Ambiguity gives you a choice

2020-06-11

Sometimes I’m in a car, there’s a lane which ends and merges with the lane beside it. Because everyone knows how this game goes, everyone gets into the lane which continues nice and early. But inevitably, someone comes screaming up behind us in the lane which cuts off and merges into the line at the last second, instead of waiting their turn.

“What a jerk,” people say. I usually say “Maybe they’re just new in town, or are taking a new route.”

Their reaction is usually worth watching, because thats a painfully naive thing to say. Sometimes I get a short lecture about how much the person meant to do it, and about how they probably kick kittens and yell at blooming flowers. I shrug and drop it. They’re probably right, I say.

The fact is that what you believe won’t change what happened. Someone cut in front of everyone. It’s already done. What you do now will not have any effect on it at all, and that includes how you choose to interpret the event.

You will never know the truth about why it happened, so you may as well pick the explanation that makes your life the best. Do you want to believe that the person was a jerk? Or do you want to believe that they were misguided? Statistically it’s more likely that they’re a jerk. But given the choice, I would rather believe that they had good intentions. When there’s no evidence either way, I’d rather believe the good in humanity.