Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Admitting We're Wrong


"'Our capacity to tolerate error,' Gadd said, 'depends on our capacity to tolerate emotion.'...[Virtually] all of [our mistakes] require us to feel something: a wash of dismay, a moment of foolishness, guilt over our dismissive treatment of someone else who turned out to be right... It is the presentiment of these feelings, and the recoil from them, that renders us so defensive in the face of possible error...[O]ur resistance to error is, in no small part, a resistance to being left alone with too few certainties and too many emotions.

...For some people, this experience is essentially unbearable...All of us know people...whose rigidity serves to protect a certain inner fragility, who cannot bend precisely because they are at risk of breaking...

...[In] failing to face up to wrongness...we miss out on the wrongness itself. If the ability to admit that we are wrong depends on the ability to tolerate emotion, it is because being wrong, like grieving or falling in love, is fundamentally an emotional exerience. Such experiences can be agonizing, but the corny truism about them is true: If you haven't experienced them, you haven't fully lived. As with love and loss, so too with error. Sure, it can hurt you, but the only way to protect yourself from that potential is by closing yourself off to new experiences and other people. And to do that is to throw your life out with the bathwater."

BEING WRONG by Kathryn Schulz


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