Individuals versus aggregrates

5 08 2014

“Winwood Reade is good upon the subject,” said Holmes. “He remarks that, while the individual man is an insoluble puzzle, in the aggregate he becomes a mathematical certainty. You can, for example, never foretell what any one man will do, but you can say with precision what an average number will be up to. Individuals vary, but percentages remain constant. So says the statistician.”

The Sign of Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (hat-tip MP)

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2 responses

5 08 2014
@ivaalsg

Supplementing your quote with one from “i, six nonlectures” by E.E. Cummings:

“Little by little and bruise by teacup, my doubly disillusioned spirit made an awesome discovery…that all groups, gangs, and collectives — no matter how apparently disparate — are fundamentally alike; and that what makes the world go ’round is not the trivial differences between them but the immeasurable difference between any of them and individuality.”

5 08 2014
Andy

Lovely :) – thanks!

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