Last week I binge watched a documentary series that started with a group of kids in England, and caught up with them every seven years (from 1963 when they were seven years old to 2012 when they were 56). My fascination, and curiosity, grew as I continued to watch.
I couldn’t stop till I was done watching the last documentary.
This obsession doesn’t stop with documentaries. I did it before with reality TV (eons ago), and at one point with Facebook and Twitter—always driven by the desire to know what others were up to.
Why are we so curious about how others live? Why do we want to know more, not just about friends and family, but also about other people in general?
I don’t have a definitive answer. But my guess is:
Looking at other people’s lives gives us a metric by which we can measure our own quality—and sadly meaning—of life.
Are we doing better, or worse, than others? Does our life mean something? Are we living the best life possible for us? All of these questions, and more, boil down to one thing: validation.
And this is what I found myself doing as I watched the kids grow over the years. I kept asking myself: If I were a participant, how would I have fared?