The concept of Hanlons razor

“Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.”  

hanlon’s razor is an aphorism that is very hard to remember but its so true. You could replace “stupidity” with “ignorance” but the net bottom line here is you can’t always assume the intentions of others are a result of I’ll intent.

Simply put, some people say things and do things that impact you negatively and they don’t understand they are doing it. As people with Anxiety this situation probably happens to us more so then others. I know I have had people say things to me that have really bothered me . I internalized it like so many of us do and it flavored how I interacted with those people and what I thought of them going forward.

Now there are cases, actually many, in which people do say things and do things from a place of malice. These are disturbed and or just extremely toxic people. I work tirelessly (as tirelessly as I can) to rid myself of such people. Sometimes though you can’t escape them. A toxic family member, a horrible boss they are everywhere.

However, most people are not tuned into mental health issues. Moreover, they are not in tune to the nuances, depths that vary person to person, and the current scope of the issue. This is where hanlon’s razor theory is very important. If we assume that people are coming from a place of malice, we eliminate opportunities to educate first, and perhaps gain allies.

Let me be clear, as many of us who suffer with mental health issues (regardless of scale) it is not our job to educate people. That said it should be our endeavor to not assume those who impact us negatively are doing so with malice. Remember halon’s razor, it may very well be that the person is unaware or suffering themselves. I don’t encourage anyone to go beyond their comfort levels but at the end of the day we all have to find away to exist and hopefully thrive in the world.

Sometimes extending the benefit of the doubt can net you positive outcomes. Hang in there, one day at a time, you are doing awesome.  

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.