The marginal principle says that the average human being, in almost every day, is interacting with others in the most efficient way possible. The same individual will have the same number of social interactions, the same number of acquaintances, the same number of friends, the same number of jobs, the same number of relationships, the same number of relationships of the same person, and so on. The average human being is an average person.
It would be nice if the marginal principle were true because if it were only true for adults, we’d have more jobs and more relationships, then we’d be more intelligent, then we’d be less lonely, and so on. Unfortunately, it’s not. Most of the people we know are not average.
The problem with the marginal principle is that it’s not always true. It’s not always true that the average human being is average. It’s not always true that all our friends are average. It’s not always true that the job we do is average. It’s not always true that we have one relationship with the same person.
I think most of the people I know are average to slightly above average. Most of the friends I have are average to above average. Most of the jobs I do are average to above average. Most of the relationships I have are average to above average.
To make things more complicated, we all have a variety of average to above average characteristics which don’t quite make us one average to above average person. In fact, the most common average to above average characteristics are really average to below average. Take for instance, the average height of people. Most people we know have a slight over-plus of average height. But there are people who are a little shorter than average and there are people who are a little taller than average.
So, even though people might look average it doesn’t mean they are. If you make something complex, like a game, it’s going to be harder to grasp, so people will have to work really hard at trying to do what you want them to do. In other words, it’s going to take more effort to play the game.
I think the best way to illustrate this is with a classic example, the humble manger. For most people, the manger is the most important part of the Christmas display. So people will work really hard to make it as big as possible. But if it’s a small one, people will be more limited in their ability to play the manger.
So, for most people, the most important thing in a Christmas display is the manger. But for some people, the most important thing in a Christmas display is not the manger but the manger’s head. So, this might be a marginal principle because for the most part, the manger’s head is not important.
The “marginal” principle is the most important principle of all. So, if the mangers head is not important, then that is the most important principle. If the mangers head is important, then the mangers head needs to be removed. Unfortunately, that is not what we see.
There’s a lot of gray area here. The mangers head is important, but not the mangers head. As a matter of fact, there are more than a few people who are worried about mangers heads in Christmas displays. But that is not what’s happening. The head of the mangers is being replaced by the mangers head, but the mangers head is being replaced by the manger.