Believing Is Not Seeing

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.

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21 Comments

Filed under Blue Pill, Red Pill, Sin, Temptation

21 responses to “Believing Is Not Seeing

  1. You did make a lot of missteps. Don’t beat yourself up too much because some of the conclusions you reached were perfectly reasonable in the real world. But some of them were complete projections based on a poisoned red pill bias. I’ll get to those in a minute.

    The problem was that this wasn’t just red pill conjecture (which itself is often severely flawed when taken to extremes), but real people whose images were shared and that makes a huge difference. The fact that Mrs. George publicized it is problematic (would that we could undo some things we post), but it was uncharitable to assume the worst of her and the best of George.

    That brings me to the biases that somehow kept you from even considering that George may have had a few women of his own along their journey to each other. It was taken as a given that George had been waiting and pining for this woman even though that flies in the face of you guys’ own theories. This woman was still young, cute, and vibrant when she got together with George so he wasn’t some pre-wall of post-wall life raft for her. Why assume he’d been waiting for her? I assumed just the opposite. I admit I have a bias of my own there based on experience.

    Given your purported strong position on chastity for both men and women, the fact that you were ready to call her a carousel rider with no proof while assuming his chaste patience with no proof -even though he didn’t look to me like a man who’d been chastely waiting- spoke to your knee jerk tendency yo be uncharitable toward the woman.

    Given that these were real people, you should have been more balanced.

  2. DJ

    A man is never bigger or stronger then when he admits his mistakes ,apologizes for them ,and learns from them. It’s makes a person so admirable and it never fails to make them more worthy of respect.
    It’s not easy but the best things never are.

  3. E:

    Don’t hurt yourself coming down off that high horse.

  4. I won’t. Thanks for caring, deti. Means a lot.

  5. Donal:

    I completely disagree with your partial retraction of the George series of posts. I do so because the conclusions drawn and the projections made are reasonable in light of experience and Red Pill theory, which continues to be proven in real time real world experience. It’s also completely reasonable in light of what Mrs. George wrote about herself, about George, and about their relationship over the years.

    First: The weight thing. The hue and cry (and frankly, the bitching and moaning) about this from the women has been hilarious, really. No one said she was a cow in the first picture. NO one called her fat or obese. They said she was a bit heavier in the first photo vis a vis the second, because SHE WAS. They said she had lost some weight in the second picture, because SHE HAD. It was obvious and clear from the photos. It was a simple observation that she had lost some weight.

    There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with observing that a woman had lost some weight and become more attractive in doing so. The women’s mischaracterization of what the men were actually saying about this was quite ridiculous, really, as well as was the ladies’ overreaction to the commentary.

    Second: The girl’s mom’s remarriage and speculation that she was a child of divorce, which doesn’t bode well for the girl’s romantic/sexual prospects. It was PERFECTLY reasonable to speculate the girl’s mom was divorced. We do not know that but we can draw a conclusion statistically that that is correct. Most women aged 45 and up who are unmarried and who have children, are divorced. That is simply a fact, folks. A few are widowed, yes. But most are divorced. It is not unreasonable to draw that conclusion from what the girl has told us about mom’s remarriage.

    Third: Speculation that the girl “rode the carousel somewhat”. There is nothing wrong with this speculation or projection either. Hell, we can conclude this from WHAT THE GIRL HERSELF WROTE ABOUT HERSELF. Let’s take a look at it:

    “George was always there for me after every bad relationship ended to help me pick up the pieces.”

    Come on, people. We don’t have to put blinders on simply because we don’t have all the puzzle pieces. We all know that today, women speak of their pasts in euphemistic terms to give themselves the most charitable and favorable appearances. “Bad relationship” means “sexual coupling that didn’t work out, morph into a relationship, or continue as a relationship”.

