On Kindness (Part 2, Chapters 1-5)
Language for Animals VOLUME ONE (The Eonothem.§.2.❡.2.8.) Section Two
On Kindness, Part Two
Ironically, a cruelty we inflict on one another is believing that what is in my head is also in your head. Sometimes we call these assumptions, and as you know, they make an ass out of you and me, which is to say, they make both you and I unkind, but mostly you. But me too! The inside of our head isn’t a consciousness; it’s just a mess of accumulated facts, sometimes used beautifully, usually not. I get angry at a person when they make this kind of assumption, the basic kind, assuming that my head is their head, that I have access to the same knowledge they have access to. I get angry and this perpetuates the unkindness. I get angry because the assumption then ping-pongs; I assume what is in your head by assuming you know that I don’t know something. Sometimes this is a forgivable assumption and sometimes it seems rather loony: it is rather loony for an academic to think the specialized language of their field is coherent to little ol’ me when they try to explain things to this layperson and do a terrible terrible job. I’m so mad at them!