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dichotomy

With every assumption, there is a risk.

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I was once told – "With every assumption, there is a risk". And it still rings true.

 

I use this meaning of the word -

'Something taken for granted or accepted as true without proof; a supposition: a valid assumption'.

 

In my experience assumptions are rampant in society. Assumptions are rampant within family units. Assumptions are rampant on this very forum.

 

1. So, what might be the best simple tools to reduce assumptions?

2. At worst, and before we go to war, are we simply held hostage to using multiple and lengthy communications between parties in order to clear up assumptions?

3. Are assumptions the best natural way of gathering information and making quick decisions?

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When I assume something, it doesn't mean I think it's true, I think of it like I am placing a bet. The only thing I can do is argue why I think this bet has the higest odd of favouring my goals. This way, even when I loose the bet, I can defend it. There is not always such thing as to say in retrospect that "I was wrong", because the whole problem is that we need take decisions based on incomplete information all the time.

 

Life is a game :cool: And I place my bets where to the limit of my knowledge where there is minimum risk and maximum potential gain. Sometimes you have the choice between different "sub-games", and some games are inherently more speculative than others, then choosing not to play those games seems reasoanable.

 

/Fredrik

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In my experience assumptions are rampant in society. Assumptions are rampant within family units. Assumptions are rampant on this very forum.

 

It sounds like your mixing assumptions with baseless assumptions, e.g an axiom is a widely accepted assumption, so there's nothing wrong with an assumption if it rides on 'to the best of our knowledge...'

 

1. So, what might be the best simple tools to reduce assumptions?

 

Well, for baseless assumptions, I guess education.

 

2. At worst, and before we go to war, are we simply held hostage to using multiple and lengthy communications between parties in order to clear up assumptions?

 

I'm not sure what you mean by this.

 

. Are assumptions the best natural way of gathering information and making quick decisions?

 

Well, if you're in the position that you have to make a quick decision, and you don't have time to gather more data to refine your assumption, then you're forced to assume the outcome...rather than the assumption being 'the best way.'

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1. So, what might be the best simple tools to reduce assumptions?

2. At worst, and before we go to war, are we simply held hostage to using multiple and lengthy communications between parties in order to clear up assumptions?

3. Are assumptions the best natural way of gathering information and making quick decisions?

 

I think #2 is the solution to #1. Communication is not as primitive as it seems. It is what leads to education and understanding. It may seem a simple action but if you ever actually tried communication to reach understanding it can be a truly complicated but thorough method. Why than should it be replaced?

 

#3....No quick decision should be an assuption.

If you are using an assuption to make a decision than you are most likely not the right person to make that decision.

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One's state of mind will affect how they view reality and therefore affect the data they see and the assumptions they will make. Let me show this with a contrasting example, if one is in love, they will hear the birds singing and will smell the flowers. This state of mind is very positive and it causes one to see the good in the environment, such that the data and the mood, will both use the assumption "isn't life wonderful".

 

The next day you go out. Your girl decided to break up, so you are angry. The same bird is now singing, but now he is a nuisence. The flower reminds you of your girl, so you pick it and destroy it. The same data now has a different meaning. The data has not changed, just the state of mind and the assumption has now interpretted the data to mean "life bites".

 

When we have international tensions often the two parties have two different states of mind, when they look at the exact same data. It would be hard to convince "life is wonderful, or life bites" to see the data in the very same way. They both are seeing it correctly, based on their mood filter. In the Middle East, Isreal has the filter of fear and the Arabs a filter of hate. They have been talking for decades and still can't see eye to eye.

 

The way to see eye to eye is to get them to find a common mindset. For example, a common enemy is one way to get two enemies to team up. They both have the same fear-hate for another, and can see eye to eye, at least with respect to the data associated with their common enemy. Maybe a common incentive that benefit both could also work. The US offers a big block of money to anyone, among them, who can offer a peaceful solution. To get the cash quickly, the old ideas will now sound good. But if everyone doesn't get their proper amounts, another round of hate-fear begins that will result in the US getting ripped off. One is not dealing with calm rational adults, but the filters of irrational behavior.

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Should destructive assumptions that are made by an individual, or group, be looked at as not being that important as far as greater nature is concerned? Are assumptions, destructive or not, simply nullified by a statement, and reality such as this? -

 

"Whoever has an army has power, and war decides everything." Mao Tse Tung

 

So, does it really matter if assumptions are made with ‘emotional filters’, or ‘rational mindfulness’? What really matters might be simply the final outcome, that shapes the future?

 

As far as a personal ‘rational toolbox’ goes. I would like to eventually develop a number of strategies for looking at life’s ‘unknowns’ with a clear and unassuming mind. I assume, with some solid evidence, that this can be achieved through good old repetition. By catching myself when unfounded assumptions occur, and holding my unfounded assumption until reasonable evidence is available, giving me the go ahead to drop/keep that thought.

 

In normal work and social conversations, I’m finding this approach a much easier way of smoothly navigating through, what I have only recently became aware of in others, as widespread emotionally driven behaviour. Humans are obviously more accustomed (I’ll call it addicted) to communicating with emotions (which are prone to incorrect assumptions), than rational thought as the primary thought driver. Basically, I’m looking for lots of tools to respectfully ‘disregard’ silly emotional assumptions and thoughts that other people have, and I have. I think my facial expression of 'this is a silly assumption you are making here', are still quite obvious at times and hurtful to others, this is a hurdle I’d like to jump as I don’t like to come across as arrogant, but I also don't want to get caught up in other people's silly addictive emotional thought processes.

 

#3....No quick decision should be an assuption.

If you are using an assuption to make a decision than you are most likely not the right person to make that decision.

 

But as a normal course of living you are forced to make quick assumptions. The majority of quick assumptions are not life threatening of course. But in a war situation one would be forced to make many quick assumptions (right and wrong), or potentially die as a result of not making them. On the other extreme I could assume that a retailer has milk on his shelf to buy, but when I get there he has sold out of milk. A non-fatal quick assumption. And, it's not worth crying over spit milk. ;)

 

Well, for baseless assumptions, I guess education.

 

I was hoping for specific tools, practices, reactions.

 

Well, if you're in the position that you have to make a quick decision, and you don't have time to gather more data to refine your assumption, then you're forced to assume the outcome...rather than the assumption being 'the best way.'

 

That's the way I see it. That is, when forced to assume an outcome there is little else one can do. I suppose here we need to identify being 'forced' from 'having time to respond differently'. Tricky.

 

When I assume something, it doesn't mean I think it's true, I think of it like I am placing a bet. The only thing I can do is argue why I think this bet has the higest odd of favouring my goals. This way, even when I loose the bet, I can defend it. There is not always such thing as to say in retrospect that "I was wrong", because the whole problem is that we need take decisions based on incomplete information all the time.

 

Life is a game :cool: And I place my bets where to the limit of my knowledge where there is minimum risk and maximum potential gain. Sometimes you have the choice between different "sub-games", and some games are inherently more speculative than others, then choosing not to play those games seems reasoanable.

 

/Fredrik

 

I agree with this. Nice thoughts.

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