The birds have been entertaining me again. Watching two fat pigeons waddling up the garden as fast as they could. I couldn’t make up my mind whether they were having a race, whether the back one was chasing the front one or whether both of them were in a hurry. I might have put an interpretation on it and then have been wrong, for all I would know. Interesting, I thought, the same scenario yet meaning one of at least three things and I had no way of telling. Tell the truth, sometimes the birds are not always entertaining, sometimes they are a right nuisance. I have just given up on my patio Sempervirum. Little rosette-like succulents, one blackbird took a right shine to pulling them out of the pot. I am guessing that he started by looking for insects and then found it amusing to yank the rosettes out of the pot. Well, no more, even if it does make me a spoil-sport.
The same thing happens in so many different ways. For instance, a policeman will tell you that if you interview six people about the same incident, then you will get six different statements. They will be the same in many ways but there will be some slight variations in them all. There is a psychological reason for this but I think I’ll give that a miss if you don’t mind. If when it comes down to what many people might consider an absolute, it may not be so. Talking to my doctor on a matter, she told me that if you ask ten different doctors their opinion as to the way to treat a problem then you may well get ten different answers.
Probably the only absolutes come in things that can be scientifically measured or calculated, even then one cannot always be sure because interpretation and conditions come into it. When I was studying we were being shown how to construct and conduct surveys and how to interpret the results from the data we had collected – statistics in other words. One of our recommended textbooks on the subject was called How To Lie with Statistics by a chap called Darrell Huff. We have all had a laugh at some time or other about the exit polls conducted as people exit after voting at elections. It is possible to make a survey or study come up with the answer you either expect to get or want to get. Beware the pundits, they are perhaps just having a bit of a waddle!