Scandinavia and the World

Comments #9648523:

It's important to know what you like 20 6, 4:09am

"The citydweller needs strong social skills to make it in a quickly changing enviroment where he meets new people all the time..."

Mein Gott, kaveri, have you ever even *been* to New York City?

Over here on the continent of gichi-gami, urbanites categorically have the worst social skills; because in a city, your daily interactions in public are invariably perfunctory, except with the limited set of people you work / drink with. Cities let you self-select those with whom you interact deeply, so that you do not need to encounter those who think in ways different from yourself.

It's the predecessor of the internet's self-selecting effect; and this shouldn't even be a surprising idea. History shows that while progress always percolates out to the countryside eventually (...FDR and rural electrification? ...Norman Borlaug and the Green Revolution? ...the windfields of Iowa and Texas? own hometown, which had internet speeds faster than Google Fiber back before Google Fiber even existed?), iconoclastic revolutions still always started in cities (because until very recently it was only there that enough like-minded people could gather and reinforce themselves into extremism; even Mao himself, perhaps the best counterexample against the theory that radicalism springs from cities, adopted Marxism-Leninsm while at Peking University, and only later went to the countryside to gather his rural army).

This is all very different from the small towns at least of America, where everybody from the churchladies to the storeclerks to the office secretaries are going to expect you to hold a certain non-zero degree of conversation when you meet them. Meeting this expectation teaches you to remember not to bring up politics with the Trump supporting lady at church, not bring up religion with the atheist redneck at the butcher's shop, and not to bring up sports with the office secretary who doesn't follow them. The limited diversity of rural areas forces you to learn how to interact *deeply* with *a selection of people not of your own choosing*, and that breeds an understanding of the full spectrum of diversity of thought. It is anti-self-selection, so truly that I can say anecdotally without a single doubt the effect even bleeds over into the online interactions of my rural friends versus my urban friends.

"Smart kids can't wait to move from the countryside to the city where they can develop and challenge their inteligence."

Ha! I was like that once. I went out to Yale with the explicit purpose of developing and challenging my intelligence. I'm even gay, figured I'd be more likely to find a boyfriend in an area with more gay people. Given what I said above, of course, it should come as no surprise that both those searches there were utterly futile, including that it was in a rural area where I found a guy intelligent and understanding enough that I could be comfortable being different around him. I'm now quite happily-moved to Iowa where Universities still try to teach the capacity of developing new understanding, instead of just challenging the uninitiated with perpetual lists of pre-discovered "facts".

I say "facts" in quotes because once I finally took classes from a rural-born professor at the forestry school, I had to unlearn what the urbanites taught me. There were many such "facts" to unlearn, but the most damning was how my urban-born professors told me categorically that photosynthesis only occurs in the palisade layer except in a few weird flowers.

That photosynthesis only occurs in the palisade layer is true of the microbiologist's favorite pet plant, Arabidopsis, but is categorically untrue of the *vastest majority* of other plants, most of those which have been studied. In fact, most plants specifically *avoid* doing photosynthesis in the palisade layer; the palisade layer's *entire purpose* is as a sun-shield to protect the spongy mesophyll and control the light flow to individual chloroplasts, to avoid bleaching their chlorophyll and reduce the amount of energy that must be devoted to replenishing their supplies.

Urbanite specialists, who grew up able to choose to interact only with those who confirmed their beliefs, naturally in their professional lives continued this habit, self-segregating themselves in microbiology into cliques of self-reinforcing beliefs which assumed that their experiences were already universal despite being based on limited evidence; whereas the foresters, whose ranks naturally included members who grew up with rural socialization (the children of lumbermen are far more likely to want to study lumber than those who view lumber as scenery)... these people had a habit of not even attempting to provide a universal claim until the data collected could be more-reasonably be said to be universal.

Most damning of all, of course, is that the cliquey-ness of the microbiologist meant they undervalued the relevance not just of the published publicly-available forestry literature which would utterly destroy their own assumptions, but even of the segments of their own research which disproved their assumptions. Proof against their theories was right in front of them the whole time, but in their mind, their lack of natural tendency to look beyond their own opinion meant they might as well have been saying to the foresters "you're not one of us, what could you possibly have to teach us?"

Thus it is that it's only among the intersectionally-thinking rural-born, in places like Iowa State, that the biological sciences are being done properly right now: and I truly do thank God that I was born among them so I could see it.

"This doesn't prove much about the intelligence of the individual of course but I think it proves that cityfolks are generaly less lazy and try to use their brains full potential."

My experience is so far along towards the opposite of yours that I can only assume there must either be something radically different between your individual intelligence and mine, or something radically, radically different about the cultures of Sweden and America to have led us to such polar opposite conclusions.