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Years ago I started thinking about the nature of association- that is, how humans will associate feelings and ideas with things in the outside world.

These "things" can be anything from a song making someone feel a certain way, to not being able to eat a certain food years after throwing it up while getting over the flu, to stereotypes about different cultures, to internalised ideas about one's self.

It may seem kind of obvious, but a lot of the time (as individuals, and as various societies) I think we may not realise how much the previous associations influence our reactions in the present.

I believe this is the reason some absurd ideas/practices/habits/trends continue is that people are still equating one thing with another when there really isn't any good reason to do so.