The principle of charity

Do you see a duck or a rabbit?

Continuing my train of thoughts after yesterday's talks.

This was raised by Neil Bearden, a professor in Decision Sciences in INSEAD, a graduate business school.

He was funny from start to finish, first lamenting how boring his bio and the introduction of him sounded, but how, for the our own good in the longer term we should listen to what he had to say anyway.

His main idea was that reality is ambiguous, very much like this duck-rabbit picture above.
And how should we deal with this ambiguity?
Therein lies the principle of charity.
We need to interpret in a way it makes people reasonable.

He gave two examples.
One was of him and his wife in an excruciatingly long queue in a bookstore.
There was a sale going on and his wife was frustrated waiting in line.
She lamented to him.

Why do these people look so surprised about having to pay when they reach the counter?

In her view, the wait would have been much better if people had known and prepared beforehand the amount they need to pay, and do just that when they reach the counter.
Yet people were fumbling with their bags and purses, cash and credit cards, and delaying the entire process.

When it came to their turn, he'd already prepared the cash he needed to pay for the books, for fear of incurring the wrath of his wife.
It was some $105 and a few cents, so he prepared three $50 notes.

At this juncture his wife jumped in and said, "Oh I have some change, let's not break the $50."
She put her bag on the floor and started digging through her purse, fishing out a dollar coin after a dollar coin. 😂

She'd forgotten her earlier observation and grouses when it was her turn at the counter.

The other example he gave was how, in the plane, we always find ourselves stopping in the middle of the aisle to wait for someone who's looking for a luggage space in the overhead compartment, trying to shift stuff here and there, nah, doesn't fit, what about the other side.. holding up the rest of the passengers waiting to get to their seats.
When we get to our seats, we'd stop to look for a luggage space in the overhead compartment, try to shift stuff here and there..

Oops sorry and oh there's a line of frustrated passengers behind us waiting to get to their seats.

The point is, if we'd paused to think about the situation, we might have thought more reasonably of the person looking for luggage space.
He didn't mean to hold up the queue. He was just looking for luggage space, like us, or anyone would.

And we'd probably have smiled and waited patiently instead of giving him a death stare or deliberately rolling our luggage over his toes when we walk past.

The world of the happy man is a different one from that of the unhappy man.

Is that really true?

If the world were facts, the facts wouldn't differ.

What is different, is what you think about it and how you react to it.

The principle of charity.
Pause for perspective.

Food for thought.

Are you.. a duck?

Oh yes I'm pretty damn sure you are a duck.

Yeah my new style of Dayre-ing is to hang carrots i.e Clarissa's pictures, at the end of my post as a reward for reading until the end. ✌

These TEDx talks really remind me of my school daze, sorry I mean, days.
Where we think and argue and analyse and counter argue about communication and literature, and the philosophy and psychology behind all the seemingly simple words.

It might be super boring to some, but I remain intrigued. 😊