Assumptions – A Means for Reasoning

Every time you leave the front door to transmute across town you are making assumptions. You assume that drivers will not run you down, that the flooring below your feet will hold you up, and that lightening will not strike you dead. Most of us take for granted that we won’t get caught in a shoot out, get arrested or have a massive heart attack. All of which are probable events. You may not think these sorts of thoughts out loud, or on a regular basis, but they are present nonetheless, hardwired into our brains so to speak. In many respects a good portion of our life is based on assumptions, from the way we think, to how we habitually behave, and in what manner we typically respond to stimuli.

In fact many of us give little attention or none at all to our underlying assumptions, which can be somewhat of a slippery slope, leading to potential complications and unforeseen circumstances. Take for instance an American President who has a deep rooted belief in the Christian evangelical notion of the rapture, which consists of God whisking away all righteous souls from the earth so that they might live peacefully in heaven. Now let us say that our elective official not only assumes that the end of the world is at hand, but he also wholeheartedly believes that God is going to unleash his wrath upon the face of the earth so as to destroy all evil men, and then later establish a new heaven and new earth.

Now one might see this fundamental belief as being an influential factor in how a President goes about making decisions and prioritizing what is important; for if a person really thinks that some supernatural power is going to level everything that the American people have been working hard to build, then such a person in authority is probably not going to give much attention to climate change and pollution. If everything is going to hell in a hand basket, then why not go down fighting with a bang, make enough bombs to destroy the world a thousand times over, and be the agent of God!? Such irrational thinking can certainly help us to understand how it is that pride comes before the fall.

This is absurdity at its finest you might say, however, it gets the point across. We have to be careful about the assumptions we cultivate and base our reasoning upon. A common axiom reads that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. This kind of assumption implies that our actions may appear good and noble, but they are actually based on poor interpretations. Misunderstandings can easily come about through our unchecked assumptions and erroneous beliefs. Therefore it is incumbent upon us to search and root out all weeds of fallacy.

On the other hand not all assumptions are false or misleading. They can also help us to reason things through. For instance we can assume that our lives will remain relatively the same if x, y, and z continue as they usually do. There are no absolute certainties in life, but it is reasonable to assume let’s say that if you have been a good father for x many years, and your children are well behaved, fed & clothed, etc., that they’ll probably come home after school. In other words it is pragmatic to think that we have some influence over the way things unfold, and that there are good as well as poor assumptions that we can be more cautious about.



About Philosopher Muse

An explorer of volition and soul, a song under a night sky and a dream that forever yearns to be.
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10 Responses to Assumptions – A Means for Reasoning

  1. Mick Canning says:

    Unfortunately there have been a few American politicians in positions of power who were looking forward to the rapture. Dick Cheney, from memory? Probably lucky they never persuaded the president to push the button.

    On the other hand, most of our assumptions just keep us sane and stop us having to analyse and risk assess every step we ever take.

  2. This made me thinking of Francis Bacon´s Idols, particularly Idols of the Tribe and also Carls Rogers beautiful ideal: “unconditional positive regard”. Well put Jason!

    “The Idols of the Tribe have their foundation in human nature itself, and in the tribe or race of men. For it is a false assertion that the sense of man is the measure of things. On the contrary, all perceptions as well of the sense as of the mind are according to the measure of the individual and not according to the measure of the universe. And the human understanding is like a false mirror, which, receiving rays irregularly, distorts and discolors the nature of things by mingling its own nature with it” (Novum Organum)

  3. Anna says:

    Here is a song that sums up a certain era of “assumptions” well: . Do you have more writing that analyzes the effect of assuming hell/damnation + salvation/rapture? This is my background.

    • Nothing like a good old country song eh. I also listened to you on the piano. You have a lovely way of putting heart into your music.

      In light of your question, here’s a one that touches on the notion of hell:

      Sorry, but I’m not sure what you mean. Are you implying that your background is hellish?

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