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I don’t know, but I think I remember that when I was younger I wanted to be right quite a lot. With age comes wisdom, one hopes, but at least I don’t waste my time with that nonsense any more. I’ve learned, you could say. I mustn’t take any credit for that though, as I can’t distinguish between the things I’ve picked up through study, and what life has taught me. Here are a few observations:

  • People are always right, especially when angry or impassioned
  • It doesn’t matter in most cases because in most cases ‘right’ cannot be objectively verified (Have I chosen the right partner in life?; What is the right moment to [fill in this space]); Is blue the right colour for me?…  the right way to bring up the kids, …the right philosophy of life?)
  • There are so many things we could know about, and perhaps we can become experts (and be right) about one or two of them, then again, things are always changing so what was right yesterday may not be right tomorrow.
  • When I feel strongly that I need to be right, there is probably a wrong somewhere else that needs to be righted, that is not being attended to.
  • Certainty is an illusion, or at least ephemeral, but they who govern us, would control us or who get paid a lot to advise us, would prefer that the illusion remains unannounced
  • The same goes for the rest of us, except that mostly we don’t realise that certainty is concept not a reality, so we can overreact when we find out that things aren’t rock solid after all
  • Being right means rigidity, whereas successful systems (in the sense that they can adapt and flourish), are flexible and open to change.

There is more, but this is post, not a thesis, so the right place to end it is here. I think so, anyway, but I can’t be sure.

2 Responses to “The Joy of Not Knowing”

  1. You’re right Barry! 🙂 the problem with believing you are right is that this tends to back you into a corner with no room to manoeuvre when contrary information arrives. Your investment in being right can override the obvious solution of changing your opinion. I think cognitive dissonance theory is insightful on this.

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