Tacit Assumptions

I’ll make an assumption that people tend to assume a whole bunch of stuff which just is not accurate.

What do you think of my assumption, is it valid, is it accurate, is it presumptuous?

This morning the lady at the place where we were registering for Breton classes heard where the wife hailed from and said that one can fly direct from Brest to there. Implicit in this is a tacit assumption that she may indeed wish to not only ‘phone home as per ET but go “home” too.  Now I am assuming that she, the Breton lady, is fond or at least attached to family and that she was perhaps projecting this sense of familial devoir. Alternatively, she might just have been making conversation.

I’ll make a statement or two.

In the last year I have had only one “social” SMS message to our shared ‘phone.

In the last five months I have had two “social” email exchanges comprising one email each way.

I have had no “social” telephone conversation in the last eight months, not one single ‘phone call.

I cannot remember the last time I spoke with anyone “socially” on the telephone, it could be over five years or more.

I have had no Skype, Zoom or whatever exchange, either, during this eight months’ time frame.

I have not met anyone {other than the wife} face-to-face for “social” purposes in over a year.

I have had only one such meeting in the last 18 months.

I’ll make a tacit assumption that many of you will find this hard to believe and even imagine that I am making this up for dramatic purposes.

Do you think that I am telling the truth? Is it even possible in this day and age?

I’ll make another statement I have not spoken on the telephone or had any face-to-face meetings with any of my former colleagues for over 12 years. If they claim to have spoken to me and hence perhaps for me, they are lying.


What do you assume from all of the above?

What are your tacit assumptions?

Is Life More Than an Extended Game of Top Trumps?

There is a human tendency, based in comparison mind, where people often compare themselves to others. Some want to feel better than others at least in one dimension. Others compare themselves to others and then beat themselves up because according to the chosen metric they are worse than.

This kind of comparison is the basis of the rather inane game of top trumps, in which you are dealt a hand of cards about cars, football players or some other trivia. One then chooses a category and challenges the other players.

Using the cards below if you chose top speed then the Porsche 928 would be the top trump you would win a card from each player. If however, you chose lowest vehicular mass then VW Sirocco GTi would win.

I am not overly fond of games like this, but some people carry them over into real life. They always have to have something with which to trump another.  

Where we lived last, they used to make very fast boats. Literally over the other side of the farmyard this boat was made, and it was back there with smoke generating accoutrements the morning after the London Olympics opening ceremony. The bloke actually driving the boat is the son of our landlord and a professional boat designer and racer.

One of the guys there, at the boatyard, was fond of fast cars as well as fast boats. He had an Audi TT. I bought a Peugeot 208 GTi and he was really excited. We had a long chat and because I knew that he was a humble man, not a dickhead or braggard, we could talk about our respective toys without metaphorically getting our cocks out. The top speed of the TT was a tad higher, and he said he nearly crapped himself when he did it on the Autobahn.

This who is the best, who has the highest ratings is part of higher education assessment and just like top trumps a university can spin itself. We have the highest research assessment exercise rating, our students have the highest satisfaction levels with teaching, ours students achieve the highest median incomes etc.. A real-world version of top trumps is used to market.

People play top trumps about a whole host of things:


Well junior got two As and a B…

That is nothing Jane got two As and an A*


Henry is going to UCL

Jack is going to Imperial


My dad is an Astronaut

My dad is a Buddhist monk


My dad won the Nobel Prize

My dad can drink a pint of lager in under four seconds!!


Do you get my drift??

As a little exercise / experiment over the next week or so see how often you play top trumps and see how often people try to play top trumps with you.

Then if you are bold, the next time someone tries to play top trumps simply do not engage.

What do you think will happen?

Can One Be Devoted to Scientific Doctrine to the Point of Idealizing It?

I have joked that “science” is akin to a religion, indeed the politicians say “we are following the science” in a similar manner to how they might once have apportioned something to God’s will. I have also suggested that I am akin to an heretic and an apostate. But actually, I still have faith in scientific inquiry. I understand what “science” in terms of natural sciences is useful for and when it fails. You can’t measure a Soul not even with a state-of-the-art £250k femtosecond laser. I could joke that I have tried to do this using one of these. I know how to drive one, it is good for somethings but not for others.

