Friday, 20 January 2017

Why you should Judge a Book by its Cover

By my estimation I have reached the half way point of my life. I have been betrayed by people who have been my friends for years. I have seen people change so much that they can barely be said to be the same person (save and except that their physical characteristics remain the same.)
It takes years to really know someone, and even then you will most likely not truly understand them. I am being reminded of a dialogue in Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead”. I’m paraphrasing the same here -
“What’s the matter with you? Why such talk—over nothing at all? People’s faces and first impressions don’t mean a thing.”
Ayn Rand Fountainhead Judge Book by Cover“That, my dear, is one of our greatest common fallacies. There’s nothing as significant as a human face. Nor as eloquent. We can never really know another person, except by our first glance at him. Because, in that glance, we know everything. Even though we’re not always wise enough to unravel the knowledge. Have you ever thought about the style of a soul? … I think, that every human soul has a style of its own. Its one basic theme. You’ll see it reflected in every thought, every act, every wish of that person. The one absolute, the one imperative thing in that living creature. Years of studying a man won’t show it to you. His face will. You’d have to write volumes to describe a person. Think of his face. You need nothing else.”
“That sounds fantastic. And unfair, if true. It would leave people naked before you.”
“It’s worse than that. It also leaves you naked before them.”
The truth is, we do judge people by first impressions. To my female readers, I think you will agree that you avoid men who look, for lack of a better word – “rapist-like”.  On the other hand, we sometimes decide to give people, who look pleasant, the benefit of the doubt.
In the end, your first instinct is usually right and you tend to focus on those few rare instances where you by chance were wrong and conclude that’s it is wrong to judge too quickly. I agree it’s not ideal but it is a great time saving and labour-saving device, and only mildly less accurate.
So go out there, and trust your instinct, and pay attention to first impressions. You may find that your first instinct is usually right, and all the steps you painstakingly take to confirm your suspicions has been a waste of your time.


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