Axiometry, Part V: “If It Seems Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is.”

"If it seems too good to be true, it probably is."

All of this talk about free stuff has got me thinking about another saying that lots of people seem to live by:

“If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

Now, in my post as an optimistic cynic, the impulse behind this saying is spot-on. But as with anything we take as a bit of conventional wisdom, it’s worth unpacking this particular maxim to see if it really makes sense as a guide for how to live one’s life.

And so without further review, it’s time for more axiometry!

A refresher for what it is that we are doing:

Axiom: “A rule or principle that many people accept as true.”

-metry: “Art, process, or science of measuring.”

I want to measure these axioms to determine whether we should accept them as true.

Here we go.

Continue reading “Axiometry, Part V: “If It Seems Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is.””

Axiometry, Part I: “We Fear What We Don’t Understand”

open-your-minds-my-friends-we-all-fear-what-we-do-not-understand-quote-1

There are sayings, quotes, and mantras that permeate our world, formulations that have become shibboleths, accepted as true because they have been around forever. They are, shall we say, the conventional wisdom.

You know how I feel about the conventional wisdom.

Like my series on what I call “cultural traps” I’d like to examine some of these sayings in-depth, testing whether they even make any sense. And given my love of portmanteaus (for example, the name of this blog), I call this series Axiometry:

Axiom: “A rule or principle that many people accept as true.”

-metry: “Art, process, or science of measuring.”

I want to measure these axioms to determine whether we should accept them as true.

Our first is that well-known old saw: “We fear what we don’t understand.”

Do we?

Is the unknown always frightening?

I have several problems with this statement. This is almost too easy an axiom to parse, but as it’s so commonly used and taken as “The Way Things Are,” I think it’s worth discussing.

I contend that the saying, “We fear what we don’t understand,” is feel-good shorthand for people who want to sound like THEY CARE to signal to other people the depth of their empathy.

Let’s perform some axiometry! Continue reading “Axiometry, Part I: “We Fear What We Don’t Understand””