A long time ago, as an experiment, I asked a version of the sixth ray questions {see previous post} to someone I knew was a sixth ray being.

I posed them in good nature Elephant to Wolf, as it were. Needless to say, I got a few snarls for my efforts. I predicted that this would happen. My prediction was borne out.

It is nigh on impossible to converse in a meaningful way with anyone fanatical in their devotion to something, some way of thinking, some way of living.

Fanatics are blind to their fanaticism and see it only as a virtue. Every other Mike Foxtrotter on the planet is wrong, by fanatical definition. It is the sixth ray that helps one don a suicide vest. It is the sixth ray that makes one go on an anti-vax protest. It is the sixth ray that sends thousands to death on crusade in the holy land. It is the sixth ray that sends helicopters and GIs to Vietnam and Afghanistan. It is the sixth ray that sends nuclear warheads to Cuba. It is the sixth ray that bombs the foxtrot out of Gaza. It is the sixth ray that drove the conflict in Northern Ireland. It is the sixth ray that sets the fans of Celtic and Rangers at each other’s throats.

In what ways might you be blinded by your own idealism?

Are You Socially Conditioned?

Yesterday when we were buying some wine the lady on the checkout asked if we were going to drown our sorrows after Les Bleus got knocked out of a football tournament. Last night England won and a reporter at a fan zone said that the atmosphere was infectious, they meant there was an enjoyable and fun atmosphere, I heard potential super spreader event. My relative disinterest in soccer has caused a number of “awkward” social interactions. People have tried to engage me in conversation, and I say something along the lines of “wrong shaped ball”. It has partially excluded me from the “lad” culture which is so prevalent in England. People are socially conditioned to the notion that grown men kicking a spherical bag of air around a pitch is both exciting and very important.

There are vast amounts of socially conditioned aspirations and behaviours endemic in modern life, they do show variations between nations. What is “acceptable” under the unwritten dogma changes across borders, in the UK eating dogs is frowned upon for example. Getting on the housing ladder if possible is de rigueur there. Having a well looked after vehicle which is dent free is a social necessity if there are funds available. Here driving a car that is a cosmetically bashed up is fine.

Social status is import to some. If you had a professor, a lord and a labourer each alone in the jungle at night and a hungry leopard was on the prowl, would it care in any way about their status? No, they would just be meat on two feet. We are socially conditioned that this imaginary thing, status, is important and that it exists.

On one of my team development events I said that the manner of working at Imperial College was as a cold efficiency team. I.E. not all warm and lovey-dovey, not a lot of tree hugging there. A participant later complained that I was speaking badly of a former employer. I doubt anyone there would be upset at being called cold efficiency teams. They may even be flattered by the efficiency bit. The participant had been socially conditioned to not say some things. There are verbal taboos which are growing in number thanks to the tsunami of wokery.

Social conditioning is policed with the two most heinous words in the English language, should and ought.

“Tut-tut-tut you should not say things like that. You ought to be more respectful to those who have higher social status than you!”

THEY write the social conditioning dogma with language of a conditional voice. If you don’t behave as you ought, you could get yourself into trouble.

As a little experiment a while back whenever anyone asked me “how are you?” as a greeting, I told them in some detail. This conditioned them quite quickly to changing the greeting to something more suitable like Hi or Hello.

If you get cancer people are socially conditioned to feel sorry for you and many don’t like talking about it.

Social conditioning is NOT reality. It is a learned set of conditioned behavioural, emotional and mental reactions. It is Pavlovian. It is learned on mother’s knee and can be unlearned. We are conditioned to be afraid of dying. Why? It is one of the most natural things about life.

To find out how socially conditioned you are, may I suggest a little experiment?

Make an estimate of the number of times you will say should or ought in day.

Then count how many times in a day you say “should” and how many times you say “ought”.

That should keep you busy, and you ought to find it amusing!