I’m right about everything — at least in my own mind.
If you agree with me about certain things, I’ll give you credit for intelligence, good judgment and more. If you disagree with me about other things, I’ll silently judge you and maybe even feel disdain for your lack of taste and manners. But about a whole range of other things, I’ve magnanimously decided that I won’t judge you whatever you believe. I’ve either decided it’s of no consequence if we disagree or maybe I just don’t care enough about the subject to praise you or judge you about it.
You’re doing the same thing to me, whether you’re conscious of it or not. We’re all doing it to each other. We just have different things we care about and different things we judge each other about.
We do it about big things and we do it about little things.
In politics and philosophy, we can’t believe that an intelligent, honest and decent person could see things so differently than we do, so it becomes clear to us that other people are either stupid or lying. Maybe they even have bad intentions. Maybe they’re evil, because a good person couldn’t come to their conclusions.
Listen to the way people talk to each other. They get frustrated when people want things they don’t think are worth having. If a person says he wants to live in the Pacific Northwest, someone who hates rain and prefers sun will pipe up to say, “You’ll hate it there. It rains all the time,” with no apparent understanding that some people prefer rain to sunshine.
People recommend things by saying, “You’ll like this movie.” (Or it could be a book or a play or a restaurant.) Why would someone say that? Because he likes it, of course. On some level, most of us have an instinct to feel some version of this idea: “If I didn’t like it, don’t even try it. Your taste couldn’t possible be different and I couldn’t possibly be wrong.” (And, yes, some of us work hard to overcome that instinct because we’ve learned how different others are, but we’re in the minority and it’s still hard for us — in ways that we often overlook.)
Although we might understand in theory that products are a result of a thousand tradeoffs, we think products that don’t make the same choices we prefer are terrible products. The product I prefer is obviously superior. The product you prefer “sucks” — even if it meets your needs better than my choice would.
We don’t consciously believe that everyone should be like us, but when we’re in that moment, we believe on some gut level that our subjective experience must be everyone’s objective experience — and that our subjective preference should be everyone’s objective preference.
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