Posts

Larry David and Ben Franklin

On the HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry David has his idea of what constitutes appropriate behavior. For the most part, he lives according to that idea, he obnoxiously shares his views with almost everyone, and he clashes with people who have different views.  
Suppose there's another HBO series called Colonial America. In Season 1, Ben Franklin is a young, local politician, and there's another local politician named Oldenshaw who hates and ignores Ben. (It's similar to the Jerry Seinfeld and Newman dynamic--only these two men don't even say, "Hello, Oldenshaw." "Hello, Ben.") In episode 12, Ben wants to get on the good side of Oldenshaw, so he writes him a note saying he wants to borrow a rare book that Oldenshaw has in his library. Oldenshaw lends him the book, and Ben returns it a week later, along with another note thanking Oldenshaw for the favor. The following day, Ben sees Oldenshaw, and the latter starts ta…

The Line

In a certain sense, people tend to be one line thinkers. Once someone starts off following a line of thought, he tends to continue with it, and he tends to see things via that line of thought. It's uncommon for people to make much in the way of a meaningful, direct shift from that line of thought.

Let's say Chester has very negative or very positive views regarding Mexican immigrants. Once Chester hears words like "Mexican" or "immigrant," he's going to follow his standard line of thought regarding the topic. His perspective will be dominated by it.

Also keep in mind that of the various lines of thought that people use, most are narrow. Chester's falls into that category. So suppose someone leads off by saying, "We should loosen immigration laws so more Mexicans can come into the country." At that point, Chester will follow his standard, narrow line of thought regarding Mexican immigrants. Every matter brought up from that point on will be…