Thursday, 15 May 2008

Deluxe mugs and human diversity

This is going to sound stupid.

Where I work there's a kitchen and in the kitchen there's a cupboard. In the cupboard there's mugs. Until recently the cupboard was a little less than half full of a rather eclectic collection of mugs which had presumably taken years to become what it was. Small, large, blue, white, old, new, chipped, handleless, patterned, with logo, etc. The only thing they had in common was that they could contain a hot liquid without leaking or breaking, in short, all you could ever expect from a mug. I don't remember having a favourite but subconsciously I would probably have picked a bigger one if I felt more tired. Or a white one if I was feeling confused. Or a handleless one if I was cold.
But a little while ago the rest of the cupboard was filled. The company had acquired an entire army of new white mugs with the red company logo on the side.
I think if I asked any of my colleagues here what they thought of the new mugs they would probably say that they hadn't thought much about them, but that they were pleased that the cupboard almost never ran out of clean mugs anymore. Until yesterday I would probably have said the same, but then I became aware of a subconscious choice of mug I made yesterday. It was afternoon and most of the new identical company mugs were in the dishwasher or on peoples desks, but instead of just grabbing any mug I caught myself moving some of the "other" mugs out of the way to try to find one of the new deluxe ones. !

That made me think about archetype, diversity, uniformity and the majority. Do you see what I mean?

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