Literalism

In practical life a certain amount of “reading between the lines” is necessary: if we took every letter and every remark simply at its face value we should soon find ourselves in difficulties. On the other hand, most of us have known people with whom “reading between the lines” became such a mania that they overlooked the obvious truth of every situation and lived in the perpetual discovery of mares’ nests; and doctors tell us of a form of lunacy in which the simplest remark uttered in the patient’s presence becomes to him evidence of a conspiracy and the very furniture of his cell takes on an infinitely sinister significance.

- Christian Reflections
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