We focus too much on the low ends


Because we feel our status wrongly.

We focus too much on the low ends /img/anxiety-posts.jpg

I really like some observations I just read about “Elite Overproduction”?, and what could have changed in the world today. Because

“People have always cared a lot about status, and tried hard to rise in status. [So, from that point of view,] what could have changed today?”

The post first acknowledges the obvious, that is that current society is much more “winner-take-all” than a few decades ago, so status gets you more; and that “as we get [relatively speaking] “rich”, we more satisfy our basic needs and so care more about status.” Besides, we have gotten better at measuring status (e.g., via social media), making it more visible, so we care more.

Hence the observations, or more exactly an interesting summary of the current status of things:

  1. We now put more weight on many smaller lower-noise status markers, instead of fewer bigger noisier markers.
  2. The new focus is on the low, not the high, end of the distribution of outcomes for each event or activity.

I find particularly worrying this proof provided for point 2:

“Today, schools give lots of assignments where most get high percent scores, and even many where most get 100% scores. In this sort of world, students know it is mostly about not making mistakes, and avoiding black marks. There is otherwise little they can do to stand out.”

How can one argue with that, considering that, when it comes to social media, so many schools push students to do the right thing, for the wrong reason?

In and out of education, says that post, this way to feel status produces more “anxiety”. And it’s impossible to deny that, is it?

Image source: screenshot of some of my own posts about anxiety.

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