Deepak --

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How do assumptions play a role in our lives?

We're often told to be realistic about situations and not to over complex the thoughts.
How do you feel about being realistic compared to making an assumption to move forward onto the path chosen through these decision processes?

  • Mar 8 2013: we often needed assumption to motivate us to go on moving.
  • Mar 8 2013: Concrete arguments with fact, expert testimony, direct observations, or correctly applied knowledge to solve neat little problems is a safe and sound way to go through life. This reduces the risk of being wrong, but also reduces the probability that you will learn anything new. Assumptions are a way to make intuitive leaps, to look at problems in different ways, and to try and extract order form chaos. They are a valuable intellectual tool.

    However, the problem with assumptions is with communication. If you do not identify them as assumptions, and go on to build a solution based on unproven assumptions, it will only be as strong as your assumptions. If they are misrepresented or misunderstood to be fact, then you run the risk of wasting the time and resources of other people following your work. If at all possible, they should be as a minimum stated as assumptions in your work, and risk loss of credibility among your the extent this is a concern. If possible, once your intuitive leap has been made, and your hypothesis proven by some means, then you should go back and strengthen your arguments by revisiting you assumptions and see if you can strengthen them into legitimate arguments with additional supporting information. Strive to not over-state or under-state the strength of your assumptions.
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      Mar 9 2013: Hey Robert, I completely agree on the idea, that assumptions purely based on un-realistic optimism or un-realistic feelings is no less then "making decisions from air".
      My purpose of asking this question to leave it open for the reader/repliers to ponder upon how they view assumptions as. Of course, many might see it from a diplomatic view while others may sound their only experience with assumption. Neither are wrong, and they're all right.
      What I've learned from your response is the fact that as great of an experience an assumption might lead us into, if not based on experience, it can produce a vicious cycle.
      Thank You.
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    Mar 9 2013: Assumptions, generalisation, ethnocentrism, prejudice, bias; these are part of our lives whether we like it or not.
    Any and every information we take in is usually interpreted and understood from our own perspective.
    Even what we call 'reality' is coloured by our own experience, and it is still, to some extent, based on assumption.
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    Mar 9 2013: Assumption in my question referred to an instance when we might have to make a difficult decision, and time is of the essence (regardless of how we got there). A decision in which there are as many possibilities as there are ways for you to think of a solution. Assumptions will not always get you where you want to be, but it will certainly help you turn the wheel to its next point. Scientifically, we make assumptions to an indeterminate problem.....we then perform an iteration upon the preceding solution. Although in life we're not graced as problems are on paper and mind, but if we are to ponder on every possible pre-caution and solution.... then we've simply been stagnant with assumptions that will have never been.
    I asked this question, because I was told by a realists that ...NEVER should you make decisions based on assumptions, and although I cannot (and do not want to) prove him wrong, I wanted to try to understand that assumptions aren't the negative as they may be portrayed...
    Thanks all, your responses have been great.
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    Gail .

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    Mar 8 2013: Well, my assumption is that you are unaware that your question in complete in many ways. This prevents me from answering it in a way that you might have liked.

    What is realistic? Have you assumed a meaning that I do not share - which would mean that your reactions toward them would be different from others and arguments might ensue if the assumption was hot enough?

    What are "these decision processes'? Have you assumed that I know what "these" are? So if I don't answer your "intended" question, will you assume I made a mistake or will you assume that you did? Your conclusion will have a big impact on what you do or think next.
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      Mar 9 2013: Hello TED Lover (awesome name by the way..=) )
      You're absolutely right, I did leave the ground open....without solid rules and without proper details. I sort of did that intentionally. I wanted to understand how do people use assumptions (as stated from my question in topic), and you've given me a well enough understanding on how assumptions work.
      You've boiled some possible answers into questions and really have worked well through my topic. What I understand from your response is that....assumptions... to you.... need to be properly defined, they need to be strong guarded by facts and results. I welcome you to understand, that I may be completely wrong =/...

      A question for you: What if you had assumed many of the questions you pondered on.....what kind of answer you would've responded with?.......(I believe it would've been the one seen from your perspective...and not mine)
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    Mar 7 2013: We like to call it science
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      Mar 7 2013: Intuition is not a assumption, science is assumptions
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          Mar 8 2013: Will do!

          What would Jesus do?
          He would try to relate to the person, whether from his personal experiences or from someone else’s experiences/knowledge (parable). And respond with knowledge/wisdom that he would want to hear if it was he who came to them for help.
          That’s what Jesus would do.
          Do on to others as you would have them do on to you.
          If you imply this concept to the most fundamental parts of life you would have INTUITION.

          The hardest part about this is how do you relate to a person so it comes off as if the knowledge is from them selves. This is why is hard to do the "do unto others as you would have then do unto you" The answer has to be common sense. Not to the person (in this case Jesus) but to the other. It has to be their common sense not his.

          "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, who said it, no matter if I said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense." ~ Siddhartha Gautama, founder of Buddhism

          But the best thing is, is that I had to start this conversation to know that. That it has to be common sense to other, to be seen as truth from their perspective
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        Mar 9 2013: Carolyn, my definition of assumption could certainly be applied with intuition. I say that because...intuition is a conscious decision we make for immoderate decisions. Yes, trying to stretch the meaning of intuition and compare it with assumption can become a possibility. That's because they both rely on the idea that the decision made by either intuition or assumption was not a systemic thought process, rather a quick conscious decision.
        Regarding the complex thoughts here at TED, I could not even start to question they are well understood by me (that they are accepted to be complex on purpose).
        My purpose of this question was to simply understand how others see/apply "assumptions" in their lives. From your response, i understand that assumptions should not limit you from complex thoughts. Decisions should be made in a fashionably manner, one which we hope not to regret down the road......Thanks much =)