Social Real Estate

Builds Upon: Legitimacy: The Most Precious Resource

Let’s say we have two identical rooms of equal size.  To an empiricist it makes no difference whether we choose one or the other.

Now let’s apply some labels.

ROOM1=BATHROOM

ROOM2=OFFICE

Since the two rooms are materially the same in every respect an empiricist could continue to argue that it makes no logical material difference whether one defecates in one room or the other.  Such is a major shortcoming of a purely material world view.

Society is far more real to human beings than are the realities of matter.  Social rules exert far more influence on human lives than do mere physical limitations.

As a kid I loved geography and especially historical atlases.

As an adult I’ve wondered what a map of any given building would look like if it was a map of social zones(bathrooms, smoking rooms, boxing rings) and social territories(John’s cubicle, Jill’s room).

In my mind’s eye I see something like a typical map of a post-Westphalia Holy Roman Empire.

The way territories would work out on an actual social map would be impractical for an empire, but it works out all right for individuals precisely because of the largely immaterial nature of social circumstances.

Lets say someone has a 12×12 room all to themselves.  This social real estate gives them the rare, priceless gifts of privacy and autonomy.

If we reason like a pure empiricist, we might logically conclude a 15×15 room would provide a 25% increase in privacy and autonomy.

However, if one possesses a certain minimum amount of space, physical considerations diminish in importance.  The important thing about a piece of social real estate is the social or asocial circumstances in which one occupies it.

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