“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.
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.
he asked me what I had been writing lately
but because I was so uninspired
my reply came out in the form of a white lie,
I narrated to him,
how I had found a green caterpillar
living on the outside of my windowsill,
it had fifty legs on each side of his body,
and it was very long
like my fingers,
He was laughing
and I was lying more
I saw an old man with a very handsome face
in the supermarket buying food
which he would not be able to eat,
because all his teeth were gone,
there was only two or three
but very yellow like an egg yolk,
then he knew I had lied too much,
so I asked him how he was doing
he said, I should know
because I make him so – and – so
I told him I did not write a lot
just some thoughts in my head
and they did not want to come out yet.
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: http://utopianfragments.wordpress.com
running up the stairs
a million difficult steps…
somewhere in this breathless race
i stop for a minute
to wonder why
i make these excuses