Being the average is a minority position

A rule of Internet: It exists. Here “it” is anything that can be defined in three seconds or less; and “exists” means, “is represented online”.

Another rule of Internet: If it exists, there will eventually be a page that collects examples. Be it Sketchy Santas, cats that look like Hitler (“kitlers”), abuses and misuses of bacon, sign-language profanity (on Wikipedia!), or ASCII Airplanes; there will be a collection.

Three more examples; these I just googled without knowing the result beforehand.

Yurts — “Yurt Living” group on Flickr

Hands of famous people — The Hands of Famous People (with palmistry!)

Toilets — Toilets of the World

The canonical comment to all this would probably be “Why don’t these people get a life”, which is a fairly stupid and wrongheaded thing to say, because what’s life except doing what you desire? And if by life is meant, “life like the average”, well, that’s a very small minority that I happily smack around and keep down all I can.


Well, obviously them averages are a very small minority. Assume a human being can be “described” by ten real numbers not related to each other. Let us say someone is “average” if he or she is within the central 75% of each of these values; say, for example, in the middle bulge of a bell curve. These people constitute just

0.75^{10} \approx 0.056,

that is, 5.6%, of this model of humanity; to be in the three-quarters of most common people for ten independent indicators is a minority option! It’s clear that people can be different in a wide variety of ways; what is less understood is that practically everyone is different from any “average” in one or more ways. Add more indicators for more ways people can be different, and it won’t matter if you enlargen your definition of “normal” or “average”; the actions cancel each other out. If it is “normal” to be in some specified 90% of approaches to an subject, then 28 subjects are enough for just that same 5.6% to be that all-normal minority; and we humans can vary in more than 28 ways, surely!

Them normals are a minority, and I’m sick and tired of their normalioarchy and their smug ignorance of their crushing normalonormative privilege! To arms, my freak brothers and sisters and people that don’t care to tell! We are the shock troops of a fight for the right to differ; shock, since that’s what our numbers are! Onwards, with our yurts and kitlers! Snap a picture of a Santa in/on a toilet today — for freedom! Don’t fear the crowd; everyone in it has the same demon capering somewhere inside!

This has been your mathematics lesson for today/tonight; good night/day.

One Response to “Being the average is a minority position”

  1. Roger Says:

    Lol, you know it has hit the mainstream when you start seeing list-sites developing…

    Gotta say, the rule of the Internet can be a little disheartening if you think about it, because there really isn’t much that doesn’t exist in some way, shape, or form online. I get depressed for society sometimes when I read the comments on the local news stations website :(

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