Horses not Zebras

Only the other day, under the strong influence of nostalgia and a rush of inexplicable feelings, I found myself scrolling through some of the prior contributions I had made to this small corner of the Internet. Unfortunately, I saw that I hadn’t launched into one of my characteristic explanations of something bizarre for quite some months now, and today, seeing an opportunity fit for it, I decided to pull out my dusty thesaurus.

Earlier today, a few weeks ago actually if I’m being honest, I played host to a conversation which escalated at a pace which was far too remarkable to be sensible. Greatly drawn to anything with even the remotest possibility of being senseless, I naturally took a deeper interest in the conversation than was healthy, and emerged with this little post.

It would seem from the discussion that half the reason behind the unprecedented escalations of emotions was a tacit conversation taking place completely independently of the verbal one. And what was more, the unspoken discussion seemed to be taking on two different planes altogether, depending upon the whim and fancy of the person! What great confusion!

And then sweet inspiration struck me as it never had before, and I realised that the conversation mishap which was unfolding so seamlessly before me was the story of this world. Almost all problems in our homely surroundings could be explained by this very inefficient but rather rampant mode of communication, which made use of misunderstandings to deliver messages.

So how could anyone expect anything to take place successfully, when nothing at all happened in the way that it was meant to happen? The root cause of this rather disturbing social issue, I discovered, was our tendency to assume. Sometimes assumption of the worst would lead to catastrophic fight over issues which hadn’t even materialised yet, and other times assumption of the worst would lead to squabble over unreasonable expectations. Who, then, is responsible for this very prevalent issue of social construct?

Time, of course, can be blamed. However, the only reason time stands to be blamed is because that’s the way it has been for so many years. We have found a foe in time ever since we began to fear death, and so we seek to blame the innocent bystander for things to which blame cannot even be assigned. This is a stellar example of one such case. Our innate reaction of assumption is one which has developed over time to allow us to be effective in our communication: imagine how tedious it would be if people had to always spell everything out for everyone.

The title of this post is an allusion to a phrase I once heard a long time ago: “if you hear hooves, think horses and not zebras”. This phrase, I think, very efficiently captures the sentiment which I have tried so feebly to express above. The tendency to expect zebras, which are gross unrealities, where one should expect horses, which are little more than your everyday stray dog, is the reason we don’t quite manage to stay in phase with out fellows.

As is customary, I must pretend to ask you, while actually asking myself, what this post was about anyway. Was it necessary to make you read through line after line about something which fits in one sentence anyway? Why did I repeat the very same point so many times, that you eventually forgot why you were reading this anyway?

Perhaps it was to get you on the same plane as me. Or maybe, I was just bored and had nothing better to do. Either way, I think the most fitting reason I wrote this post is simply because, well, I could.