What do I know?

There’s a saying that I use quite a lot, which apparently comes from Voltaire the French philosopher:

“Common sense is not so common”

Jimmy and Granddad Explore the Lake DistrictWhat I regard as obvious is likely to be different  to what you regard as obvious. What I know is likely not what you know. My experiences, my understanding, my perspective is always going to be different in some way to yours, sometimes it’s going to be radically different to yours.

This isn’t new information, and if you’ve been around a while I suspect that you read it as “common sense”, but that’s not the way that we behave.

Whenever I enter into a conversation I make an assumption that the person I am talking to knows certain things and sees some of those things in a similar way to me. The way that I communicate with that person is massively influenced by the assumptions that I have made about the person that I am talking with.

So why am I surprised when they understand the conversation differently to me?

Surely my expectation should be the reverse. It’s far more likely that someone will understand a situation in a different way to me because they see that situation from a different perspective. It’s highly unlikely that they will see it in the same way because it’s not likely that their perspective will be the same as mine.

In some ways it’s a miracle that we ever communicate at all.

How would changing our perspective change our communicating?

One thought on “What do I know?”

  1. Personally Mr Chastney, I have always thought this to be one of your more thought provoking comments and as such I tried to be more understanding if I met someone that just didn’t get my point of view. That said, age marches on, and my tolerance of people that stop thinking when they get past the end of their nose seems to diminish every year. A veritable good vs evil waging war in my brain every day.


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