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Live each day as if it were your last. Someday, you'll be right.

Sunday, January 13, 2013



How can two people be in the same place at the same time and come away with different memories of the events that took place?

“It is a feature of human memory that we do not store information exactly as it is presented to us.  Rather, people extract from information the gist, or underlying meaning. In other words, people store information in the way that makes the most sense to them.” [1]

“There are no facts, only interpretations.” 
Friedrich Nietzsche

We bring so much baggage with us wherever we go. None of us is a blank slate, able to interpret the events that occur around us with complete objectivity. Some are predisposed to certain viewpoints without perceptions even passing through the scrutiny of critical thinking.

“Some people see the glass half full. Others see it half empty.
I see a glass that's twice as big as it needs to be.” 
George Carlin

We generally give ourselves the benefit of the doubt. We normally ascribe the best of motives to our every action. How our actions are perceived by those on whom they have an affect is usually swept aside as nonsense. It is easy to rationalize why we do what we do and behave as we behave and expect everyone else to understand.

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” 
Horace Walpole

What should we do if our words or actions are interpreted in a way that another feels is hurtful?

"Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye so to them." Matthew 7:12

“In all affairs it's a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.” 
Bertrand Russell

“We make sense of information by trying to fit it into schemas, which are a way of organizing information.  Schemas are mental 'units' of knowledge that correspond to frequently encountered people, objects or situations.  They allow us to make sense of what we encounter in order that we can predict what is going to happen and what we should do in any given situation.  These schemas may, in part, be determined by social values and therefore prejudice.” [2]

“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.” 
Alphonse Karr

Sometimes our schemas cause our eyes to be closed to the reality that is before us.

“It is a narrow mind which cannot look at a subject from various points of view.” 
George Eliot, Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life

“No two persons ever read the same book.” 
Edmund Wilson

I could take this a step further and state that if I read a book today that I had read 20 years ago, it would not be the same book to me because I will have brought to my reading a whole new depth of experiences to relate to the writing. 

“The question is not what you look at, but what you see.” 
Henry David Thoreau

We make decisions easier on ourselves with hueristics, or 'rules of thumb,' which are cognitive strategies we have developed in the face of data overload.

Hueristic Definition:  A heuristic is a mental shortcut that allows people to solve problems and make judgments quickly and efficiently. These rule-of-thumb strategies shorten decision-making time and allow people to function without constantly stopping to think about the next course of action. While heuristics are helpful in many situations, they can also lead to biases. [3]

Be open to and SEEK the perspective of others

and your own reality will be enlarged.


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