Emile Durkheim – the father of modern social science – points out that many of our most deeply held feelings about how the world is are mere ‘ideology’ rather than fact: we see what we expect to see.
Many cognitive and behavioral scientists are now coming to the conclusion that our species’ extraordinary evolutionary success is largely driven by our ability to think socially, to learn socially and to embed that thinking and learning in culture so that others we have never met can also take advantage of it. The most important aspect of ‘we-think’ is social learning – the amazing way we learn skills, ideas and technologies from those around us and embed that learning in culture so that it doesn’t die.
Roughly 1/3 of human conversation content is about things (or the weather, etc.) and the remaining 2/3 is about people, of which half (so fully 1/3 of all conversations) is primarily about people who aren’t even present.
It’s always better to observe others rather than gather information through innovations.