Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Of Everyday Gossiping and Over-rated Civilisation

"The mad tea party" by Mark Bryan, Taken from https://www.artofmarkbryan.com/politics/

Kaleidoscope belongs to a species which is highly ethnocentric in its character. It thinks that it is superior than any other species of the earth.

Enormous divisions and inequalities:

The species within itself is divided based on a variety of symbolic attainments and value perceptions. It thinks, strongly believes and makes it natural that the ability to run a computer is far superior thing than to be able to run itself! Hence, it has a detailed and infinite divisions of the feeling of superiority. Most often it hates each other in the name of certain bodily,  behavioural and fictional differences. It is so important for the species that it adopts symbolic cannibalism! The sense of hierarchy usually ends at an individual level and sometimes even within individual levels divisions are there. Imagine such statements as "I have become a much superior person than what I was a year ago!" Hence Kaleidoscope's species is always going through at least three things:

  1. A growth story
  2. A classification story
  3. A criteria story.

The Gossip theory:

The curious case is it's everyday practices in present time when it attempts to adopt mechanisms to sustain the fictional nature of hierarchy. It usually loves to form group, group within a group, group within a group within a group. The critical problem that Kaleidoscope's species faces is primarily of two kinds, first, the problems of information processing. Imagine when the size of the group is fifty, there are 1225 different combinations of one-to-one relationships! These 1225 individuals in a complex society - such as the one in which Kaleidoscope firmly believes that he lives, has other relationships as well. Therefore,the amount of information that the human brain needs to process in unimaginable. Second, the problems of dealing with heterogeneity and instability.  Even when Kaleidoscope's species is settled (but not sure) about each of the individuals they tend to remain sceptical and seek information to participate in a continuous process of system update, because of insatiable suspicious curiosities. Even in Chimpanzee society groups seldom cooperate (Frans de Waal 2000).

Therefore Kaleidoscope's species tend to form groups and seek information. How to seek information? It is by gossiping. For early humans it was important to know and constantly keep tracking "who hates whom?" "Who sleeps with whom?" "Who is reliable and who is a cheat" - Kaleidoscope's present society continues to remain the same. Kaleidoscope's fellow members continue to gossip through each an every medium of communication! (Dunbar, 1998) 

The re-incarnation of primordial gossips:

What makes present species different through civilisation is its incredible ability to imagine things. Behind the back gossips are often sexually charged or are in a way or other linked to essential nature of the species - looks, Body features (size and shape of breasts, for example!), smell and smile!

Now, when there is rarely any significant data about the rival groups the species tend to imagine things. Remember rivalry can come through a variety of sources: a) rival for different nature/culture/looks b) rival for different opinions, c) rival for conflicts of interests, d) rival for attraction and lack of availability, and so on. When there is a serious lack of substantive data to 'rationalise' rivalry, imagined gossip game helps achieving it. The easiest way in the society in which Kaleidoscope lives in, is to spread rumors about flaws in the imagined standard of living (society calls it morality). Such gossips usually carry sexually charged content and hence become easily popularised. Kaleidoscope would like all his readers to remember the most popular gossips in their office or neighbourhoods. Yes, you know it, its about flaws in the imagined standard of morality- it does not have to be sex only, every culture has different sets of standards and so does different mechanisms of imagined gossips.

The classification of re-incarnated group mobilisers:

  1. The frequent oscillators: These are the people who changes their positions according to the actors and agencies with which s/he is interacting. They usually lack strong personalities and usually able to sense the pulse of group dynamics well. Therefore, these are the people who attempts to remain in good book of every power centres.
  2. The power cravers: These are the members who compromise anything to retain certain imagined positions of authorities.
  3. The open bookers: Represent those who continues to remain open about their positions and orientations and opinions
  4. The opportunists: are those who look for self interest maximising opportunities in every situation
  5. The strategic silent beings: never speak unless something involves their personal interests, but when anything does involve personal interests they raise their voice and take a stand.
  6. Unopinionated: represents those who never gives opinions.
  7. The black and whites: those handfuls who manage to remain relatively unattached with any of the subgroups and continue to criticise everything which in their opinion is wrong.
All these players usually love an equilibrium - which is hard to get. One can remember Foucault's notion of power as a net-like organisation where the concentration of power is never settled and extremely situational.

The changing power terrain:

Usually, in a rapidly changing power terrain the "frequent oscillators" initially exchange information between groups and then change their group affiliations. The "power cravers' usually are driven out of the power centres or are given relatively less important but ornamental positions. The 'open bookers" does not experience much of a stress and remain intact. "The opportunists" seeks new opportunities and usually forgets old power centres. "The strategic silent beings" remains silent unless something disturbs their inner equilibrium. "Unopionated" and "black and whites" remains the same, only the later continue to make new enemies.

It continues, in your family, office, schools, clubs and in nations. Kaleidoscope's species could only mask the primordial craves in the name of over-rated imagination of Civilisation.

See if you like

Dunbar, Robin (1998). Grooming, Gossip and the Evolution of Language. Cambridge: Harvard University Press

Frans De Waal (2000). Chimpanzee Politics: Power and Sex Among Apes. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.


  1. Adding academic flavour to your everyday life is a wonderful way of living. Great blog kaleido

  2. I can imagine my office clearly, i can imagine faces and their categories. Can't help laughing out loud... ��

  3. Everybody wants to be called as being open bookers and black and whites. But most of them are actually varieties of hypocrites. Now, write on the evolutionary significance of hypocrisy.

    By the way what about your office kaleido?

  4. The classification of members is too funny... tui paris o!