I had a conversation with Jonathan last night at dinner. It went something like this
Jonathan – You know what I hate about mangoes, watermelon and other types of melons. That itchy feeling you get at the back of your throat.
Tim – What itchy feeling?
Jonathan – You know, that itchy feeling.
Tim – I get an itchy feeling when I eat avocados and some nuts but not from mangoes and melons. I think you’re allergic to them
Jonathan – No…
(Now I’m a little perplexed to)
Tim – Joey, do you get an itchy feeling when you eat mangoes and melons
Joey – No.
Tim – I think you ARE allergic
Jonathan – But my brother gets the same thing
Tim – Maybe your brother is allergic too.
Apparently, Jonathan and Aaron had talked about it with each other before and because both of them experienced it, they figured that’s how it was for everyone else.
The last topic of discussion in my Child Developmental Psychology class was the egocentric development of children from ages 2 to about 5. They place a child at a table and the table has three objects going left to right as red, white, and blue. Then they have someone sitting at the table opposite them. They ask the child from left to right, what colors are there.
Red, White and Blue.
Then they ask the child, from the other person’s point of view, what are the colors from left to right.
Red, White and Blue.
Because they have only a monoperception of the world, they can’t fathom that for the other person, it could be another way.
Another example is with children and sharing toys. When a child plays with a toy, he’s happy. Because he’s happy, hey thinks everyone is happy. When another child plays with the toy, he’s unhappy. The child wants to take the toy because he thinks if he’s happy then the other child would be happy as well.
Egocentrism isn’t just a child thing, however.
Dr. Kent Yamauchi gave an example for the class. When a teacher asks a hard question in class, the students start to slouch in their chairs and try to hide their faces. Their eyes go to other places into the distance. Their egocentric belief is that if the student doesn’t see the teacher, the teacher wouldn’t see them and call on them.
My conversation with Jonathan made me think. What’re my mangoes? What do I perceive to be true but isn’t actually.
I hear this occasionally in sports. I remember the Dodgers had a shortstop named Jose Offerman in the 90’s. The Dodger coaches couldn’t understand why he always took an unusual route to the ball when he fielded it. He was a terrible fielder.
They realized his eyes were terrible, and he could barely see the ball coming to him. When asked why he hadn’t gotten glasses, he said he just didn’t know they were bad.
They got him glasses. What happened? Well, his defense never really got better (He was just a poor defender), his hitting did, however, improve.
Former Dodger pitcher Mark Hendrickson has a similar story.
Later on, Jonathan asked me if I used the back of my phone to file my nails (because the phone case grooved).
Tim – I don’t file my nails
Jonathan – Then your nail is sharp
Tim – When I use my nail clipper, I cut using the derivative till it’s smooth.
Jonathan – I cut once on one side, then the other side, then down the middle then I file it to be smooth. That’s how Aaron and I do it.
We concluded that this is probably why Jonathan and Aaron’s nails are so pretty.
“In Cambodia, the average salary for a worker each day is only 1 or 2 dollars.”
– Ken Pak on his missionary trip.
I suppose the reality of it is that I can’t see my own mango.
And when other people do point out my mango, it seems unreal.
Jonathan’s picture is from captured by jean