    Most women who are this woman’s age (between 24 and 28) have had sex with at least one partner in their pasts. Virtually ALL women of her attractiveness level have had sex with at least one partner. Most Christian women who have made it to age 24 have had sex at least once. The national reported average is three premarital partners, which we can safely double to 6. It is entirely reasonable to presume this woman is not a virgin when she gets to George. It is entirely reasonable to put the reported average on her, which is 3, and that is understating it.

    She’s not talking about just “one” “relationship” either. She’s talking about “every bad relationship”. She’s not even talking about the “good” “relationships”. That means there’s a history there. She’s talking about it in the most oblique terms because that makes her look good.

    Fourth: The publication of photos and the story. There’s an apparent complaint here that the photos should not have been used, or that conclusions were drawn from the photos, or that the story is being overanalyzed. Bluntly, I don’t give a sh*t about those complaints one bit. It was ALL put on social media. The photos and the story were ALL put out on social media for public consumption. As such they are 100% fair game for anyone, including men, to comment on. That also includes men applying social dynamics and gender dynamics to what the people involved said about themselves publicly and what they chose to reveal about themselves publicly. So I am not going to hear whining and wailing about men on this board or anywhere else commenting about public information.

  6. Fifth: The conclusion that George was a beta orbiter. This is an entirely reasonable conclusion. Again, let’s go to the story and the photos. In the first photo we see a quite underconfident, unattractive man. Here’s what she says about George:

    “I was best friends with George for 10 years before we started dating. We met in High School and developed a really special friendship over the years. I always felt more comfortable telling George something than anyone else I knew. He became my most trusted companion and we hung out all the time. People who didn’t know us always thought we were dating. When we went our separate ways for college, we didn’t talk as much anymore but our friendship remained just as strong. George was always there for me after every bad relationship ended to help me pick up the pieces.”

    Did you catch that? George was a first ball, fastball, garden variety, ordinary everyday beta orbiter/emotional tampon. He’s her “best friend”. They “hung out all the time”. He was there to help her pick up the pieces after “every bad relationship” (that’s more than one, otherwise she would have referred to a singular “bad relationship”). If he’s there to help her “pick up the pieces”, that’s her crying on his shoulder. That’s textbook emotional tampon. That’s him allowing her to use him.

    A man does not hang around a girl with her level of attractiveness and be her “friend” for years without his being sexually attracted to her. He was sexually attracted to her, and that’s why he was her ‘friend’. that’s why he was her “most trusted companion” and “helped her pick up the pieces” after “EVERY bad ‘relationship’.” She made it very clear that even though others THOUGHT they were dating then, they most definitely were not. He was “just a friend” to her, and he hung around her wanting something more. He didn’t get it until years later.

    I am not saying that her using him as a tampon and orbiter to cast aspersions. Most women really do want these men as “friends”. Most women aren’t even aware they’re doing this. Subconsciously they know that these men are sexually attracted to them, and they use this knowledge to keep those men around. It’s not malice. It’s her using what she has to get what she wants and needs. It’s a sexual strategy, and women do this all the time.

    Sixth: George’s history. The men assumed he was pining around and waiting for her. The men assumed he had no sexual history and just waited for her to finally come around. It was also presumed (quite correctly, I think) that George has increased outer attractiveness but remains inwardly underconfident.

    Sure, he might have had some relationships and some women in between his orbiting this woman and his relationship with her. But a man going back to a woman who clearly used him as an emotional tampon in their past is a very clear indicator of a man who lacks inner confidence. It does not indicate a man who is confident that if things don’t work out with this girl, he can attract and date others. It does not indicate a man who is confident in his own abilities. It indicates a man who is willing to give this one girl everything he has, even though he had wanted that from her in the past and didn’t get it until years later.

    There was absolutely NOTHING wrong with drawing ANY of these conclusions.

