In between questions about brand name awareness (none), what colors I associate with vegetarian food packaging (none) and how much I agree or disagree about everything from the danger of gene modification (none) to the importance in upholding food traditions (none), there was a question that read,
Rank your top five out of the following groups of concepts:
- Results, success, commencement
- Independence, freedom, self-sufficiency
- Modesty, hometown, tradition
- Security, harmony, safety
- Trendmaking, uniqueness, attraction
- Responsibility, discipline, order
- Flexibility, openness, innovation
- Competence, knowledge, information
- Superiority, regard, power
- Friendship, confidence, trust
- Imagination, humor, ease
- Justice, morality, honesty
- Adventure, passion, fascination
- Health, vitality, durability
I'm like, okay, 10, 11, 12, 13 and then 7. If you put a gun to my head maybe I'd have to reconsider that order, and 2, 5 and 14 may have a place there as well. It's not that hard to figure out. But why? Why group those concepts? Why list those groups? Did a neural net construct this survey, is it the product of some inhuman hand with access to a dictionary but no concept of meaning? It's like, well.
It's in fact like this dream I had when I was about six years old. On my way to school, I walked through this little residential neighborhood that was like another world. Instead of the concrete monoliths where I lived, with space for playgrounds in between them, there were these tiny fairy tale houses littering narrow winding streets dwarfed between many large thorny hedges. So I dreamed about a wild, winding, churning, mist-covered hedge maze with secret gardens hiding cottages with witches and fairy godmothers living in them. A little dangerous, but mostly strange and wonderful. A storybook world of infinite adventure. You may see some traces of this here and there in my work if you look real hard.
But this most powerful, transformative childhood trauma doesn't usually come up in my daily life. I felt a little of it watching Inside Out. I think that was the last time, until now.