Assumptions

“If we all worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true is really true, there would be little hope of advance. –Orville Wright

I’m with Orville.  Even the word is icky; it means, “to take for granted without proof; to take upon oneself; to take over, take on, take up, or take in.”  What’s the common thread in each of these definitions?  TAKE.  People who assume (take) are uneducated guessers; they’re not worth their weight in peanut shells.

They have active imaginations—that run amok.  Speculation and suspicion germinate in the brain, wind through the nervous system, and finally exit the mouth being purported as factual (when actually sensual).

It’s like trying to receive a valid hypothesis from a computer without inputting any data.  All you get is an error code. Even the weatherman, who ekes out a living on a roulette wheel, isn’t that dumb; he doesn’t make projections without a preponderance of facts.

The word assumption has some colorful synonyms: presumptuousness, effrontery, forwardness, gall. Yes. All, icky.

Oh, I know—we all make assumptions: turn the key, the car won’t explode.  But you know what I’m talking about.

The word origin was the Roman Catholic (non-Scriptural) idea of the assumption (taking up) of Mary.  Interestingly, over the centuries, the word came to connote arrogance.  Nowadays, software engineers have what they call an Assumption Persona (personas derived from existing assumptions about users); they’re used as negative examples, showing how assumptions can lead to bad design choices.

So let’s curb our assumption habit, shall we?

What if others do it?  Ah, well, we can’t control what goes on in other people’s heads (‘much as we’d like to!).  But if their assumption does wind around and proceed outward, I’ll take this cue from Mr. Spok—of the original “Star Trek.”  The pointy-eared Vulcan replied, “You proceed from a false assumption: I have no ego to bruise.”

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