Is What you Think True, Truly True?

I was in grade four when the neighbourhood bully ambushed me with ice balls. This was an entirely unprovoked attack. I was walking home from school when he jumped from behind a tree and pelted me, several times, then left me sobbing with icy snot running down my face.

His name was Rodney. He was much bigger than me (remember how I told you I was a scrawny kid?), and he had hockey-playing brothers who were even bigger. Any prospect of me standing up for myself was dim. Still, as I walked home in a mess of slushy tears, I was bent on one thing.

Revenge.

You see, Rodney had pet rabbits. They had just given birth to a litter of bunnies that were penned in a cage in his backyard. I had a pet Siberian Husky. A plan started to form.

With God as my witness, I only wanted to scare the bunnies. My plan was not to hurt them, but to scatter them around the yard. I figured my dog would chase them about in a hilarious, circus-like manner that would end with a few bunnies escaping under the fence, and the others burrowing safely into a hole somewhere.

Why did I think this would happen? Because bunnies are NOTORIOUSLY FAST! The tale of the tortoise and the hare happens because the rabbit takes his speed for granted. Anyone who’s ever watched Saturday morning cartoons knows that no creature ever catches the rabbit. Not hunters, coyotes, or even big bad wolves. (Yes, I’m mixing my looney-tunes, I know).

You’ve probably guessed the outcome. It did not go as planned. It was utter mayhem — blood and destruction. It was not like a cartoon at all — more like the Battle of Winterfell. Chinook (my dog) hunted each one of the little guys with a wild violence like I’d never seen. I ran about the yard trying to catch her, to save as many bunnies as I could. Madness.

To be clear, I am not proud of this. As an animal lover, I think back on that moment with much horror, and guilt. Clearly my plan was based on some incorrect assumptions. I had accepted certain data points as evidence, not metaphor, and the results were disastrous.

Although… Rodney never bothered me again. While it was never proven what happened to his bunnies, the message was clear: he would be next.

But that’s beside the point. Sometimes we make decisions that are based on what we assume is fact, without question. In doing so, we do one of two things: either we set ourselves up for destruction, or we limit our opportunity to advance. Remember, throughout the bulk of human history, we never believed we could fly. It was a known truth that people were land-crawlers, hoppers at best. Had the Wright brothers accepted this as reality, where would we be?

If we worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true really is true, then there would be little hope for advance

Orville Wright

It never hurts to question your facts before acting. Evidence based decision making is only effective if your evidence is based on true facts, and that they are being perceived correctly. Sometimes, one thing is true only because the opposite has not yet been proven possible.

I will, however, leave you with this one, absolute truth…

Bunnies aren’t that fast.

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