Social Question

tups's avatar

How different are people really?

Asked by tups (6692 points ) July 2nd, 2012

Do you think people are more alike each other or more different from each other? We may appear different: different beliefs, opinions, looks, words, eyes etc.
Some people also say that deep down all people are the same (not the same person, that’s a whole other discussion).
What do you think? Are we really all that different? Or are we more alike each other than we think?

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25 Answers

Coloma's avatar

On a universal level we are all one, as we are one with every organism, all created “equal” in natures grand design. On a “personal” level we are vastly different in how our nature/nurture/cultural dichotomies show up.
Sooo…the usual double edged sword.

bkcunningham's avatar

We all came from the same creator. Yet, we are each vastly different. Ummmm that is my mantra for today, @Coloma. We are all one. We are all one. We are all one.

marinelife's avatar

We are more different than we appear and more alike than our fears like to think.

thorninmud's avatar

So very, very similar. We’re wired to zoom in on our subtle differences and make a big deal of them, but they’re quite superficial. Interesting, to be sure, but superficial.

jonsblond's avatar

I feel there are two types of people in this world. Nice, caring people and assholes. I prefer the nice ones.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I think, for the most part, that people are vastly different. On one level, we are the same: We all are made up of the same stuff, we need water, air, and food to survive… but apart from that we are incredibly different from each other.

Mr_Paradox's avatar

Just remember you’re unique….. just like everyone else.

tom_g's avatar

Sure, people might look somewhat different, might be different heights and weight, might have different taste in food and music, etc. But the entire spectrum of of heights, weight, taste in music and food, concepts of fun and humor, etc. is so small. We magnify it because that’s what we do. In extreme cases, we dehumanize each other for living our lives in the other end of the spectrum. But these are superficial differences by and large.

Nullo's avatar

Pretty standard hardware, but the software has its variations.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Individual differences both genetically determined and those mainly the product of experience are great. This means that we differ both in hardware and software to a greater extent than most people know.

Blackberry's avatar

We’re the same, and only different due to culture, essentially.

Sunny2's avatar

We’re all alike just like cookies or biscuits are; all here for the same purpose: assisting each other to live and prosper.

YARNLADY's avatar

@jonsblond That reminds me of a joke I read: There are 10 kinds of people in the world; those who know binary and those who don’t.

In my studies, if all the people in the world were put on a scale, most of them would fall in the middle (similar to each other) of the scale, and a few would fall at either end, caring vs not caring or any other trait you would measure.

wallabies's avatar

Fundamentally people are all the same. @YARNLADY lol

Blondesjon's avatar

People aren’t different at all. Our common biology is the no different from one person to the next and we all share the same genus. This is, of course, not only why we are all the same but also why none of us are special.

sorry folks. our mothers lied to us.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Not very. It’s like @thorninmud said: we’re built to focus on the differences, but they are rather minor when you look at the bigger picture.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I wonder how many of those who have extensively studied the dimensions of human behaviour conclude that we are all pretty much the same?

I suspect that view is rare among students of human behaviour, even if there are radical behaviourists.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence In fact, a statement to the effect of “you are not all unique snowflakes” is how my first sociology professor opened her class. I went on to minor in social science with an emphasis on sociology, and that is what led me to the conclusion expressed above. Now, you may not wish to call my minor “extensive studying,” but surely my professor—who holds a PhD in sociology and a PhD in psychology—fits your criterion.

And if it helps, I had an anthropology professor who expressed the same basic views.

Adagio's avatar

A human being is like all other human beings; like some human beings; like no other human being. Anonymous

mattbrowne's avatar

Genetically speaking, not much.

thorninmud's avatar

Discrimination is a mindset. It can be turned on and off, and tuned to varying degrees of sensitivity to serve different ends. For many years of my life, I trained my powers of discrimination to distinguish subtle variations in dark chocolate, because that was crucial to my work. I’m not talking about coarse-grained differences like sweetness levels, but much finer nuances that only careful attention can pick up.

So in my chocolate world, my discriminating faculties were tuned to seek, amplify and exploit differences. When I thought about chocolates, it was those differences that came to mind. But I could turn that off, too. I could zoom back out, so to speak, from that micro-discrimination perspective and see that these differences were overlaid on an enormous body of commonality. I could look at these chocolates as, first and foremost, chocolate. From that perspective, it was apparent that 99% of the brute experience of chocolate was virtually the same among all of these.

I can understand how, as @Dr_Lawrence says, professionals who’s work involves looking at people on the level of fine-grained discrimination will tend to see the difference aspect in high relief. But I also think that it’s extremely important to be able to back away from that discriminating mindset at times and prioritize our vast commonality.

Mariah's avatar

I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.

Blondesjon's avatar

sounds like @Mariah is sitting on a cornflake, waiting for the van to come

bkcunningham's avatar

I’m crying.

augustlan's avatar

We are much more alike than different. People are people, all over the world.

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