It’s Okay To Be Wrong

– The Price of Admission

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It’s okay to be wrong. So why do we fear it so?

Why do we go to such extreme lengths to save face instead of focusing on the potential gains of being wrong? What factors have conspired to make the prospect of being seen to have been wrong – implied by the act of changing one’s mind – a more unsavoury prospect than continued denial of facts for the sake of what essentially boils down to tradition?

To elaborate, by means of a contemporary example, it’s a phenomena which has been commented on in passing with increasing regularity since the election of the 45th President of the United States of America – If so many people who voted for him still support him, given the values he espoused during his campaign, and given his achievements to their detriment, as well as his general behaviour and temperament since his election, what could be done to change their minds?

Well, perhaps the answer is nothing.

We have all had conversations with people who knew their position before they started, and who would go on to scour the terrain of the subject for any support for their ideas, rather than daring to question their own pre-established wisdom. The vast majority of us would admit to recognising this behaviour in ourselves as well, I’m sure.

The turning point is marked by this realisation. It’s one thing to attempt to support your beliefs, but when you come to the realisation that you are doing so in the face of other evidence, for the simple sake of sparing yourself the perceived embarrassment of being wrong, then the time has come for some real personal growth.

It’s okay to be wrong.

More than that, in fact. It’s a prime mover in how we advance as individuals and as a society. Progression comes at the price of change to the established order of things.

When we allow ourselves to buy into the idea that an admission of a lack of perfect knowledge is detrimental, that we must maintain the illusion of appearing right at all costs – even at the cost of ACTUALLY BEING RIGHT! – we perpetuate a world where influences which seek to expand our knowledge are feared, where science is ridiculed and dismissed, where one person’s opinion is as important as any other, regardless of what evidence can be brought to bear on the matter.

We stick to our guns, even when they are pointed back at us.

Who among us would comfortably admit to defending a position they knew to be wrong? Should we not deliberately seek out conflicting opinions to be sure of the validity of our own positions?

It’s fairly intuitive that this problem could be partially averted by the reader paying more close attention to their opinions and motivations, so I won’t go on to lecture.

Instead, there is a simpler solution to implement, the least that can be done to remedy the situation. The next time you witness someone change their mind, or acquiesce in the light of information they didn’t have, or hadn’t seen in a new way before, take the time to appreciate it. To mention it.

Simple.

The only way out of this is together. We all need each other’s help to drag ourselves into the future.

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“Smile”

In a world where being a consumer

Is more important than being a thinker

 

Where a smile sells

And a heart sits on the shelf

 

When appearance is everything

Changing one’s mind becomes an admission of something unsavoury

The shame of having not known everything before

 

One must protect one’s own perfection

One must retain imperfection to hide from it

 

We devolve to prove we are not animals

We sink continents to keep ourselves afloat

 

We elect to stick to our guns

Even when they are pointed back at us

 

Smile

We Look To The Stars

It wasn’t always like this.

There used to be more.

Sometime far from the beginning, creation, seemingly too curious to be satisfied with mere existence, begat self-conception.

The same lifeless stardust, the same burning energy of infinity coalesced into the white-hot presence of life itself. And for a while, everything moved in the wake of our significance.

But, forever true to form, things change.

Whether by decree or by some unconscious turning of the tides of minds, substance seemed to fall from favour. Insatiable hunger became the impetus for instant gratification, to the detriment of all else. A waste of time. A waste of life.

And, as greed and ignorance formed an enviable bond, there was a moment felt around the world. The passing of something.

We shun empathy, unwilling to entertain the concept of equal ground at the expense of the possibility of being the victor. We find it’s hard to listen when we’ve got so much to preach.

After all this time, still we allow ourselves to be overtaken by the mad desire to beat the rest at the human race.

So now, tired of what we’ve made for ourselves here, we turn from introspection to escapism.

Every civilisation in history has turned to the stars in longing.

But whereas we used to look for meaning, now we yearn for release from the prison we built ourselves, trying to make a home.

Still we dream our dreams like boys as we look out to stars on the outer reaches of observable space. Blessed, as we are, with reflections of their past lives. Long gone now, but preserved for us by the lethargy of light within the context of forever.

And as we look upon those stars, we see ourselves. Long since dead by our own hands. Preserved for time being as the amusement of a universe made conscious. An ironic embodiment of self-awareness.

And we still cry at night, instead of making any change at all.