in the morning and feeling exhausted to have caught up with me, and a mid-day nap taken out of necessity pretty much destroyed the rest of my afternoon. Of course, it’s well past midnight at the time I write this, and I'm w-i-d-e awake and feeling productive now.

Go figure.

Anyway, a random sort of idea that has occurred to me a couple times in the past few weeks is that there seemed to be a finite number of types of people in the world. I don't mean personality types, but that there are actually a specific number of variations in the types of combinations of physical appearance/personality that can naturally occur.

For example, my work has taken me to high schools recently, and although I graduated more than a decade ago, it seems to me that the people who are in school now are carbon copies of the people that I went to school with back then. The same social classes, the same sorts of styles… the jocks still look like the jocks, the outcasts still look like the outcasts, and so on. These people seem to be living the exact same school experience that I had, and probably the same one that generations had before me.

Going further, I'll be walking down the street and I’ll see someone who has a strong facial resemblance to somebody I've already met. Most often, their taste in clothing will be similar and I'm quite tempted to somehow try to find out if the personalities also follow the same track. I wouldn't be at all surprised to find out that they do.

The phrase ‘there’s nothing new under the sun’ seems to ring especially true in this regard and as much as we all like to think that we are individuals carving out our own path in life, the cynic (and quasi-naturalist) in me wants to call bullshit on that.

My dog, Bacon, is a Boston terrier. If you had asked me a few months ago, I would have said that he had a distinct personality with lots of weird little quirks that only he had. However, I've seen quite a few other Bostons in my neighborhood, and not only do they look almost exactly alike in physical appearance, I've seen a lot of my dog’s traits mirrored in these other animals. My conclusion? These terriers are hardly individuals, but little more than clones acting out their preprogrammed behaviors for our amusement.

Taking it to the next level, who's to say that we're all not clones ourselves, just with a greater number of possible phenotypes? It's entirely likely that each one of us is doing the exact same sort of preprogrammed behaviors and thinking the same sort of thoughts -- even living the same sorts of lives -- that our progenitors did.

It'd kinda take all the fun out of getting that tongue ring to be a rebel if you knew that the same thing had been done by your earlier copies all throughout humanity's history, wouldn't it?

What next?

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