The Surgeon's Story

While driving home from a soccer game one sunny Saturday afternoon, a man and his son were involved in a head-on collision. The father was killed instantly. The son was rushed to a nearby hospital in serious condition. The surgeon entered the operating room, saw the boy and said, "I can't operate on him. He's my son!"

Is there a problem in that story? If you think so, the English language has forced an erroneous unconscious assumption on you. As long as this assumption remains unconscious and intact there is no solution to this apparent problem.

I've told this story to thousands of people over the years and only one person has ever solved it. In fact, many people who've heard it before fall for it a second or even third time. Such is the power of unconscious assumptions to interfere with our abilities to think clearly or perform even the most basic logical operations.*

We are all under the influence of vast systems of unconscious assumptions built into English, the language in which we think. If I don't know what assumptions are embedded in my thinking, then I am subject to those ass-umptions; my ability to think clearly and communicate accurately is diminished! I might be very bright, even brilliant at times... but if I'm running standard "American" in my language machine, my thinking is needlessly polluted, unnecessarily handicapped by erroneous unconscious assumptions. Unconscious ass-umptions are hazardous to us, our families, our friends & associates, our projects... our planet!

*Hint: the word causing the trouble contains an "s".

If you have any questions/comments/etc., please email Heron Stone.