Who killed Ted and Alice, thats the question.Now what does that have to do with assumption?. When I was teaching world history I would start off each and every class at the beginning of each an every semester exactly the same way. Once seated I would ask the class to close their eyes and picture their home.Upon entering the house they find Ted and Alice lying in the center of the living room,stone cold dead in the middle of the room. Around them were bits of broken glass and the carpet was wet around their bodies.Have the picture in your mind? Now I would tell them they could ask me any question that takes a yes or no answer,their problem was to discover exactly how Ted and Alice died.
Needless to say,every class proceed in exactly the same way.The questions would follow a similar pattern. Were they shot?,hit with a blunt object,poisioned,strangled? As the time ticked by the possible ways in which Ted and Alice died became more and more outragerous.The mystery writers in hollywood would have been envious with the number and ways Ted and Alice were killed off. Just before the end of the period, I would point to one student an pose the following question,"How did you get your name." The immediate reply would be," My parents gave it to me." Ok, I would reply," How did Ted and Alice Die."
Ask yourself this, just what are you assumming not only about Ted and Alice, but about the problem as a whole.I'll give you a hint, the assumpation you are making is so basic, you aren't even aware that you are in fact making it.The reason you, like my students are having a hard time solving the problem,deals with the fact that you unconsciouly make a very basic assumpation about Ted and Alice.The assumpation that you and my students are making, is that Ted and Alice are human.Ted and Alice, those are the names we associate with males and females.The unspoken thought is that it refers to human male and females. And because we assume that they are human, all the questions deal with how human beings can be killed or how they can die.Logical and normal, but absolutely wrong. The answer to the problem is that Ted and Alice are goldfish.It seems that their bowl was knocked over and broke when it hit the rug. Thus the presence of broken glass and the rug being wet.If one gave equal emphasis to the broken glass and wet rug as one did to the names Ted and Alice, the problem is easily solved. Easy isn't it,once it is explained.
It is this tendency to make assumptions about something as basic as names,which is the primary reason why problems seems so complex and unsolvable.If you cannot solve a problem no matter what you do, its not because the problem can't be solve, its because you are making the wrong assumptions. If you change the assumption then solutions can be found.The posts from here on will deal with differnt problems and the assumptions we are making concerning them.Then we will explore possible solutions if we change the working assumptions.Will we solve the problems facing us individuality, as a society, or as human beings,who knows? But the attempt is in and of it's self worthwhile. So remember this my friends,"Question everything you believe to be true,you might be surprised at the answer.