Yesterday we moved the electric kettle to another area of the kitchen. Yes I know this adventure is almost too nail-biting for a blog post but there is more to come.
We moved into the house seven years ago, plonked the kettle in an apparently obvious position and there it and its successor stayed for the next seven years even though it tends to waft steam all over the cupboard above. Not a serious problem but yesterday we had the bright idea of moving the kettle to a spot where a steamed cupboard can’t occur.*
Now we skip lightly from poorly positioned kettles to the big wide world where good enough is often not very good at all but we drop into ruts and let things ride because... Because?
Because we compare.
Our ability to reason is essentially an ability to compare A with B and possibly with C and D but not much more than that. Too many options and we get confused. We don’t actually know if A is good or bad but maybe we can tell if it is better than B, C or D.
If we favour political party A over party B, we can’t tell if A is competent or incompetent. All we can do is compare it with B or perhaps the previous history of A, but even here there is an issue. If we favour party A over party B then we compare A with B using comparisons promoted by A. We can’t tell if these comparisons are valid or invalid because we just do it – we compare until we have an answer which is okay, which removes the incentive to compare.
In spite of the huge leap from kettles to politics, we see the same issue. If we are not prompted to do a comparison then we don’t do it. We don’t generally compare comparing with not comparing or comparing one way with comparing another. We just do it or we don’t. If we get an answer which seems okay then we move on and stop comparing.
* This was prompted by a slight but discernible warping of the cupboard hem hem.