Philosophical Ramblings

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Philosophical Ramblings

Post by Zerifachias on Sun Jun 03, 2012 8:39 pm

Intended Topic: Assumptions v.s. Questions

It is better to ask questions rather than to assume. Many think this is an obvious realization, but often I see that when someone asks a question that others see as either obvious or 'stupid,' they fail to realize that the person asking the question is avoiding one of the most dangerous thought process humans have - assumption.

I see students who smirk and make snarky comments about other students who ask 'clarifying' types of questions to make sure they know what's going on. Those who smirk often believe that the answer is obvious, but using myself as an example, I will ask a question to avoid making assumptions based off of my own human thought error. It is harder for me to be 100% sure of certain things, like what a professor expects on a project that's due in a month. If a friend or relative asks me to retrieve something or do something for them, it is often much easier for them to do it themselves rather than explain what I have to do in exact detail, because I am a very cautious person.

Is it better, then, to ask a question that, to some, has an obvious answer, rather than to go off on an assumption? Some believe that it would save time, and actually go ahead an assume. They will either learn from mistakes they made, or end up getting it right. I'd say there's a 50/50 chance there. What about asking a question, and getting the clarification that you need? Would that be a 100% chance of success? Maybe not. There's no such thing as perfection when it comes to human things. But it is certainly a greater chance of success over making an assumption.

Then again, there are those professors that are not clear about what they want, even if you ask them questions. I've had a professor like that. I once handed in a paper and got it back later, saying I had to redo it because I had some stuff marked wrong. I did it again, exactly as she said she wanted it, and handed it in. The next class, I got it back, with some more stuff marked wrong. It wasn't my most beautiful moment in college, but it certainly did teach me something.

Go over your work. Ask questions. Get involved with classmates and friends to see what they did for that class, to compare your work. If you're working on something in-class, call your professor over and show him/her what you've come up with, to see if you are doing it the right way, or if you're coming up with good results. If you're working on a long-term project, get in touch with your professor and arrange a one-on-one meeting, have them look it over and make comments. And, most importantly: Never. Make. Assumptions.

It seems that the human mind is wired to make assumptions on pretty much anything and everything. Now, I'm not saying that everyone should stop and think if they are making assumptions before speaking or doing something. That would make my humor incredibly slow and dull, I base my hilarity around making the wrong assumptions, it's actually kind of funny. To me, anyway. It would be nice if people stopped and thought about what they were going to say or do before they say or do it. It's not going to happen though, I'm not foolish enough to hope for that.

Instead, what I'd like for you to do, is take out a sheet of blank paper and a pencil, and draw 30 circles in rows of 5. When you are done that, take out a timer, set it for 60 seconds, and start it. When you start it, put something in those 30 circles. As an example, I could put a smiley face in one of them. Another I would turn into a soccer ball. A third I would draw a line in the center with two curved lines on either side.

When the 60 seconds are up, stop and count how many circles you filled. When you are finished with that, read what I wrote in the spoiler below this.

There is absolutely no reason why all 30 of those circles shouldn't have had anything in them. Each circle should have at least something in them. If you couldn't manage to fill them all in with something, here is my question to you: Why didn't you just put a number in each one? Number them 0-29 or 1-30? I didn't say what had to be put in the circles. All you needed to do was to make sure something was in them.

You see, this is how incredibly subtle assumptions can be. I gave a few examples of what you could put in those circles, and they would have taken a bit of extra time to draw, no? Save for the vagina-circle.

What I want you guys to take from this is to keep in mind the subtleties of assumptions. Don't stop and think about them every time you're about to speak or do something. That would take too much effort. I want you all to be curious observers of the world and it's mechanics. If your friends are talking about something, and you don't know what it is, ask them about it. If you appear genuinely curious, they will certainly tell you. Hunger for knowledge is only good at certain times. Hunger for the correct knowledge is always good to have.

~Wall of Text END~

tl;dr - Don't make assumptions, or I will eat your face.

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