If you look at my post on Foreskin Decisions you will see that I did two things:
- I told how, 12 years ago, I decided to circumcise my son.
- I listed some of the problems men with foreskins can have.
However, if you read that post carefully, or any of the comments or following posts, you will see that I did not tell readers what my present position is on circumcision. Most readers, of course, assumed that since I had circumcised my son and listed the benefits of circumcision that I must be pro-circumcision. I was intentional not to reveal my present thoughts. My intent on the circumcision post was to start a series of meta-posts — this is one of them.
The fact is, if I had a son today, I would probably hesitate to circumcise him. I am not sure which way I would go on the issue today. Even twelve years ago I was about 40 % against circ and 60% for. Today those percentages are probably flipped for me.
We often over-read each other or over-hear each other. If someone once supported a position we are invested in, we often can not hear the other voice within them. Thus though my comments offered sympathy for the anti-circ folks, nonetheless people persistently heard me as pro-circ.
This tendency to falsely over-simplify someone’s position is also illustrated in my post called “Alternative Medicine is of the Devil“, where I tell the story how I almost lost two jobs because physicians assumed I was a soft-minded, woo-woo weirdo because I had a degree in Oriental Medicine and supported some of its uses. Similarly, on applying to graduate school in Philosophy, due to my interest in religion and an undergrad degree in psychology, I was mandated to an intensive year of study in symbolic and mathematical logic so as “to prove you have a brain.” I remember those words so well.
We are easily tempted to classify each other as black or white, right or wrong, and certainly as unchanging. The fact is, real life is fuzzy — as are our minds and opinions.
Question to readers: Any thoughts on Pigeonholing?