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Understanding (or not) engineers. - Adventures in Engineering — LiveJournal
The wanderings of a modern ronin.

Ben Cantrick
  Date: 2006-03-16 19:45
  Subject:   Understanding (or not) engineers.
It's totally unfair to suggest - as many have - that engineers are socially inept. Engineers simply have different objectives when it comes to social interaction.

"Normal" people expect to accomplish several unrealistic things from social interaction:

  • Stimulating and thought-provoking conversation
  • Important social contacts
  • A feeling of connectedness with other humans

These goals are irrational and stupid. Experience shows that most conversations degenerate into discussions about parking spaces, weather patterns, elapsed time since you last exercised, and - God forbid - "feelings." Those topics hardly qualify as stimulating and thought-provoking. Nor are they useful. Engineers realize that making personal contacts is not valuable in their occupation. For them it's not "who you know" that matters, it's "who knows less than you do" that counts. Nor is there much tangible value in feeling "connected" with other humans. That stuff is best left to the poets and the multilevel marketing organization. To an engineer, most "normal" people are intellectually indistinguishable from Mexican jumping beans with faces. Feeling "connected" with carbon-based dolts holds all the joy of being handcuffed to a dead zebra - it sounds special, but it can get old fast.

In contrast to "normal" people, engineers have rational objectives for social interactions:

  • Get it over with as soon as possible.
  • Avoid getting invited to something unpleasant.
  • Demonstrate mental superiority and mastery of all subjects.

These are sensible goals and ones that can produce great joy. Tho social skill of an engineer must be evaluated on the basis of these rational objectives, not on the basis of bizarre and nonsensical societal standards. Viewed in this light, I think you'll agree that engineers are very effective in their social interactions. It's the "normal" people who are nuts.


From "The Dilbert Principle" by Scott Adams

See also: Triumph the Comic Insult Dog vs. The Star Wars Nerds. (Guy: "I-AM-A-STORM-TROOPER!" Triumph: "YOU-ARE-A-HUGE-NERD!")
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  User: tiger0range
  Date: 2006-03-17 21:06 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
>A feeling of connectedness with other humans

Actually, for most normal humans, it begins and ends there. It's a stroking behavior. We can't pull lice out of their hair or rub ourselves on each other anymore, so we need vocal stroking. It's the reason for all the inane chatter.

Go look at a parent raising a baby. "blah blah blah gooo gooo" and so on and on and on...

Talking isn't communicating. Social interaction deals with very little actual communication. Most communication can be done within seconds (barring miscommunication).

>Demonstrate mental superiority and mastery of all subjects.

I think this is the main reason nerds hate social interaction. They have a more acute sense of embarrasment. You could call it low self esteem (but that just means so many idiotic things now that it's become a pop tv phrase) or a sense of needing to be of substance to matter, but we all know of conversations where we had the tongue of a retarded bulldog on the first go, and the wit of Voltaire on the rehash.
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May 2015