Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Epilogue: Elderly Man Arrested

I had a purpose in inventing yesterday’s story about Mr. Stanley being arrested for driving like a young man.

What makes this story funny is that it takes us to the edge of what happens when we become so attached to our assumptions that they impede our common sense.

This happens to me, and I bet it happens to you as well.

We enter each new day with a dump truck full of assumptions. In this specific case drivers are assuming that Mr. Stanley should be driving in a manner they identify with an elderly driver. The fact that he is driving quite well is beside the point because he has violated their assumptions.

The story is comical in composition, but it also sheds light on what happens when we apply our assumptions to perfectly innocent people or situations in our lives. Our assumptions very often impede our progress toward a more enlightened understanding.

What are your assumptions?

I assume I can’t sing. Actually my mother told me that I wasn’t very good at it, so I simply quit singing when I was very small. Who really knows? The adult in me doesn’t know; though apparently the child does. Come to think of it, my mother doesn’t sing and has no musical training at all. I guess she assumed she couldn't sing and stretched her assumption to cover me as well.

Assumptions are dangerous and can lead us into a diminished thoughtfulness. It is a diminishment that is based on ‘ending our search’, as in I already know how things are, or at least the way they are supposed to be, so I will search no longer.

We assume our family and friends know what we are thinking. We get hurt when they don’t actually know. It never occurs to most of us that this is a ridiculous assumption.

If we are sad, we assume there is a valid reason, shrug our shoulders and go on being sad.

The risk in assuming so much is that we let our assumptions overpower the actual truth surrounding our lives. Mr. Stanley obviously didn’t deserve a trip to jail in my story. He was put there by the assumptions of others; more specifically by the fear invoked by having their assumptions challenged.

Now that I mention it, I think I could invent a funny story about Mr. Stanley’s escape from jail.

I think I will work on escaping my own prison of ‘assumptions’ first. Then I will write it.

Now I Get It…….maybe


Robert Shapiro said...

Thank you Rick for another helping of insight and enlightenment. I appreciate the vision of complimentary and cognizant behavior in us all and I appreciate your writing style as well.

Seven said...

Thanks Robert,
I have visited your site several times and leave feeling a little shallow. That is, your expansive thinking leaves me feeling as though my personal world is a little too confining. It's that expansivenees of thinking that creates progress and is needed in our world. Keep reaching out, maybe you can snag some waywards like me.
Good Cheer,