We all have expectations, pretty much about everything, and from what I can tell, that’s the “normal” condition for human beings. We also have a tendency to rate, judge, or assess much of life and its components by how well those people, items, products, books, movies, and even the weather meet our expectations. That’s also normal.

The problem with that “normal” behavior, however, is that our assessments, and thus, our expectations, may not be especially accurate or in accord with the expectations of others. If we’re reasonably accurate in our assessments, and so are all those with whom we associate, few are likely to question us, and those questions are easily dismissed.

But what if our assessments are not all that accurate, and we’re in agreement with most of those with whom we associate? The general reaction, from what I’ve observed, is, again, to dismiss contrary opinions as inaccurate and unfounded, and to re-affirm bonds with those with whom we associate. Sometimes those dismissals even take the form of “I expected better of….”

But when time and events demonstrate absolutely that certain expectations were wrong, how many people ever admit that past assessments and expectations were in fact inaccurate.

Again, from what I’ve observed… very few. Reactions range from denying that one ever had that opinion to denying that the facts and events even existed. Today, the Turkish government is busily denying that millions of Armenians were killed about a century ago, despite a wealth of absolute evidence. Millions of Christian believers deny evolution and some even deny the age of the universe, again, despite a massive amount of rather substantial evidence.

I do wonder what the rabid supporters of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders will say when it becomes factually obvious that what those two promise cannot and will not be accomplished. Will they claim they were deceived by their expectations? Or will they blame the candidates? Or blame those of us who never had any positive expectation that they would accomplish political miracles? Or will they say, “I expected better…”

3 thoughts on “Expectations”

  1. Tom says:

    It seems to me that one can interchange ‘expectations’ with ‘biasis’ in this context.Just as ‘detection’ is based on ‘profiling’.

  2. G. Thomas says:

    People tend to be far more adept at self-justification rather than self-honesty, a fascinating theme explored often in your books. It is much easier to blame someone else than confront ones mindset or worldview especially when it has become so easy through modern technology to align oneself with any group that supports your beliefs, which is the unexpected flip side to modern technology giving more people worldwide access to more than their local and often repressive ideologies than ever before.

  3. invah says:

    >But what if our assessments are not all that accurate, and we’re in agreement with most of those with whom we associate?

    One thing that cannot be understated is how much our assessments and expectations are values-driven. There are equally intelligent people with equal sets of information who disagree, even virulently, such as regarding abortion.

    If a plan of action fails, but that plan supports your values, you are likely to blame the plan or environmental/systemic components. If the plan goes against your values, you are likely to use it as (further) proof that the value upon which it was founded is fundamentally flawed or immoral.

    If the plan of action succeeds, but that plan goes against your values, you don’t concede because to do so would be, from your perspective, immoral.

    Going back to the abortion example, Colorado gave away free or reduced birth control to approximately 30,000 women. Abortions and births by teenage mothers dropped by crazy amounts, 35% and 40% respectively. A contingent of Colorado lawmakers declined to provide tax payer dollars to continue the program.

    Values conflicts also make it extremely difficult to accurately assess the opposition because you can’t help but apply your moral paradigm.

    If it seems that I have switched from discussing values to morals, I have. That is because our values generally inform our moral paradigm. You’ll have a very hard time of convincing anyone to engage with or support anything that goes against their morals, because that is intrinsically “immoral”.

    I would guess that the primary hedge against this process is for someone to have a high value for pragmatism.

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