The benefits of imitation - Deepstash

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Why Imitation Is at the Heart of Being Human

The benefits of imitation

Inexperienced learners can't judge which steps are relevant and must rely on the wisdom of more experienced elders and peers.

  • The tendency for over-imitation makes it possible to develop skills and technologies over generations.
  • Rituals that aren't connected tangibly with practical outcomes, bond people and demonstrate cultural affiliation.

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Describing wonder

Wonder is said to be a childish emotion. However, as adults, we experience it when gaping at something unexpectedly spectacular.

Adam Smith, an 18th-century moral philosopher, describes wonder as something new and singular that is presented, and memory cannot find any image that nearly resembles this unique appearance.

Bodily symptoms

The bodily symptoms of this strange appearance point to three dimensions:

  • Sensory: The marvelous things take hold of our senses - we stare and widen our eyes.
  • Cognitive: We are perplexed because we don't have a past experience to understand them. It leads to a suspension of breath, similar to when we are startled.
  • Spiritual: We look upwards in veneration, which makes our heart swell.
The scale of wonder

At the mild end of this emotion, we talk about things being marvelous. More intense emotions might be described as astonishing. The extreme of this experiences is met with expressions of awe.

Baby advice industry

The baby-advice industry targets people at their most vulnerable - at the start of the weightiest responsibility of their lives - and suggests that they have some information that will ensure the future happiness of the child.

Even the most skeptical readers fall prey to books that promise a happy and healthy child.

The two camps of parenting advice
  • Baby Trainers urge parents to get their newborn on to a strict schedule to integrate him into the rhythms of the household. 
  • Natural Parents emulate the earthy practices of indigenous tribes in the developing world.
Although these two camps are hostile toward each other, we should realize that baby advice is not mainly about raising children. Instead, it is a vehicle to suggest that it might be possible to bring the terrifying unpredictability of the world under control. A brand new baby makes it possible to believe in that fantasy.
    Nobody really knows 
    • For a start, nobody can remember what it was like to be a baby.
    • Most parenting gurus only have direct experience of parenting two or three babies, which isn't much better as a sample size. They can't assume that whatever worked for them will work for everyone.
    • When you have read all the parenting books, your baby will possibly follow an entirely different manual of instructions.