Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Assumptions and Presumptions

Three wise men set out on a journey for, even though they were considered wise in their own country, they were humble enough to hope that travel would broaden their minds. They had barely crossed into a neighbouring country when they saw a skyscraper in the distance. What could this enormous object be, they asked themselves? The obvious answer would have been: go up and find out. But no, that might be too dangerous. Suppose it was something that exploded as one approached? It was altogether wiser to decide what it was before finding out. Various theories were put forward, examined and, on the basis of their past experience, rejected. Finally, it was determined, also on the basis of past experience of which they had an abundant supply, that the object in question, whatever it was, could only have been placed there by giants. 

This led them to the conclusion that it would be safer to avoid this country altogether. So they went back home having added something to their fund of experience.

Assumptions affect Observation. Observation breeds Conviction. Conviction produces Experience. Experience generates Behaviour, which, in turn, confirms Assumptions

Human life is based on assumptions and presumptions. We often miss the bus because of our silly assumptions and fabricated apprehensions. ' Until you swim, how can you assume or presume that water is deep,' Confucius would often tell his disciples. Alexander would never have dared to come to India from Greece had he assumed and believed that the moment he would set foot on the soil of the East, he would die. His father Philip's court astrologer Angoinet warned young Alexander never to go to the East. But he dared and came and also won nine battles before abdominal ulcer forced him to horse back to Bactria in Greece. He didn't care for assumptions and therefore could come so far and win comprehensively.

Assumptions are the weapons of the weak. To assume is not to resume. Assumptions affirm our vague beliefs and make them strong convictions. The great Victorian English poet and critic Dr Matthew Arnold rightly said, ' Assumptions are the feathery wings of our imaginations.' They indeed are. Life's eighty percent tragedies are caused by assumptions and beliefs that were never tested and examined. In medical science, there's a chapter called 'Assumptive Therapy'. Doctors are taught how to make the patients get rid of their assumptive ailments. Once the patient is cured of his/her assumptions, the ailments also disappear in a jiffy. 

Let your assumptions remain assumptions and don't allow them to get ossified. Once they get ossified, they also become fossilised and then you can't disabuse yourself of them. 
                                                                   ----Sumit Paul



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