I’ve had a couple of strange things happen to me over the last couple of days. After having read one of my previous posts someone accused me of being a Dominionist (or at least a thinly disguised Dominionist) and yet another person hurled Marxist in my direction. Well, how interesting.
So, here’s the almost ubiquitous anecdote. When I was young, say about 16, and living in Manchester in the UK I met a guy playing guitar in the local park. He was perhaps a couple of years older than me, he was Jamaican and had the most impressive dreads I’d ever seen. We got talking, and he was a very easy, chilled person to talk to. We met up another couple of times over the following week or so and on one of those occasions Basil* walked me home. We got to my front door and I discovered I’d forgotten my key, so naturally I rang the doorbell. My dad** came to answer it. He opened the door, took one look at Basil and punched him in the face, swiftly grabbed me, pulled me into the hallway and slammed the door shut.
I couldn’t really say exactly why he reacted that way. Never a one to discuss his reasons he simply strode out to his shed, and seconds later the sound of hammering drifted into the house. (He spent a lot of time in the shed wielding tools). Whether it was racism in action or another equally unacceptable motive that led my dad to behave like that will be forever a mystery. What is certain though, is that punching that total stranger in the face was completely wrong, unprovoked and plainly downright weird.
It’s years since I first heard the mildly amusing quote “When you assume, you make an ass out of u and me” that is attributed to Oscar Wilde. In my dad’s case, he often made a complete ass out of himself. I’m pretty certain that so much assery was used for himself that there was little left for anyone else. He had some pretty unconstructed views and opinions and never allowed facts or explanations to get in the way of his conclusion jumping. I could say I learned an awful lot from my dad, but not in the way that he intended.
It seems that to my dad, and to many other people too, life was like one great big Rorschach Test and what he saw in the great big inkblot of life was much more a reflection of his own darkness than an analysis of the actual situation, person or event.
And so to the present day: I don’t suppose that we should be too surprised to find that the practice of assumption-making is still alive and well and making asses on a daily basis. Sometimes it seems to come from people’s desire to categorise – to place things and people and opinions in neat little boxes – that they fail to look at what is before them in a careful manner, instead, going for the brief glance, referral to previous experience or accepted pattern, quickly followed by dodgy conclusion. I suppose in some way it makes sense – like Pareidolia – to quickly ascertain whether or not something or someone poses a threat to you by weighing up the “evidence” as you perceive it, comparing it to previous knowledge and responding accordingly.
In my case the experiences I had as a child, growing up with an Olympian of the conclusion-jumping world, led me to believe that careful examination in any situation is a very good idea. It’s amazing how much you can find out and as a consequence, how much more enlightened you can be with a bit of probing, prodding and weighing up. I don’t claim to be a genius researcher nor more naturally insightful than anyone else, but I feel that this particular “Protocol” has at least minimised my Bottom moments.
PS Just as a clarification: I say no to Dominionism for many reasons, not least because it involves a deity; also I say no to Marxism because I don’t like his beard. If you can find an existing box to put me in, please let me know the shape of it in “Comments”.
*This is a made up name since my memory has failed me.
** My ADOPTIVE dad – no actual genetic relation!!