This is one of "22
virus definitions" (thought-mistakes that cause ineffectiveness
and unnecessary negative emotions).
COURSE, most of the thought-mistakes fall into the general category
of assuming. But it is a good thing to look for on
its own. Everybody knows assuming is a dangerous business, and
everyone does it anyway. It is hard to catch yourself doing it,
because of course, you assume what you assume to be true is true.
What is there to catch?
Throughout your personal history, some
of your biggest mistakes probably stemmed from an assumption
you made that was wrong. And throughout human history in general,
you can easily see the march of progress as a continual (and
accelerating) discovery that one assumption after another was
The medical treatment of George Washington
is a good example. You could say he died of a tragic confidence
in assumptions. It started out as a sore throat. Washington had
caught a cold. So he was treated with the usual procedure: Bloodletting. Why was
that the usual procedure? Because Galen recommended it sixteen
hundred years before, and Galen was so well-known and well-respected,
and his practices and theories were so well-established, the
doctors in Washingtons time assumed Galen must be right.
Of course it didnt help. In fact,
his condition got worse and he began having trouble breathing.
He was famous and wealthy, so he was ministered by the best
doctors. They put ground beetles on his throat to cause blisters
(in order to pull out bad vapors). Then they gave
him laxatives to purge his bowels. They also kept up the bloodletting
for several days.
Not surprisingly, Washington went into
a coma and then died. He died of assumption.
See the complete list of definitions: The 22 Virus Definitions.