    But let’s say we are wrong. Let’s say that Elspeth is right. Let’s say she was the damsel in distress daughter of a widow. Let’s indulge the fantasy that she is a pristine white-as-snow virgin who just couldn’t make things work to get a man to love her for her, without her ever having sex with any of her “bad relationships” (which were so bad that she needed help “picking up the pieces”). Let’s say she never ever used George, and they really were friends. Let’s indulge the fantasy that he never ever was sexually attracted to her and was completely altruistic in his friendship for her. Let’s also say he changed from dorky high school senior to sexual Lothario/Casanova, and has left a trail of broken hearts in his wake.

    Yeah. Now that all the laws of physics have been broken, what do we have? A fantasy, that’s what. Because the odds of all those things happening, or even some of them, are so low as to be ridiculous. If any man were a bettin’ man, would you gamble on any of the propositions in the prior paragraph? I sure as hell wouldn’t.

    Me? I’ll stick with my lying eyes on this one. I’ll stick with what I can draw from the photos (which don’t lie) and the story (which was written by the girl about herself and her relationship with him. It was not made up, it was not conjecture, and it was not speculation).

    I don’t agree that the posts should have been walked back. They were spot on, and they are illustrative once again of what is played out millions of times all across this nation. No man should go back and take a flyer on a girl he used to orbit. And it’s not unreasonable to draw that conclusion, and to say so.

  7. The complaints and pushback about this post all sum up into one overarching point, which is

    “You can’t generalize. People and relationships are so infinitely complex, and every relationship is different. The things we know about male sexual nature and female sexual nature have no predictive power. You can’t ever really know anything about people, either, nor about relationships, because it’s all so complex and interdependent. We’re all speshul snowflakes!!”

    Well, BS.

    Yes, I can generalize. I can draw conclusions about people, situations and sexual relationships based on what is GENERALLY known. Things become generalizations because they are GENERALLY true. And if they aren’t generally true, then no man should take a chance or take a flyer on the longshot hope that this ONE girl, this ONE situation, this ONE relationship will buck the trends and lie outside the generalizations.

    People generalize all the time. We have to do it or we could never get through life. We judge, we conclude, we generalize, ALL THE TIME.

    Let’s get over our fears of generalizations, people.

  8. Let’s say that Elspeth is right. Let’s say she was the damsel in distress daughter of a widow. Let’s indulge the fantasy that she is a pristine white-as-snow virgin who just couldn’t make things work to get a man to love her for her, without her ever having sex with any of her “bad relationships” (which were so bad that she needed help “picking up the pieces”).

    I didn’t say any of that. In fact I specifically said that many of the conclusions Donal drew were reasonable in the real world. One of those being that the young woman probably did have sex with another man in the interim. So already, you make up things and falsely attribute them to me.

    I just don’t happen to think that George was unattractive in the first photo. Not even a little bit. Just young and lacking confidence like many teenagers. But he was a cute guy even then, and whether or not he harbored feelings for her all that time, I have hard time believing he was spending all his weekends alone for years on end. He just doesn’t look like he needed to do that so what young man would if he didn’t have to?

    I’m going to close by saying as the mother of three early-20-something virgin daughters, my thoughts were most certainly biased towards being able to see other perspectives Because of my experience with my husband, I am biased towards being able to see other perspectives.

    The difference between you and me? I can see and acknowledge that my biases exist.

    Good day, Deti.

  9. And, yes, the things we know about male sexual nature and female sexual nature DO have predictive power. Yes they do. We know that when Christian women come onto blogs and talk about their initial sexual attraction and enduring sexual attraction to their husbands, meaning that one’s status as a Christian in no way alleviates the necessity of sexual attraction in a sexual relationship.

    We know that when men fail to sustain sexual attraction, their relationships and marriages fail. We know that men’s failure to be sexually attractive has injured and destroyed many a relationship and marriage. We know that women’s increasing need for sexual attraction has also injured and destroyed many a relationship and marriage. We know that women’s need for sexual attraction increases with each sexual partner. We know that the risks of divorce increase by 50% if a woman has had just ONE sexual partner pre-marriage.

