Assumptions, Premises, and Illusions — ADHD Tip O the Day 954

Now for something different

This will be a philosophical discussion today, not limited to ADHD.   (Had you assumed there would be a Poem O the Day?  Sorry to disappoint you. I hope you’re not heart broken. )

General Strategy O the Day:

Be careful what you think, what your premises and assumptions are, what words are used that could have some other meaning.  And of course, read the small print, which is carefully designed to make sure no one will ever read it. Check what you are thinking and what you are doing, both before and after.

The human mind wants answers, explanations, whys, cause and effect. And we are always seeing patterns, even when they are not there.  This is how our brains are wired, even ADHD brains.

This is good as long as you realize when you are making an assumption.

Example One:

I assumed I knew how to use my granddaughter’s coffee press.  I got a cup of coffee grounds.  When I stopped and looked at the press, the correct way was totally obvious.  Made good coffee.

Example Two:

I put a potato in the microwave and pushed the button marked pizza, but when the bell went off and I opened the door, it was still a potato.

Examples Three and Four:

Modern technology is amazing and fantastic, but we tend to assume it will work. 

My wife just spent over two hours on hold with Southwest trying to make reservations.  I assumed something was wrong and she would never get it but she did (those of us with ADHD tend to be short on patience).

I spent the morning online trying to get CME credits.  I would take a course, take the test, enter the assessment and then half the time the site would tell me something was wrong.   I couldn’t proceed to get the certificate and all of the work was wasted.  

Example Six:

I assumed that the printer ink cartridge I was throwing away was the old dry one and not the new one.

Example Seven:

One of our journalists writes of coming to New Mexico and starting to work with three Hispanic brothers. He said to them, “You’re Mexican but you have no accents.” They all laughed uproariously. “Mexican? Hell, we were here before the Puritans.”

Explanation O the Day (to set up the next section):

A set is a collection of certain things and of nothing else.  The set of all cows is non self- containing because it is not a cow, it is a group of cows. So it can’t be in the set of all cows.  The set of all abstract ideas is an abstract idea, so it is self-containing.  It has to be in there.  The set of all puzzles that make Doug’s head spin is not a puzzle, so it’s non self-containing.  So :

Paradox O the Day:

Premise: (which seems totally logical and obvious) any set is either self-containing or non self -containing.

Let R be the set of all sets that are not members of themselves (non -self-containing, like the set of all cows).

If R is a member of itself, then it is  a self-containing set and thus can’t belong in R, the set of all non self- containing sets, so it cannot be a member of itself.   R cannot be self- containing. 

If R is not a member of itself, then  it belongs in the set R of all non self-containing sets and thus must be a member of itself. So R cannot be non self-containing. 

The contradiction is called Russell’s paradox. 

Conclusion: R, the set of all non self -contained sets cannot exist, since it can be neither self-contained nor nonself contained.

Questions: Does this mean the premise was incorrect? Or the conclusion?



Bonus Links O The Day:

Balls – test your assumptions.  (Don’t assume what I meant by this title.)

Seeing Patterns



Personal Note O the Day:  

The novel is coming along nicely.  It contains a section on illusions, which is closely related to the concepts in this post.  For example, we sustain ourselves with the illusion that we will not die; that’s something that keeps happening to other people.

If you can’t trust your eyes (or your memory), what can you trust?


But it ain’t there!


Beauty or crone?


The dice are loaded. Or is it me?



#ADHD #adultADHD, @dougmkpdp    

About doug with ADHD

I am a psychiatric physician. I learned I have ADHD at age 64, and then wrote two ADHD books for adults, focusing on strategies for making your life better. I just published my first novel, Alma Means Soul. Your Life Can Be Better; strategies for adults with ADD/ADHD available at, or (for e books) Living Daily With Adult ADD or ADHD: 365 Tips O the Day ( e-book). This is one tip at a time, one page at a time, at your own pace. It's meant to last a year. As a child, I was a bully. Then there was a transformation. Now I am committed to helping people instead abusing them. The Bully was published in January, 2016. It's in print or e book, on Amazon.
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