E% = c/F OR Mountain-Climbers & Tropical Fish

by Beauchamp Art

One thing I can say about university; I have known lots of people, I will continue to know some of them, fewer will know me as friends, more will be known as people that have been met, acquaintances, perfectly reasonable people within whom we share a common frame of reference within the university setting but perhaps very little else. Conversations have flown effortlessly with some, others have been bundled together and vocalised inefficiently, but words have been exchanged.

There are those whom one passes in the street and stop and talk, others exchange brief hellos without breaking step, others a nod, others our eye-lines do not divert, and acknowledge one another in the periphery, and others become transparent, both viewer and viewed, having slipped out of a shared world.

The further individuals are from the original place of encounter, the more extensive the exchange may be, even for those with whom one simply shared space. Within the same city, these interactions are fairly consistent, though there are those who one might greet in full some days and only wave to on others, and vice versa.

Beyond the city, or even at its outskirts, then a greater geographically intimacy is expressed. Just a mile or two from the centre, those with whom one may normally engage sparingly may become more warmly greeted. Taken further, this effect multiplies. Outside the city, within the county, the rest of the country, the probability of encounter becomes inversely proportional to the friendliness of greeting (Encounter % = c/Friendliness of Response OR E% = c/F).

Taken to extremes, if one encountered someone with whom one had not spoken, but who had briefly been in the same room as one, were encountered at the location (geographically or otherwise) opposite, then they may be greeted with a level of friendliness comparable to that which may usually be expressed to close, personal acquaintances. Even more so, the two individuals do not have to have met, simply shared a commonality (location, occupation, preference) and that topic arise outside of its usual frame of reference

This could be understood as one individual holding many lengths of thread between a number of other people, the tension of that thread would be inversely proportional to distance between them, so would be more likely to gravitate to one another socially. The shorter the thread, the more rapidly it becomes taut, so their shared area of understanding (the overlapping circles of the social Venn Diagram) means they are more like to vocalise their commonality. Conversely, should one length of material (a vague connection) be made between two people, then it takes considerably more distance (or difference of circumstance) for the material to be tensed, and for a warm greeting to be expressed.

For example, two persons from the same city in one country, say Britain, met in Australia, then they may express a similar level of warm as close friends. Much as two individuals engaged in a specific activity may discover other similar interests, such as two mountain-climbers discovering they are both lovers of tropical fish. This stems from the basic desire to be within a group that is a product of the social development of humanity; in that groups could often function more efficiently than individuals when engaging in shared tasks.

Though, as has been stated, this is not just limited to physical or geographic differences, but may also apply to a range of other scenarios (such as two online forum users discovering one another involved an unlikely shared topic thread) people will invariably pluck any threads to hear what happens, as we are social animals, and we are pattern finding animals, so when these two areas cross, the coincidence heightens our attention; as repeated unlikely events may indicate order, an underlying structure that may lead to greater understanding, though may also lead to drawing false conclusions from erroneous correlation, or as unproductive (is there something about mountain-climbers that makes them more attracted to tropical fish?).