Making Mistakes is What Makes us Smart

Being Wrong

A long article by Kathryn Schulz, the author of Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error (strangely, Schulz doesn’t mention Karl Popper in her book):

Sometimes we hate being wrong because of the consequences. Mistakes can cost us time and money, expose us to danger or inflict harm on others, and erode the trust extended to us by our community. Yet even when we are wrong about completely trivial matters — when we mispronounce a word, mistake our neighbor Emily for our co-worker Anne, make the dinner reservation for Tuesday instead of Thursday — we often respond with embarrassment, irritation, defensiveness, denial, and blame. Deep down, it is wrongness itself that we hate. [...]

As ashamed as we may feel of our mistakes, they are not a byproduct of all that’s worst about being human. On the contrary: They’re a byproduct of all that’s best about us. We don’t get things wrong because we are uninformed and lazy and stupid and evil. We get things wrong because we get things right. The more scientists understand about cognitive functioning, the more it becomes clear that our capacity to err is utterly inextricable from what makes the human brain so swift, adaptable, and intelligent.

Boston Globe: The bright side of wrong

(via Social Physicist)

1 Comment

  1. Thank you to Klint Finley for mentioning Sir Karl Popper. Readers are directed to his books ‘Conjectures and Refutations’ and ‘In Search of a Better World.’ And ‘The Open Society and Its Enemies.’ And ‘The Poverty of Historicism.’ And ‘Unended Quest.’ And ‘All Life is Problem Solving.’

Leave a Reply

© 2014 Technoccult

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