Talking to Strangers – A guide on our mistakes

Hey guys what is up welcome back to my blog I’m so thankful that you guys took the time out of your day to read my blog post. Hope you all are safe from the COVID-19 and having a great day. I’m always looking to grow, always looking to learn and man this book has a hell of a lot to teach.

Biases, we all have biases against people and I don’t think that there’s a single person in the world who is non biased towards everything and that is the truth. Now let’s say that we all have a bias, most of us sharing a common bias, what’s that ? It’s what Malcom in the book calls, ‘Default to truth.’

The book gives accounts of different cases which on first glance seem plain and simple because we are viewing them from an outsider’s perspective. To us, the people in the cases are strangers and that is what those people are to each other as well, strangers. The prime case of this being Sandra Bland (yup, it’s that case.) And Malcom explains very well how, because these people are strangers to each other and are in their situations because they either default to truth or don’t. The problem that Malcom so well highlights is that we are conditioned to think in certain ways and that is what causes us to read other people’s actions wrong and that is why these problems occur.

Now for the two cases that I want to talk about from this book, like I always do, the two cases that fascinated me the most. The first is the case of Sandra Bland but I cannot talk about that because the entire book is about decoding that case. So the two that I am going to talk about are the Kansas city policing experiment and the interrogation of KSM. The first case was fairly simple, Kansas city wanted to reduce crime and the best way to do that they thought was to increase the number of police officers on the streets, that did not work so what did they do instead ? They tried ‘coupling’ that is to increase the number of police officers on patrol and the number of people they pulled over in a neighborhood where crime is concentrated. The result. Decrease in crime. Why ? Because instead of running around the entire city and searching for a crime, the police are in a place where the crime is more likely to take place and they can stop it before it happens. Simply increasing the force didn’t matter, they needed to know where to deploy this force. This teaches us about human behavior as well, coupling is a very real thing, it’s what you would call ‘clicking’ with someone and when this coupling is mismatched, things go very wrong, very fast.

The second case, the interrogation of KSM teaches about interrogation techniques, that is sleep deprivation and slamming people against sound mats. While this brutal technique might seem effective, a research proved that it can distort memories and make people so in despair that they would confess to any crime as long as they got the torture to stop. This is what they believed had happened with KSM who confessed to acts of terrorism that he didn’t even commit. That goes to show that what we know about the human mind is very little and while ‘Stop at nothing’ to get the information out sounds very effective, in reality it might not be.

The book speaks about how we as a world and as different cultures just suck, simply suck at reading people. We’re always off on our reading, whether it is, a police officer trying to read a potential suspect in a murder investigation or two students at a college frat party trying to understand how far the other wants to go in the hypersexualized chaos of the frat party. Malcom offers a few solutions to these problems, the dilemma that we face, whether to suspect every stranger or to trust everyone and by explaining the bad things that can happen when we tip too much to either of the sides is when accidents happen.

So that is it for this post guys hope you got some value from this.  Thank you guys for reading to the end hit me up on Instagram and Twitter with your thoughts and if you have any ideas on what I should write about. Stay safe from the COVID-19. Thank you again and I’ll see you all next week.

Published by Harshit Sagar

I am a 18 year old teen who has a passion for writing and loves anime.

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