Louis CK, the scientist

So I’m doing some reading on the concept of context collapse and social media the other day for my work at Fulfilled. ¬†And I hit this quote:

Social psychologists argue that we come to know ourselves by seeing what we do and how others react to us, and that through interaction, actors seek to maintain the identity meanings associated with each role.

This kind of stopped me in my tracks because it reminded me of this Louis CK clip:

The most relevant segment starts at the 1:25 mark. From Conan’s helpful transcript, when talking about kids and their mobile phones:

Louis C.K.: You know, I think these things are toxic, especially for kids. It’s this thing. It’s bad. They don’t look at people when they talk to them. They don’t build the empathy. Kids are mean and it’s because they’re trying it out. They look at a kid and they go, you’re fat. Then they see the kid’s face scrunch up and say ooh, that doesn’t feel good. But when they write they’re fat, they go, hmm, that was fun.

CONAN: That tasted good.

Louis C.K.: The thing is you need build an ability to just be yourself and not be doing something that’s what the phones are taking

The parallel between Louis CK talking about kids “trying it out” and the social psychologists talking about how we “come to know ourselves by seeing what we do and how others react to us” seemed like too much of a coincidence.

Either Louis CK is pretty well read on social psychology or he simply stumbled into this particular grain of truth when telling his jokes (like most good comedy). Given the forethought and planning that the best comedians put into their routines, I like to think it is the former.

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