When you group, you lose individuality

No two people are the same. No two chairs are the same. No two socks are the same. Even in a pair.

The moment we create a category (people, chairs, socks), we paint with a broad brush. We abstract. We focus on common similarities instead of distinguishing details.

This functions well. We do it even on subconscious level. If you look at a lawn, your doesn’t see individual blades of grass, you see a lawn. Your brain automatically groups by similarity to save cognitive resources.

But if there is a herd of horses running at you, you will see them as individual animals, because that will maximize your probability of survival.

In thinking consciously, we should be flexible between switching from group to individual and back just like our brain does visually.

Grouping is for abstraction, systematization, rules. Individualizing is for specifics, personalization, exceptions.

Grouping can devolve into a falsely narrow focus or false association. Individualizing can devolve into a total lack of focus due to complexity or false disassociation.

We like to label by various categories to save time thinking. White. Black. Yellow. Red. Green. Blue. When do these categories make sense?

It’s not obvious.

Switch from group to individual flexibly.

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