Friday, March 6, 2009

Mirror Mirror on the wall.Who's the wisest of them all?

 Whether  you believe you can or not- you are right - Henry Ford.

 Second of my posts on why you should never just write down and believe whatever is taught to you downright.The first one being the one on atheism.Todays concept that I dont affirm  is WISDOM OF THE CROWD.

WISDOM OF THE CROWD says that The aggregation of information in groups, resulting in decisions are often better than could have been made by any single member of the group.

There is an interesting book on it too by James Surowiecki by the same name.

Now lets clarify this in the beginning itself.I believe that all generalizations are false.

Wisdom of the crowd according to me is nothing but orchestration of  individual opinions.

Now,What makes a crowd,the people in it.That means that the individual person in a group is the pivotal fragment of the final outcome that is arrived as a group.That the group thrives on nothing but individual independent deduction of the problem statement.

One of the pre requisite of the wisdom of the crowd is the independence of those who are surveyed.

This itself according to me is the major pitfall of the wisdom of the crowd.In the end ,the bottom line is that eventhough it is called the wisdom of the crowd,it is necessary for it to have people who do not get influenced by each other and take independent decisions.apply this to real life situations .


A million experiments might prove that the wisdom of the crowd is far more accurate than the individual opinion.Like the one we had been subjected to in a class of 60,where we were asked to gauge the width of a remote control and the average of the group was more closer than the random three people who were picked.But something that the experiment failed to point out was, what about the few handful of people who have it answered more closer than the so called wisdom of the crowd?Exception but not a rule,one might say.But isnt it true that the people who are exceptions and lie outside the normal bell curve are the people who will be more effective and influence every one more than anyone else who depend upon the whims of others,who are tied to please others and not themselves and in the process deny themselves the right to love themselves by not doing what they want,who do not love them enough.Those who love themselves are the OUTLIERS.

Does wisdom of crowd hold true in a dynamic and changing environment?The answer is No.

And lets consider that wisdom of the crowd is indeed is wise?

Something that tells one that the correct answer is this and it is the safest answer.where you  will be guaranteed a positive result.BORING.

I would much rather prefer an answer where not pre determined and is risky.Feel the adrenaline blow up  all along in those crucial moments and shout out loud that I knew I was right!,than having the herd menatality(clichéd but true).


I have always been a strong advocate of taking your own decisions and  if I apply WotC,it would mean that the people around me,the crowd is more wise than me.Come again?Absolute crass.If you think that people around you can take decisions on you much better than yourself then you,my friend,suffer from a grave disease that I will mention in capitals later.

By the way,Ever felt the exhilaration when you have gone against a crowd of thoughts,contemplations and deliberations?Ever felt the urge to prove them, the crowd wrong?To prove that what you do is the best for you and none can judge you better than yourself?The sensation of emptiness in your stomach that is dug in by the fear of failure and the anxiety of triumph or the feeling of being up there resting in the bed of roses after traversing through the path of thorns?Proving everyone else wrong and succeeding where people vanquished enough acquiesce  that I was wrong and you were right.The collection of all those  Is is what formed the crowd earlier.

How many times have you gone against your gut feeling to please people and be less effective and satisfied in the process?loved yourself less at the cost of pleasing others?That is what leads to the most epidemic disease in human beings that makes their life not worth savoring .An Epidemic called MEDIOCRITY.


T-REX said...

nice post..and i agree... had the wisdom of the crowd been accurate we wd have got better politicians and better singers from reality shows...and better serials on televisions...

Dan* said...

agree with the guy above...

by the way luv the title :D

ArUn raFi said...

hey nice example..hadnt thought of those examples..

Adisha said...

Well worded and distinctive thoughts on peer wisdom .... which is in no way necessary right or wrong...

The people who go with the flow, not using their own oars to direct their boats , usually drown.


ArUn raFi said...

@ adisha
i think i should have outsourced this articles from u people..
i can compile these comments and make another article itself..
"The people who go with the flow, not using their own oars to direct their boats , usually drown."
nice :)

Matty said...

well said man..
really good one..
i am inspired!!!
Nice perspective!!
And yeah u make people think...

E!$|-|@L said...

very well said......
individuals make crowds,,, n crowds are influenced by those who make their decisions on their own and then have the courage to express themselves regardless of what people might think of them :)
keep blogging!

Shruti Mukundan said...

very nice n inspiring post..

n the examples r too good!!

keep up the good work :)

Sam said...

"Lack of originality, everywhere, all over the world, from time immemorial, has always been considered the foremost quality and the recommendation of the active, efficient and practical man..."
~Dostoevsky, The Idiot

Two things that I'd like to point out here with referece to your post on Wisdom of the crowd vs individual wisdom
1. The wisdom of the crowd/collective wisdom happens to be something that is fundamental in holding the society together, that individual wisdom and individual exercising the freewill without any collective decision on how things are to be executed leads to nothing but chaos. Therefore if you were to live in a society there's no scope for demeaning the importance of collective wisdom.
2. With the rejection of collective wisdom comes the problem of setting a yardstick to what is acceptable and what is not. And hence the problem of defining what is rational. No doubt that there are instances when individual wisdom is higher placed than the collective wisdom, as in the case of Copernicus's heliocentric view of the cosmos as opposed to geocentric view of the cosmos held by the christian world, there are also instances where the wisdom of the crowd is superior to that of the individual as in case of a psychopath hell bent on killing someone.

It is impossible to ascertain what is better - individual wisdom/collective wisdom. It is a rather subjective issue.

Sam said...

And again when it comes to the rationality of collective wisdom it is, as educated individuals, important to examine the reason behind a particular decision and the prevalent socio-cultural conditions that lead to a particular decision.

toejam said...

Yes I agree- for the individual the decision is best taken by himself/herself,rather than going by the general feeling. However, factoring in the experience of some is not a bad thing at all.

ArUn raFi said...

yeah Cyril totally agree with what you have mentioned ,it is a subjective issue.
what I want to convey is about the people who can have positive repercussions in the society rather than the the psychopaths.Its about the OUTLIERS who have the power to change the course of things if they listen to their inner self rather than collective wisdom.yeah i know ,its very idealistic .but then it certainly excites me.
i do not know much about the topic unless we were subjected to the test i had mentioned in the post.i felt that something was wrong when we were doing it and that its not always applicable.
its like Maslows hierarchy,that many people have over rated but i dont think it is that great.

obituarytointelligence said...

"what I want to convey is about the people who can have positive repercussions in the society rather than the the psychopaths.Its about the OUTLIERS who have the power to change the course of things if they listen to their inner self rather than collective wisdom"
The question is who decides who is an outlier and who is not. It is easy to talk about but extremely difficult to bring into practice because we can talk abt good/bad psychopaths/socil reformers because we have a yard-stick to measure, which is a social construct.
The moment this vanishes we'd descent into total chaos.

Priya said...

Kudos!!Well blogged… great insights!!
Wisdom of the crowd!!
As u say, private judgments cannot make crowd verdicts apt..
Its generally accepted tat ‘opinion differs’.. so.. such diversity of opinions cannot end up in collective upshot…

But we cannot totally conflict on tis..
Ter r cases wer crowd psychology pull off…
Well, stock market.. the crowd knows more than u do..
Ask any chartists, they WILL agree!!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Hope you are doing well. Check out If you are interested in making money through your blog by occasionally writing reviews of products and services please log onto and register as a blogger.This is a great blog for advertisers and bloggers.