"As I mused, the fire burned"

Reflection on life as a person of faith.

Stupidity versus Malice

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Saw this in a news feed comment:

“Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.”  Called “Hanlon’s Razer” by Wiki.

How often do we interpret other’s actions based on presumed intent?  That person is deliberate in lying to me, versus, perhaps they’ve created their own reality and believe what they’re saying.

In church land debates on human sexuality, the polemic is often marked by the assumption that the other side is operating from malice, while those of your own ilk are righteous.  The deeper dynamic is our ability to rationalize and make righteous almost anything, including activities that are clearly contrary to Christ.  It is striking how often my first assumption is to attribute motivation to malice.

A good reminder for me, particularly when I’m upset with other drivers.  While the BMW driver (see below) was clearly operating from malice (demonstrated by his flipping me the bird), perhaps that lady who cut me off this morning didn’t do an adequate shoulder check? 

This AM I was waiting to turn left into a solid line of stopped traffic.  A car stopped, maybe to let me in.  I had the sun full in my eyes and could not see the driver, so I wasn’t sure if he was checking email, or was motioning me into the line.  The driver behind me laid on the horn…which was less than helpful, as I was trying to be cautious.  Did she (the lady behind me) attribute my hesitation to malice or stupidity (or the reality, caution)?

A good reminder in our dealings with others.  Malice is probably the last thing we should assume in assessing the motivation of others.


Written by sameo416

August 28, 2012 at 9:09 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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