Human beings make assumptions all the time. We do it every day, often without realizing it. Sometimes those assumptions are minor, and sometimes they are significant.
Many times assumptions can be very helpful in our daily life. On occasion they can even save our life.
The problem comes when we let this behavior get out of hand. This can happen a number of way. One possibility is if we always assume the best of people, or we always assume the worst of people. Another is where we make an initial assumption, and it isn’t necessary. Not everything is life or death, and not everything demands we fill in gaps with probabilities or statistical likelihoods. This can be compounded further when we fail to follow up and clear up assumptions by doing some actual investigating. Acting in haste can also make it even worse.
That is what I let happen in my post The Way We Met. I started with something simple- the notion that George became more attractive, and that is why the woman had changed her perception of him. But I didn’t stop there. I started to make more and more assumptions. And then let those play out, such that I started to feel sympathy for George.
And then I acted in haste. Rather than lay out what the different possibilities were- ranging from George being taken advantage of by an unscrupulous woman, to him being blinded by an old crush and missing the red flags, to him making a reasoned decision that she would be a good choice for him, to him taking advantage of her– I simply went with what was most likely. [That last bit didn’t even occur to me until this post. I would call it unlikely, but I never considered it before now- a significant error.] I expressed sympathy without any real thought of whether it was deserved (or was even directed towards the right person).
Fortunately some of my readers pointed out where I had gone wrong, both in the comments and via other channels. That gave me a chance to realize where I had gone astray. And a chance to try and correct myself. I want to thank them for that.
Now, I still think I was close to the mark in my estimation of the situation (and I must say that I disagree with some of my readers about their estimations). But my analysis was incomplete, and therefore, fundamentally flawed. Flawed on a moral level (I included photos, after all), but also on an analytical level- there was a lot of valuable insight to be made by fully examining the situation. Hopefully my next post (coming soon) will benefit from that.
I am only human. That means I will make mistakes. And I will err. I would like to think that my ego is not so large that I cannot accept it when someone points out that I am wrong. So if you, my readers, feel that I am way off, let me know. Post a comment, or contact me via e-mail and let me know. We may end up still disagreeing, but I won’t brush off a respectful pointer to where I might have gone astray.