What's Your Christmas Card List Got to Do With the Development of the Human Brain?

Discuss

25 Responses to “What's Your Christmas Card List Got to Do With the Development of the Human Brain?”

  1. freshacconci says:

    “a safety net in case you, personally, don’t hunt or gather up enough food”

    Neanderthal socialism. Of course libertarians are gonna claim we evolved past that stage. I just find it comforting that taking care of one in another, in a community, is very human and has been with us from the beginning.

    • Cicada says:

      Oddly enough, I think the Libertarians are probably doing the exact same thing– that 150-member “tribe” of family and close social contacts still gets the benefit of the doubt, shared resources, etc.
      Even an ardent Libertarian probably wouldn’t charge his own kid for lunch, or turn on a taxi meter when giving his best friend a ride.

      It’s how you interact with the folks _outside_ that tribe that makes the difference between the socialist (hey, let’s treat them like they were part of our tribe) and the libertarian (Outside of the tribe? Screw ‘em).

  2. Felix Mitchell says:

    Improvements in communication technology have made it easier to maintain large social networks, e.g. the telegraph, telephone, email and facebook.

    I have more than 150 friends, and had more than that two years ago when I was at Unviersity. But there’s no way I could talk to all of them without Facebook, skype and email. (this is proper friends, not facebook friends, which is around 350)

    So, I think this theory might be fine, but does not account for the generation that has grown up with facebook. Imagine in 30 years when people who were 15 when Facebook launched will be 45 and could have gone through school, university, a career, hobbies, armed forces service, parenting and more. They could easily maintain a over 150 friendships.

  3. Umbriel says:

    Libertarians have no problem with communities and social sharing. It’s the means by which individuals are compelled to be a part of a particular community, and the means by which those communities are empowered to enforce their will on the individual, that can define tyranny.

  4. Robbo says:

    Monkeys with car keys.

  5. Moriarty says:

    Crap! I’m supposed to have 150 close contacts? I am waaaay behind.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Fiddle faddle. I clearly have processing power above and beyond that of an average chimpanzee as evidenced by my ability to type. However, I form absolutely no relationships with other entities (sapient or otherwise). Explain that, Mr. Scientist.

  7. Nadreck says:

    But ants have social networks with millions of members! This superior intelligence is why I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords.

  8. MelSkunk says:

    I have to admit the concept of the fact I had a very large family growing up might have contributed to me having less adult friends fascinating. Both my sister and I have 4-5 really close friends, but other people we know seem to have a lot more. I’ve always wondered about that.
    My mother on the other hand was an only child, and when ALL of her friends come over, they have to do serious planning. She regularly speaks to at least three times the number we do.

  9. MadManMoon says:

    So, I generally do not like people (most are idiots) and limit my “inner circle” to… well… me — does that mean that I have a small brain, and in fact, an idiot myself?

  10. glory bee says:

    I wouldn;t say ‘crap’ as one other poster here did becuase in the interests of making 10 friends I have tried to curtail my swearing. I’m not good at reading how to put stuff together but visually .. whizz band(That was apropos of nothing.. but maybe there out there there are a coupe of people who might make up my aim of 10 friends?)I wonder did the primates think of singing and music as they saw it as a way of making more friends. And do Rock Concerts make us friends?

  11. glory bee says:

    I wouldn;t say ‘crap’ as one other poster here did becuase in the interests of making 10 friends I have tried to curtail my swearing. I’m not good at reading how to put stuff together but visually .. whizz band(That was apropos of nothing.. but maybe there out there there are a coupe of people who might make up my aim of 10 friends?)I wonder did the primates think of singing and music as they saw it as a way of making more friends. And do Rock Concerts make us friends?

  12. Lady Strathconn says:

    I am sorry for Anonymous #15, I have over 700 friends on Facebook. I have a handful I have never met, but am connected to through my college.

    On the other hand, I have very few close friends. I know lots of people, but I prefer to keep company with only a few.

    I remember reading somewhere about a person telling a friend, “I currently have the 15 friends I need, but when I have an opening I will let you know.”

  13. azaner says:

    This concept struck me as either dead-on, or a weird coincidence. For the first years after we got married, my wife and I limited our Christmas card list to a maximum of 120 addresses, which was four pages of 30-count Avery address labels. Just seemed like a good number, and it included all the “important” people in our lives. Each year would always bring in a small number of new addresses, but we could almost always manage to edit away more or less the same number, to keep it at 120. (Seemed sort of like a waste to “spill over” into only two or three labels of a new Avery sheet–but I admit it was a totally artificial limit.) But when we became parents, somehow the list swelled a bit, and edits became much more difficult to make (unless someone actually died). So we added a fifth 30-count Avery sheet to our psychological boundary, meaning that for the past few years our Christmas card list has been settled comfortably at exactly 150.

  14. Anonymous says:

    and hey, no one mentioned the size of an average wedding… anywhere between 150 and 300… which is coincidentally 150 times two.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Interesting. ^^
    But 150???
    Come one … if I add up all the people, I have ever known in my entire life, I won’t get a total count of 150! :D

  16. limepies says:

    i for one, have exactly 100 facebook contacts. but that’s a pretty arbitrary number. i cut out everyone who i accepted, but i don’t really know them, or i didn’t really like them the short length we spent in school/work. and then about 95/100 of those *friends* are acquaintances, or people i might say hi to but not much else.

    i really only have a handful of close friends and that’s it. small family, too. maybe i’m just an antisocial socialist.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Interestingly, Dunbar’s number of 150 is close to the average number of friends on Facebook, 130.

  18. phenomenon says:

    The monkeysphere!

  19. Anonymous says:

    I read about someone who studied how people act towards each other vs community size. He studied towns in africa and found that people regularly greeted each other up to a certain population (don’t recall that value) and when it got bigger they stopped.

    I’ve noticed myself doing the same thing on trails when hiking. I’ll greet folks regularly (and so do they) until the number of people on the trail gets too dense then I stop. Seems like there is a burn-out factor.

    • robnit says:

      This is analogous to the “Texas 2 finger Salute” – when approached by an oncoming vehicle (typically pickup) on a lonely 2-lane highway, it is customary to raise the two fingers you have draped over the steering wheel in salutation to the other driver. If there are too many cars on the road, one will skip this courtesy.

  20. nerak says:

    This is pretty interesting :D <3 anthropology!

  21. agitprop says:

    I’ve got one hundred and fifty THREE friends on Facebook, so I guess that blows that theory.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I’m sorry, my brain does not have sufficient memory to add you as a friend.

    Goodbye.

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