Friday, November 09, 2007

Are We Afraid of Uncertainty?

Serendipity rules.

In reference to what kind of fantastic literature I like below, fantasist Mark Chadbourn pointed out this 'uncertainty avoidance index' which... well, here's the money quote:

In Cultures and Organisations: Software of the Mind, Geert Hofstede says, “Marieke de Mooij has pointed out that cultural values can be recognized in both the subjects and style of literary fiction produced in a country. As examples of world literature from high-UAI (Uncertainty Avoidance Index) countries, she mentions Franz Kafka’s The Castle from Czechia and Goethe’s Faust from Germany. In the former the main character is haunted by impersonal rules; in the latter the hero sells his soul for knowledge of Truth. Low-UAI Britain has produced literature in which the most unreal things happen: Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.”

Later in the book he suggests that countries which have low uncertainty avoidance are more likely to have “literature dealing with fantasy worlds” and those with high uncertainty avoidance are more likely to have “literature dealing with rules and truth”.

The index is here. Interesting to see that the Philippines is rated a 44, which is not so high (near to the United States' 46 actually)-- but then again, a bit too near to Germany's high 65 given our cultural and historical background. And Singapore has an 8!

So what does that tell/ mean about us, hmmm? Hell, does that also serve as an indicator on my current apathy to elves and dragons and what-not?

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