Assumption: Destroyer of All

I have always resented those who assumed. Those who commit the act of assumption. The act of accepting something as true without proof. The act of thinking that you know exactly what has, what is, and what will about something without proof, without reason, just pure out of guts or pure out of “yeah, I know.” I resent that act.

To me, assumption is the destroyer of all. It destroys the whole point of language, which is to transmit information from one person to another. I’m bothered by those who assume something about me. Let me explain each case. I was eating lunch with a good friend of mine— a really good friend, actually. We exchange ideas, perspectives, our philosophy, and so on. There we are, at the restaurant. Our plate was filled with food. Good food. Great food, I would say. Rice, smoked fish, some kind of shredded spicy aromatic fish, some vegetables, and about a tea spoon of sambal—just about how I would like to eat. The rice is on the right side of the plate, and the rest are on the left. Accompanied by a warm cup of tea mixed with probably cinnamon and other classic exotic Indonesian spices. Lovely, calming, and overall a good, warm cup of tea. We enjoyed it; no, I mean, I enjoyed it. I don’t know about my friend; probably he enjoyed it as well. “Hmmm, this is so good, like always,” he said. Now,  from there, I know that he enjoyed it as well. All right, then, enough with the food. The owner of the restaurant came to our table, greeted us warmly,

“how is the food, young men?” he asked, “delicious” I said, with sparkling stare my good friend then asked “what sauce did you use?” The usual conversation between you and the restaurant owner begins—you know, the usual conversation that I would not write. The owner of the restaurant sits down with us and starts asking about our day: “Don’t you have class to attend after this?” “No, actually, we just took the midterm exam,” my good friend said. “I see” he answered. Suddenly, out of nowhere, he said to me, “Don’t think about it; it’s just midterm.” I was bewildered. Why does he state such a statement? The look on his face was the kind of look that vexedly mimics those who think that they know. It bothers me. Now, before he said that, I was just staring into the trees outside the restaurant. I think the trees were astonishingly beautiful that day. The tropical sun, the gust of wind, the shakiness of the little branches—somehow it was beautiful. But this elderly man assumed that I was stressed out after taking the midterm. It bothers me.

I hope you understand why I resent assumptions. I hope you readers resent me as much as I resent the elderly man owner of the restaurant for my brazen act of assuming that you readers already knew the type of restaurant, hence I did not describe the kind of architecture style the restaurant rests in, or that you readers already knew the kind of usual conversation between restaurant owners and their guests in Indonesia, hence I did not describe it to you fully. Why didn’t I just write it or describe it to you? That way, you may have a more pleasant reading time, rather than assuming that you already know the plot like you were there with me, my good friend, and the elderly man owner of the restaurant at that exact moment and place. I should have just written it. The owner of the restaurant should’ve just asked me, “Why do I look like I do not have any hope to live?” not assuming that I now worry about the midterm.

Readers, I would like to write you another case. A case which I found when having a great coffee with another friend of mine. This friend is just as good of a friend as the good friend that had lunch with me. He currently studies the field of psychology. This friend is well versed, well educated, and well experienced in life, religion, and society. Overall, he is the friend that you seek answers from. I’m going to call this friend a well-versed friend.

Coffee. I love coffee, whether it’s manual-filtered or espresso-based. For manual, I like it hot, flowery, and aromatic. As for espresso, I usually order a cup of caffe latte, which has a calming, charming, milky, and overall balanced taste. All right, that evening, at a particular coffee shop, a coffee shop that my well-versed friend loves. With live music, talkative café goers, and a friendly atmosphere. Personally, I prefer the one with a tranquil atmosphere, a place where I usually go to read books. For my good friend, I don’t really know. He seems to enjoy most of the cafés that I recommend. Anyway, at this café with live music, which my well-versed friend absolutely adores, we were just enjoying our coffee and music. My well-versed friend, with his usual Americano, my good friend, for whom I do not remember what kind of coffee he ordered, and me with my café latte. We were talking about all kinds of stuff—politics, education, social phenomena, and just about everything and anything—for young men in their early 20s. I haven’t gotten any good sleep in the past 2 weeks. Studying architecture definitely has an impact on my health and fitness. The clock was showing 9 p.m., I felt sleepy, and my eyes started to water. I was just zoning out, unable to focus due to my lack of rest. Suddenly, my well-versed friend, out of void, said, “Were you crying, brother?” I said, “No,” “I understand, brother.” He then starts nodding his head up and down, like the gesture of acceptance or the gesture of when one has understood a particular topic. “No, I did not cry; in fact, I’m just sleepy; you know, I lack rest,” I said and he on the other side of the table still nodding his head. This very act, readers, is an act of assumption. The act I resent. Why do mere people think that they know what’s going on inside someone’s life?

For context, I have not the slightest credibility to talk about this topic. But stay with me. I will explain why this matter is important for us humans to progress. I am currently in the midst of my study, a study about creating places for mainly humans and other creatures. My study is called architecture. Yes, I study architecture. I do not study philosophy, psychology, or medicine, but I can assure you that I am a man of moral, a man of reason. Ever since I was a kid, my father has always sublimely taught me about reason. He always emphasizes the “why?” and the “how?”. Unlike any other stereotypical parents in Indonesia or maybe in Asia that force their children to behave according to the norm, my father, on the other hand, always freed me to think or act a certain way as long as there was a reason for it.

My well-versed friend, like I have written before, is studying psychology. Now, I do not even know the crust of psychology; all I know is that this field of study is studying human’s mental, mind, and behavioral states. He assumed that I was crying, which may be because he studied signs that someone had cried through the way their eyes worked. But this is simply not a fact. The fact is, he is wrong, his assumption about me is wrong. I was simply sleepy at that time due to my lack of rest, thus making my eyes watery. I will not talk about the elderly man who is the who is the owner of the restaurant, because he is simply saying things out of his guts and has no proof.

I suggest that we should simply stop making assumptions. We should start with discussion rather than assumptions. Assumption is the destroyer of all. Through assumption, we accepted something as already a fact, even though in reality those assumptions are not a fact because they have no proof. The Muslims assume that the Jews hate them, and vice versa. This assumption has led to the death of many lives. This assumption has cost us humanity’s morals, unification, peace, happiness, and contentedness. The elderly man owner of the restaurant’s assumption about me worrying about midterm has cost us the will to continue talking. My ill head had planted some kind of hatred towards him because of his assumption. Now my offended mind has fogged my chest into hating this man. The assumption made by my well-versed friend cost us a few arguments about whether I cried or did not cry. Now, readers, if only the Muslims and the Jews stopped assuming, there might be room for peace. We humans seek peace. We humans are creatures of reason, and a creature of reason would not simply kill without reason. If the reason is contaminated, let us then search for the contamination, and then let us clear our reason, so then we would discuss things in the fashion of reason. I

really hope you readers will understand my worries about the danger of assumptions.

Let us stir our lives with reason. I am not here to hate. I am here to make this seemingly pointless life “better.” Let us use reason as our way of communicating. In the end, if we were just to assume things, we would not end up here in the 21st century. Language. Remember the main purpose of language, which is to transmit information from one person to another. Why do we have language? if we are just assuming.

Narasi: Luthfi Daffa Zulfikar 

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