Thursday, March 3, 2011


Message on sign:


March 2 - March 3, 2011

Credits: adapted from an idea created by Vitaly Ivanov

The weather was terrible these two days so few people came up to talk.

Ideas expressed:

- the difference between you and me is: all of reality. Perception of the world is entirely subjective and your world is therefore completely different from mine. However, if you asked me to answer the opposite question--how are we alike-- my answer would be: "less than you might think." What people want most out of life varies very little even across cultures, races, nations and other divisions.

- one guy spoke of how different his life was before he established a personal relationship with Jesus Christ a year ago

- how do I know you exist and are not dreamed by me; or that I exist and am not being dreamed by you?

Ways mentioned that people can be different:
- bearing
- demeanor 
- age
- experience
- height

Other signs on the Quad: there was a rally near the state of George Washington when I arrived. People held up signs: "UW to UW Wisconsin Solidarity", "Freedom of Assembly"; there was a giant inflatable "fat cat" with a diamond ring on its pinky choking a construction worker. For coverage of the rally go here.

The fat cat choking the construction worker looked like this:

For a complete transcript of discussions with people about this sign (or at least as complete as memory would allow), see here, March 2-3.


  1. Someone posted about you on reddit. I'm going to bookmark your blog and am hoping for more updates.

    I think what you're doing with these signs is fantastic and inspiring. Please don't stop.

  2. Hey, this is Garrett.

    The answer to "How are we alike" was actually "More than you might think." The argument I was making was that the essential wants and needs of human existence lead us to be overwhelmingly similar. We are so similar that one of our primary social mechanisms serves to differentiate us from the "other". If you are interested in how that works look up the "Minimal Group Paradigm" theory, a cognitive psychological model which shows that even when no obvious differences exist, simply dividing people into separate groups will cause them to form distinct identities. If no clear distinctions exist, people will tend to exaggerate their perceptions to facilitate categorization and stereotyping of the other, which leads to a sense of shared identity, increasing similarity among the in group, and increases hostility to the other. The result of this process is that the in-group will rationalize its actions while assuming that the out-groups actions are the result of intentional planning.

    So, again, I was arguing that even though we live in unique subjective realities, our shared humanity causes us to have far more in common than not. We all want to feel safe, eat good food, feel productive/valued, and most likely want to make babies. Individuals, and cultures may go about assigning different values for success, but they are still trying to answer the same questions. What is a good life? By in large, I would argue that our answers are more similar than people generally like to face.

    If my e-mail looks funky, it is a sad attempt to stop spambots.