an intersection in Boonville, Indiana

Isn’t Hermeneutics Too Abstract to Matter in Real Life?*

I misread the situation at the intersection by the grocery store.

I paid attention to the oncoming car’s turn signal (“There’s nothing like a turn signal. And that was nothing like a turn signal.”) instead of the fact that they were in the left turn lane. So I waited for the “oncoming traffic” before I made my own left turn. Longer than I needed to, as it turned out.

So as I was driving off, I thought to myself “I misread that situation.”

And suddenly I thought: yeah, and we’re reading all the time …

I’m driving down the road now reading all this as “real life,” which entails among other things that my actions have consequences, sometimes permanent, so reading things right and responding appropriately matters. Applying my “real life” hermeneutic.

If I were playing a video game I might do things differently.

Or if I thought I was in a simulator.

I’d use a different “hermeneutic.” If I’m thinking of a “hermeneutic” as “a set of assumptions and presuppositions about what I’m ‘reading’” – that is, what I’m trying to “make sense of,” by observing and interpreting the signs and symbols.

Like: I assume the world is because of God. I assume God is good. Is love.

I think our hermeneutic matters.

[*] Yes, people – like my family members – ask me questions like this.

an intersection in Boonville, Indiana

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