GermanStar - 2/27/2005 12:46 AM
If you applied that same criteria to the selection of a spouse, you'd probably have been long since divorced. You never know what might happen but the most rational assumption to make IMHO, is WYSIWYG.
My fundamental assumption about human beings is that 1) They wish to avoid harm to themselves and 2) They wish to avoid harm to others, except where that conflicts with #1. Sort of like Susan Calvin's robotics laws. But a lot more subject to nuance and error.
After that, I pretty much try to avoid making assumptions about other folks, especially on a general basis. You know like, "All those XXXX always act like YYYY." It is my preference to react to people on an individual basis rather than a group. There are times when it is convenient, though inaccurate to group people. Like I think the US gov should hunt down and kill terrorists. Now a sane person would argue immediately that I should define 'terrorist' very conservatively so as not to kill too many people by accident.
As far as assumptions concerning an individual's motivations, my general assumption is that everybody would like to do better than they did the last time. It is a useful assumption in most cases but often fails. Sometimes it is an incredibly naive, even stupid assumption. Like, I am not in favor of offering Saddam or Bin Laden a pass on personal redemption.
More often than not, when individuals are placed in a position of trust and honor they try to rise to the honor, realizing they don't deserve it. And I don't think it is a false humility. People often fail. But sometimes they surpass anything anybody would envision for them.
No man is ruled by his penis. Clinton is his own master. He chose to let his penis blind his intelligence. Some Rhodes Scholar.