Category Archives: Essay

Today’s cynical quote of the day

“Familiarity breeds contempt – and children”

Mark Twain, Notebooks (1935)

An interesting research study  that further investigates the idea of familiarity vs ambiquity with relation to relationships between people. The research study is found here: Click here.


The present research shows that although people believe that learning more about others leads to greater liking, more information about others leads, on average, to less liking. Thus, ambiguity—lacking information about another—leads to liking, whereas familiarity—acquiring more information— can breed contempt. This “less is more” effect is due to the cascading nature of dissimilarity: Once evidence of dissimilarity is encountered, subsequent information is more likely to be interpreted as further evidence of dissimilarity, leading to decreased liking. The authors document the negative relationship between knowledge and liking in laboratory studies and with pre-and postdate data from online daters, while showing the mediating role of dissimilarity.

Norton, M.L., Frost, J.H., & Ariely, D. (2007). Less is more: The lure of ambiguity, or why familiarity breeds contempt. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92(1), 97-105.


Allegory by Marcel Proust

In the park there was an area of such rich and diverse flowers that it was often referred to as a garden. Every day it bloomed more and more in the joy of its beauty and the pretty scent of its perfumes. One evening, a furious storm tore up and carried away all the flowers. Then a torrential rain fell, frosting the bruised soil; everything that it loved the most was gone, torn from its very heart. Now it is all one, but this cold without respite, this senseless deluge, was the final cruelty. Meanwhile the wind took up the light earth in handfulls and scattered it before. Soon the last unyielding bed was stripped bare, the wind had no hold over it, but the water, being unable to cross it, and it was such an imprudently hilly garden that there was nowhere for it to drain off, remained there. And still it fell in torrents, drowning the ransacked garden in tears. In the morning it was still falling, then stopped; the garden was now no more than a devastated field covered by muddy water. But then it all subsided when, at about five o’ clock,, the garden felt its waters become calm, pure, pervaded with infinite extasy, pink and blue, divine and sickly, the afternoon, celestial, came to rest in its bed. And the water neither veiled it nor stirred it in any way but with all its love deepened further perhaps its vague and sad look and contained, retained in its entirety, tenderly embraced its luminous beauty. And henceforth those who love the vast spectacles of the sky often go to look at them in the pond.
Happy the heart thus stripped of flowers, ransacked, if now full of tears it can also reflect the sky in itself.

An unused fragment from Plaisirs et les jours, 1893-1895.

February Ping Pong with Guy ‘Dhyan’ Traiber & Sana Rafiq

You can read the interview of my friend, Guy ‘Dhyan’ Traiber on LiteraryMary!

We talk about culture, countries, writing, and ourselves!

Dhyan writes on his blog:

Are you a post-modernist?

The following principles appear elemental to postmodernists:

  • There is no absolute truth – Postmodernists believe that the notion of truth is a contrived illusion, misused by people and special interest groups to gain power over others.
  • Truth and error are synonymous – Facts, postmodernists claim, are too limiting to determine anything. Changing erratically, what is fact today can be false tomorrow.
  • Self-conceptualization and rationalization – Traditional logic and objectivity are spurned by postmodernists. Preferring to rely on opinions rather than embrace facts, postmodernist spurn the scientific method.
  • Traditional authority is false and corrupt – Postmodernists speak out against the constraints of religious morals and secular authority. They wage intellectual revolution to voice their concerns about traditional establishment.
  • Ownership – They claim that collective ownership would most fairly administrate goods and services.
  • Disillusionment with modernism – Postmodernists rue the unfulfilled promises of science, technology, government, and religion.
  • Morality is personal – Believing ethics to be relative, postmodernists subject morality to personal opinion. They define morality as each person’s private code of ethics without the need to follow traditional values and rules.
  • Globalization – Many postmodernists claim that national boundaries are a hindrance to human communication. Nationalism, they believe, causes wars. Therefore, postmodernists often propose internationalism and uniting separate countries.
  • All religions are valid – Valuing inclusive faiths, postmodernists gravitate towards New Age religion. They denounce the exclusive claims of Jesus Christ as being the only way to God.
  • Liberal ethics – Postmodernists defend the cause of feminists and homosexuals.
  • Pro-environmentalism – Defending “Mother Earth,” postmodernists blame Western society for its destruction.