Being Wrong

I got in an argument when I was a kid about whether a certain plant was poison ivy. I was certain it was a Trillium that was not yet flowering.  “So rub your face in it!” was her response.  I did. I was wrong. Boy was I wrong.

We all hate finding out we are wrong.  We might enjoy the humiliation of someone else, especially a blow hard being proven wrong or laugh at the slap-stick that a wrong premise can lead a character to repeat over and over. We recognize it because we have all known that often uncomfortable realization.

The thing about being wrong, as Kathryn Schulz author of “Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error” points out, it feels just like being right. Until we find out we are wrong we can feel pretty good.

Then, after we realize we are wrong we might continue to act as if we are right because we think we have too much to lose by making such an admission.

On the other hand we can believe that they are so wrong we have to bring them to justice, or to the court of public opinion, or just remind them, frequently. We can even feel pleasure from this punishing of others for their stumbles. It is unfortunate because we will be wrong again too.

Being wrong is part of being human. How a character in a fiction deals with the realization and all its ramifications can drive a story but in real life, it is an opportunity for us to learn and grow as a human being, and in real life we get lots of opportunities. Lucky thing because learning to be an adult human being is what your all too human life is about. It really is.

 

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