Shots of Wit

A regular posting of witticisms, aphorisms, and general musings by Clifford Cohen.

Seeing conspiracies…

Not everything is nefarious.

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The human mind seems to have a penchant for divining intrigue in everything. We do this as a “proactive defense” against any possible harm we might experience at the hands of others. Nevertheless, there are times that things are exactly as they appear to be. We often see malice or malevolence in the actions of others when in fact the intent of such persons may be entirely benign and explainable on a simple level. When we fail to discern the true intent of others the results can be disastrous. Nowhere is this better depicted than in the film, Affliction—in which the main character makes this miscalculation and mayhem ensues as a result. Despite the film being fiction, the events depicted are entirely realistic and instructive. If you find yourself thinking that another person has ulterior motives and is acting out of self-interest, pause to consider an alternative interpretation. Very often, the person may not be pursuing any specific agenda, but rather they may be simply doing what seems, in their opinion, to be logical, prudent, or right for the situation at hand. You do not always need to agree with their logic, but if you can concede that their motivations might be innocuous, it will prevent you from reacting inappropriately and escalating tensions. This will give you time to seek facts, and if possible engage the person to confirm or allay your suspicions.

Unsolicited piece of advice: If you haven’t seen the movie, Affliction, your life will be impoverished until you do :).

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