    Yes, they do have predictive power. Yes, we can generalize.

  10. Pardon me, Elspeth.

    I didn’t intend to attribute to you EVERY one of the assertions in the paragraph you posted. But every one of them has been asserted, expressly or impliedly, by some in the comments on these threads.

    SEcond: I don’t see anywhere in these threads where you’ve acknowledged the possibility that the girl might have had a sexual past. I have studied pretty carefully your responses, and I don’t see it. If you can point me to a link where you said the girl had or might have had a sexual history, I’ll review and retract.

    Third: OK, you don’t think first-photo George is unattractive. I disagree. First George is decidedly LESS conventionally physically attractive than second George. By leaps and bounds. Second George is older and more mature, more stylish and with better taste in clothes. First George is also described in the story as a textbook beta orbiter.

    If he had girlfriends, what is he doing hanging around her “helping her pick up the pieces” after “every bad relationship”? And what is he doing being a best friend to her after they go off to college (presumably separately)?

    Your conclusions are simply not reasonable, based on the known facts. You’re the one speculating here.

    Do I have biases? Sure I do. The fact that I wrote what I know doesn’t mean I’m blind to them. And I’m not going to ignore what’s right in front of me just because I might have some biases.

  11. In fact, E, you specifically took Donal to task for saying the girl might have been a carousel rider. That in turn implies your position is that it’s wrong to presume she had been on the carousel or even that she’d had any sex partners. Here’s what you wrote upthread:

    “Given your purported strong position on chastity for both men and women, the fact that you were ready to call her a carousel rider with no proof while assuming his chaste patience with no proof -even though he didn’t look to me like a man who’d been chastely waiting- spoke to your knee jerk tendency to be uncharitable toward the woman.”

    You took him to task for that, which appears to imply she wasn’t a carousel rider, and might not even have had sex. So again – if you can point me to a link where you acknowledged this girl might have had a sexual past, I’ll gladly review and retract. Until then, my position stands.

  12. I didn’t assume anything about her sexual past, because I don’t know it. Just like you don’t know it and Donal doesn’t know it. Is it reasonable to assume she wasn’t a virgin? It certainly may be, given the climate and attitudes towards sex in our current culture.

    But to call someone a “carousel rider” with no proof that this is the case was wrong. And it’s wrong no matter how you slice it. Besides my own girls, I actually know a couple of other relatively attractive young Christian women who have held out and had broken relationships as a result. It still hurts even if there was no sex involved.Probably even more because of the reasonable expectation that the young Christian man was on the same page.

    So again…without proof, one should tread lightly when making assumptions.

  13. E:

    you’re correct. I don’t know that she was a “carousel rider”. I can draw a conclusion that she has had sex with more than one man, though. I can draw that conclusion from her “every bad relationship” line, her physical appearance, and the state of the sexual marketplace. She MIGHT be a carousel rider. I can safely presume, thought that she is NOT a virgin, based on the same facts. So it all depends on what we call “riding the carousel”. Sex with 2 men isn’t carousel riding. Sex with 5 or 6 men probably is. Sex with 10 definitely is.

    I might be wrong. If I were in George’s shoes, though, I wouldn’t take a flyer on her. I don’t have to be 100% correct 100% of the time about 100% of what I’m presented with to get it right most of the time, though. And a man knowing what little he knows about this woman and George can easily conclude she’s had sex with more than one man. She MIGHT be a carousel rider. It’s enough of a red flag to make a confident man quite skeptical of entering into a relationship with her.

  14. Novaseeker

    I agree with deti, mostly, on this one. I did not think a retraction was necessary, and I thought the conclusions drawn, which we all know are speculative to begin with, were more than fair given what was freely disclosed in the public domain by that young woman. I do not think they were “poisoned”. Of course they were biased, because all projections are biased. The bottom line for me, however, is that based on what she did actually write and describe things happening, he is basically her bitch, and her puppy slave. That is based on what she wrote, much more than the photos. And it’s a totally reasonable conclusion, regardless of both of their actual relationship histories in the time that elapsed between the two photos.

