While reading Hirschman’s essay “Exit, Voice, and the State”, I came accross this anecdote about how Colombians reacted every time some situation was puzzling for him. It cannot be more accurate. Since I started grad school, I’ve been trying to get rid of the reflex of assuming I understand what is going on in Colombia, when in most cases I am as clueless as my foreign peers. Apparently, we find solace in believing we understand what is familiar to us. Interestingly, though, Hirschman gives this example as a hint for why people don’t “exit” troubled societies.
Full citation: Hirschman, Albert O.. Essential Hirschman. Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press, 2013