Thursday, May 05, 2005

Instinctive Irritations

Okay, I have a theory: People aren't necessarily rude or ignorant, but rather are driven by instinct to do things that serve them well, potentially at the expense of the rest of society. We are driving these instincts out of people (for better or worse is a topic for a different time) as much as we can, but some still remain, in areas that we tend to ignore.

Today, I will address an issue that many of you have wondered about, but dismissed it with a shrug and a "people are stupid." Here it is: why do people stop in doorways? At parties, in shopping malls, at the door to your lunchroom at work, in meeting rooms, people do it. They stop in the one area guaranteed to be most disruptive to those around them. Why? Are they just idiots who don't know better? No, I 've observed that behaviour in people who both are intelligent, and typically polite. My theory is... wait for it... it's instinctive. A doorway is an easily protected space. If you know what is on one side of the doorway, and can put your back to that area safely, you can only be attacked by roughly a 90 degree arc. You can't be flanked at all! This kind of thing had to be a motivator for our (very distant) ancestors. It is bred into us to find security, and not even necessarily on a conscious level. Not to mention, it also allows for the possibility of running away. A doorway, my friends, is beneficial to which of the fight-or-flight reflex one follows in the case of a threat.

I know what you are thinking: "Wow... this guy's an idiot." Okay, maybe not. Maybe you are thinking: "Hey... he might be on to something. Someone should do a study." I have it all planned. We will monitor heart rates, observe body language and such of people talking in doorways, and in open spaces. The only problem is, all the study money is going to studies making such ground-breaking conclusions as "Men who have sex are happier," or "Homeless people in cold climates die earlier,on average, than people with homes," or "inhaling smoke is bad for you." There are tons of those kinds of studies being done. But mine never will. Of course, I have to admit that is quite possibly because I will never persue it beyond this page. Anyone out there know any Psych students? This might make an interesting paper for them. And lord knows they could just plagiarize this and hand it in, as it should be apparent that I hold all of my ideas up to the strictest standards of scholastic verification before posting them on the internet. After all, I wouldn't want to be the only person to put complete and utter crap out there on the web.

Next time someone does something that you consider stupid, stop and think... is it a pattern? Might there be a reason they do this? In many cases you will find the answer to be: "Nope. They're just an idiot." But those times, few and far between as you might find them to be, where there might be other forces afoot... Those are the things blog entries are made of.


  • I'll forward this on to a psych friend of mine..


    By Anonymous Jorge, at 9:49 AM  

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