  15. Lost Patrol

    I didn’t really view it as a retraction (though reading again I guess it was), but rather a good show of being able to argue the same case from another point of view. Not many people can do that well, or at all.

    Of course, not many people can lay down a blitzkrieg of logic like deti did here either.

    As the self appointed spokesman for the peanut gallery, I’d like to say we love all this stuff.

  16. Don’t beat yourself up too much because some of the conclusions you reached were perfectly reasonable in the real world.

    Oh, I won’t. I have my readers for that, don’t I?

  17. It wasn’t my intent to beat up on you.

    However you did ask for honest feedback, and since no real veracity was given to the idea that George may have had some unchaste relationships of his own behind him (something I saw as a strong possibility), I thought I’d point out the level of bias that had to be present to ignore that.

  18. I want to redirect this a bit towards something useful because we have to make assumptions to function in the world and we have to act and speak according to those assumptions until we have other facts. We call these “educated guesses”. Anyone who is against educated assumptions is being foolish and hypocritical.

    This series did go off the rails a bit because

    1) The assumptions began to solidify into facts about things which were not actually unknown; which makes those facts false. This was more an error of enthusiasm and sloppiness rather than of assumptions. The assumptions were pretty solid, but the phrasing of them should remain indicative of assumptions.

    2) Underneath all the comments written by women was the fear that the men were talking about them, or those near them. Part of this is because of the nature of female vision (nearsighted), and part of it is because women are sinful (just like men) but especially towards vanity.

  19. @ Elspeth

    It wasn’t my intent to beat up on you.

    I wasn’t complaining. Iron sharpens iron, and all that. My point being that my readers can do all the beating necessary when the mistakes roll out.

    One thing to clarify- I did not think the best of George. There are/were a couple of different ways of looking at him in a bad light. One way is to assume him to be a sap; that’s what I did. Assuming him to be a cad is another. All put him in a bad light, just in different ways.

    @ Cane

    The assumptions began to solidify into facts about things which were not actually unknown; which makes those facts false. This was more an error of enthusiasm and sloppiness rather than of assumptions. The assumptions were pretty solid, but the phrasing of them should remain indicative of assumptions.

    This.

  20. “Iron sharpens iron, and all that.”

    All due respect to E; it’s not a good idea to look to women to supply the iron for sharpening. Only men tend to bring iron.

  21. Hank Flanders

    I guess my assumption was that regardless of these particular individuals’ actual sexual and relational histories, most people in our society would still find their story adorable, because George represents a real guy who “managed to break out of the friend zone” like multiple characters in works of fiction. It didn’t matter to viewers that Pam on The Office, Rachel on Friends, Penny on The Big Bang Theory, (to some extent) Robin on How I Met Your Mother, Daphne on Frasier, etc had had sex and relationships with other men. The audiences just wanted our fun-loving, lead characters who had the the unrequited love for those other characters to win.

    George embodies a real life guy who managed to do that, and it doesn’t matter to readers what the girl had done in the interim. Also, unfortunately, it doesn’t matter to people what the man’s sexual history is either, except that virginity / chastity in a man is viewed as a flaw after a certain age. I’ve actually even started considering trying to get rid of mine just for the sake of it, because when you’re over 30 and definitely over 35, people, including Christians, think there’s something wrong with you if you have no sexual history that late in life as a man. Maybe there is.

    Anyway, isn’t the real problem with George and that lady’s story related to our society being so non-chalant about sex and the giving away of oneself to someone other than his or her spouse, that it wouldn’t matter one bit to most people (and would even be expected) if George and George’s now girlfriend / wife had had sex with other people prior to finally getting together? People would still find the story cute, adorable, and enviable, right?

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