The psychology of expectation affects practically everything you observe in the material, religious, political, and economic world in which we live. Oh, my bad. Good morning! What that statement means is we, as highly developed primates will see, understand, and predict what we expect to rather than what is.
This is a highly developed survival instinct. The rustling in the grass could be the wind, or a tiger. You can sit there and wait to gather more data while the tiger pounces. Evolution has programmed the human brain to opt for “tiger” and study the full information base from a safe distance. This trait is paramount throughout all human reactions to various situations.
Penn and Teller’s “quarter trick” is a perfect example. The act of seeing quarters drop into a cup where no quarters can possibly exist demonstrate the brain’s ability to fill in the blanks even when there are no blanks. The audience has already been pre-programmed by the Salvation Army to know all about dropping change into a tin cup. Teller reinforces this by “dropping” change that he supposedly snatches from thin air into a similar cup. Now, the people know this is impossible, however, they give a pass, knowing that Teller is an illusionist, and most likely has “something up his sleeve” accepting that the quarters are real, no matter where they come from, and they most certainly hear real said quarters hit the bottom of the cup. After enough of this, Teller reaches and retrieves the glasses from a member or the crowd, shakes them over the cup, and the audience sees, and hears two quarters rattle to the bottom of the little tin cup. This is clearly impossible. Yet, with all their brains in full auto mode the people hear the rattle, and even at a distance will testify that the denominations are indeed quarters rather than tokens from the casino.
You can transfer this method to the courtroom. When the prosecution gives his opening statement he will traditionally say, “The state will show you. . .” This is a simple carnival trick. From that moment on the jury is under the psychology of expectation, and waits eagerly to see the trick. The quarters hit the cup, and Bonzo goes to jail with the proof that he was in church at the time of the crime shoved securely up his bum!
Combine this with the psychology of justification. This is where it really gets tricky. Every husband, caught with his girlfriend tries the old, “Are you going to believe me, or your lying eyes?” It works like this. You accept a premise. Your two year old can recite the Gettysburg Address. From that moment on every drooling, babbling sound that comes out of the child sounds a bit like, “Four score and seven years ago.” While the family laughs and winks, you begin to justify the whole thing by pointing out various sounds, syllables and pauses in the child’s ramblings. Hopefully, you’ll end up on Dr. Phil and get a book deal. The wife, discovering the cheating husband, remembering her wedding vows and early love simply cannot accept what she sees, but justifies it by accepting his cover story that the woman was having chest pains, and what’s why he was pressing up and down on her breasts.
This works in politics, also. Everyone knows that conservatives want to end Social Security and throw grandmaw in the street. All liberals want a dead baby in every pot. All blacks pick cotton, and all whites WANT them to pick cotton. We enter the political arena with these expectations. We assume political “truths” with the psychology of expectation, and reinforce them with the psychology of justification. That’s not a tiger, it’s the wind. There couldn’t be just one shooter, there must have been so many bullets flying around Dealy Plaza that day it’s a wonder anyone got out of there alive! Hillary is the salvation of Western Civilization, and Donald Trump is the grandson of Al Capone! Numbers don’t lie. Just read the writings of Mr. Ponzi.
Almost no one approaches any given situation by accessing facts first and then forming a logical conclusion. We always put the horse before the cart unless of course, Teller tells us it’s a jackass, and then we all become democrats. We assume what we are told, or have been programmed to assume. And it happens all the time, every day, and is insidious. Look here, don’t look there. Simply accept. Don’t be a fool. I BELIEVE that some cat in Salt Lake City talks directly to God! Think you can’t be taken in! You just accepted that a drunken guitar player from Austin is an op/Ed journalist for the Tea Party Tribune!
The Butcher Shop