Reading people

We have a difficult enough time admitting the influence of personal bias in the way we read texts, but why do we insist that we know how to read people? (And why do we insist on using we in such considerations? It’s just another method of projecting ourselves and our profoundly limited perspectives onto everyone else, right?)

We impose interpretive frameworks onto everything we read, and then we find evidence and draw conclusions to try to make sense of whatever it is we’re reading, but in the process, we forget the interpretive framework we’ve placed on top of the actual text and ignorantly presume that we’re getting closer to the text. We think we’ve “figured it out,” when all we’ve really accomplished is a reinforcement of our initial perspective (tip o’ the hat, confirmation bias).

In other words, we mostly end up exposing our own internal workings than discovering anything new about external realities. Which is to say, the next time you think you’ve judged someone correctly, you might want to look at the mental model you’ve used to displace their actual self.

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