The Myth Of The Ant Queen Analysis

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Character and identity are usually thought of as unified and all-encompassing, however, Malcolm Gladwell and Steven Johnson try to express character and identity as something different. Malcolm Gladwell wrote an essay called "The Power of Context" that argues that character is based on circumstance and context. Whereas Steven Johnson wrote the essay "The Myth of the Ant Queen" which argues that big systems can self-organize itself and not need a leader. These two essays have two significantly different topics, but when joined together, they make one conclusion: character and identity can be described as self-organizing systems. Steven Johnson began his essay on the experiment that was conducted by Deborah Gordon. She was managing an experiment…show more content…
He described how one's character changes depending on the context of the situation one is in. He used Phycologist Walter Mischel's theory of the reducing valve to support him. He states that people have a reducing valve in their minds. The reducing valve "creates and maintains the perception of continuity even in the face of perpetual observed changes in actual behavior (159)." Mischel gives the example of a woman who is independent and hostile but can also be dependent and feminine. Therefore, the reducing valve in our minds makes us choose between the two different types of characteristics of the woman and makes excuses for why the other characteristics surface sometimes. Mischel argues that she can be all the characteristics at the same time and that it depends on who she is with, when, how, and so one which characteristic of hers comes out (160). For this reason, this supports Gladwell in saying that a person's characteristics depend on circumstance and context. The woman was able to have multiple characteristics in which many of them contradict each other. Which of the characteristics she was was dependent on the
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