Familiarity and its offspring – part 2


Familiar breeds

The adage, familiarity breeds contempt, is generally used to mean that once you get to know someone well, you begin to find things about the person that you dislike, which leads to fault-finding, and the next thing you know, you are on the exit ramp to contempt. It is a very short trip sometimes. I have nothing to rant about that.

Yesterday, I ranted about the increasing sense of informality in post-modern life that leads to contempt for the courtesy and respect we need to keep society civilized. In a culture’s curriculum, Manners 101 is the class where you learn to keep your hands in your lap, instead of around someone’s neck. It should be a prerequisite for Intro to Society.

But that’s not what I want to talk about today. The decline into barbarity is growing, not only because familiarity breeds contempt, but (and I hope you are sitting for this insight) because familiarity breeds.

That’s where all those babies are coming from, people: familiarity. It means “undue intimacy.” Look it up. And undue means “excessive.” According to U.N. estimates, we have 7 billion people on this planet, and as we speak, a lot of them are getting familiar.

If you enjoy that kind of excess, you can watch familiarity breed in real-time here.

For those of you who are mathematically inclined (I’ll give you a moment to straighten up), you will both enjoy and understand the following formula that explains the population growth:





▪   N is current population

▪   T is the current year

▪   C = (1.86±0.01)•1011

▪   T0 = 2007±1

‪τ = 42±1

This, of course, can be simplified thus:

F = BB


  • F is familiarity
  • BB is billions of babies

Are you as concerned as I am? You should be. Finding a parking spot is going to get a lot harder, and there are going to be a lot more people who don’t know what to do with their hands.

(NOTE: This neck-breaking news would not be possible without Wikipedia, which posted that first formula by Russian physicist Sergei Kapista, which spellcheck first insisted should be Quipster, and then insisted that quipster should be hipster. He sounds very cool. The simplified formula came from me, in case you were wondering.)