Sunday, November 18, 2012


Great essay,

"In a 2006 interview David Foster Wallace said, 'it seems significant that we don’t want things to be quiet, ever, anymore.' Stores and restaurants have their ubiquitous Muzak or satellite radio; bars have anywhere between 1 and 17 TVs blaring Fox and soccer; ads and 30-second news cycles play on screens in cabs, elevators and restrooms. Even some libraries, whose professional shushers were once celebrated in cartoon and sitcom, now have music and special segregated areas designated for 'quiet study,' which is what a library used to be."
I wonder what Prechter would say about increasing noise? Is it because of technology, or is it something mood-related and cyclical?

I think that noise drives groupthink. Not "noise noise" as in din, but having CNBC on your trading (investing?) floor or riding in cabs playing the "news". That ubiquity is going to couple people's decision cycles together.

We have a whole category about groupthink.


freude bud said...

Do you think there was less groupthink before noise became ubiquitous? Is it possible there was just plain less thinking before the introduction of mass media?

As an aside, experience seems to demonstrate that logic is a poor means of persuading someone of any proposition ... which may mean that even if we think more or less than in the past, that may have little to do with our ultimate convictions.

Gotta say that as I get older the din becomes more and more irritating ... Pretty girls/pretty boys/have you ever heard your mama say/noise annoys?

CP said...

I'm sure there was always plenty of groupthink, but now its more difficult for a thinking person to avoid being subjected to it.

The problem, which I should have mentioned in the post, is that technology has caused the cost of din to fall and is now ~0.

For example - live bands used to take a break and even go home for the night. Now, a guy can have a house party with speakers blaring and pass out with them still on at the end of the night, subjecting everyone to noise.

Live music in parking lots? Elevators?

Allan Folz said...

Well, obviously there's two separate but related things: noise-noise and propaganda-noise.

Concerning the former, there's an undeniable IQ correlation. Dumb people can't handle being "alone with their thoughts" because they don't have very many thoughts.

As for the latter, yes, I think the amount of group think has increased. There's no time to consider the merits or anything anymore, it's all a big race to be the first out the gate with a snarky tweet. So everyone is using biases and stereotypes to think quickly instead of deeply, and those are going to rely on and reinforce group-think.

CP said...

"More revealing is that the Amazon CEO's fondness for the written word drives one of his primary, and peculiar, tools for managing his company: Meetings of his 'S-team' of senior executives begin with participants quietly absorbing the written word. Specifically, before any discussion begins, members of the team -- including Bezos -- consume six-page printed memos in total silence for as long as 30 minutes. (Yes, the e-ink purveyor prefers paper. Ironic, no?) They scribble notes in the margins while the authors of the memos wait for Bezos and his minions to finish reading."

Luke The Debtor said...